Customs and Border Protection’s recruitment effort to bring more female Border Patrol agents into its ranks have yielded over 5,500 applications from women, according CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.
In an interview with Federal Drive’s Tom Temin, Kerlikowske offered more details about the recruitment effort, saying that part of the pitch to push for more women was the fact that there are more females attempting to illegally enter the United States through the southern border.
“When we made the case to the Office of Personnel Management we certainly needed to emphasize that we’ve had a significant increase in women and particularly as many people know, this last summer, family units with children,” Kerlikowske explained. Only five percent of Border Patrol agents are female.
He said a big goal of the effort was to also increase the overall number of women in all areas and ranks of the Border Patrol.
“They do exactly the same jobs as the male border patrol agents, so the hiring process, the screening, the selection, the training is all very much the same,” he said. “But women bring a perspective and negotiating skill to law enforcement and to the Border Patrol that we very much need.”
Kerlikowske added that part of the benefit of having women in the border patrol role is their ability to help establish trust, especially among those who many have experienced trauma like sexual assault.
“They come often times from a country where law enforcement often is not seen as a trusted partner and a friend and an organization that can help them,” he said. “And so, when they see the agents in uniform, we need to establish a level of trust and a level of confidence to these people that have gone through really a horrendous journey to make it into the United States, and we need to make them feel safe. Women do a great job at that.”