U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday that it is offering a 5 percent pay bump to agents willing to stay on the job another year as the agency grapples with a surge in families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Investing in the men and women of the United States Border Patrol continues to be my top priority,” Carla Provost, U.S. Border Patrol Chief, said in a statement. “Their experience and expertise is critical to successfully accomplishing the border security mission.”
GS-12 and GS-13 agents who agree to remain with CBP for 12 months will receive a quarterly bonus that will ultimately amount to 5 percent of their base salaries. According to the agency, the service agreements will start in May, incentives will begin to accumulate in June and incentive payments may be doled out as soon as September.
The program follows months of collaboration between CBP and the National Border Patrol Council, Provost said in her statement.
The bonuses will cost the agency about $84 million, according to Fox News. Funds will reportedly come out of the existing CBP budget.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on CBP released earlier this year found that the agency’s attrition rate outpaced its hiring rate. CBP, at the time, was reportedly mulling giving agents a 10 percent raise, the government watchdog wrote.
“According to Border Patrol documentation, these incentives, if implemented, could help reduce Border Patrol’s attrition rate—which has consistently outpaced its hiring rate—by helping retain agents who may have otherwise left Border Patrol for similar positions in OFO, ICE, or other law enforcement agencies,” the GAO wrote.
The agency is seeking to fortify its staff as the White House focuses on curtailing the surge in illegal border crossings.