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Study: Increased border security puts agents at risk for corruption

Posted at 4:14 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 20:42:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - When President Trump visited San Diego in September, he made a special trip down to the border to tout the wall and its technological advances.

The president has made border security a major part of his term, even calling for the addition of 5,000 border patrol agents.

A new study from San Diego State University says the increased emphasis on stopping illegal crossings and drug smuggling could make those very agents the targets of corruption and bribe offers.

"When one door is closed, they try to find another one which is open," said David Janscisc, the public affairs professor at SDSU who authored the study.

Janscisc says the harder it gets for smugglers to get people or drugs into the U.S., the more likely they are to seek help from agents at ports of entry.

"You can clear a car full of drugs just by not inspecting it," he said.

Janscisc isn't saying Customs and Border Protection is corrupt, but wanted to study how corruption occurs. He based his study off of 160 cases of CBP corruption over 10 years, noting the agency has 60,000 employees.

Janscisc found the employees with less than five years of experience were more likely to be involved in drug-related corruption.

However, those who were there longer were more likely to commit immigration-related offenses, such as falsifying paperwork to help get someone into the country.

In a statement, Customs and Border Protection said applicants go through a strict hiring process that could include polygraph tests.

"After the hiring process, CBP applies proactive measures in the form of training, rules geared to ensure workplace integrity and oversight and management of frontline officers and agents by CBP leadership at every level," the statement said.

Janscisc said it took two years to complete his study, relying largely on court documents and investigative news reports.