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senate Bill S. 595

Should Certain Cops and Military Personnel Not Need to Pass a Polygraph to Work for Customs and Border Protection?

Argument in favor

The law enforcement officers and members of the military who this bill waives CBP’s polygraph requirement for applicants who’ve already taken one or been thoroughly vetted in their current jobs through a background check, so an additional polygraph test is unnecessary.

Anthony's Opinion
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08/29/2017
Use of the polygraph should be entirely discountinued. It has no basis in any sort of scientific reality and is a pointless waste of time for everyone involved. This is a good first step towards getting rid of an absurd, entirky unscientific, waste of resources.
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Carl's Opinion
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08/29/2017
All of them should be exempt. Polygraphs aren't effective.
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Sean's Opinion
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08/29/2017
Polygraph tests are unreliable. The guy who invented it even says they can't read a person in many cases.
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Argument opposed

Customs and Border Protection has a polygraph requirement in place for a reason — to ensure that only qualified people are hired. There shouldn’t be an option to waive that requirement for law enforcement or military personnel with qualifying experience.

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08/29/2017
Supporters of the bill argue it’s a matter of common sense: Why put people through a polygraph test if they were already approved for another law enforcement agency or the military? But CBP has struggled for years with corruption, abuse and misconduct in its ranks, including by Veterans and former Police Officers. While it may sound reasonable to say you could waive requirements from former military personnel because they have passed a polygraph, Border Patrol agents work in a different environment that is not as controlled as the military.
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Patty's Opinion
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08/29/2017
A polygraph, fingerprints and background check should be done. Things change, a "bad apple" shouldn't be able to just switch jobs. I work with kids and get re-fingerprinted and rechecked regularly.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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08/29/2017
No. Everyone takes it. Everyone passes. No exceptions.
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What is Senate Bill S. 595?

This bill would allow the polygraph (aka lie detector) test requirement to be waived for applicants to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) jobs who have qualifying experience in law enforcement or the military. In effect, this would allow CBP to speed up its hiring process for such applicants who have already gone through a polygraph test or similar background check in their current jobs.

An applicant would need to meet the following specific criteria, in addition to not engaging in or being under investigation for criminal activity or misconduct:

  • State and local law enforcement officers would have to have served for at least three continuous years, have the ability to arrest or apprehend someone, and have completed a successful polygraph in their current job.

  • Federal law enforcement officers would have to have served for at least three continuous years; have the ability to arrest or apprehend someone, use a weapon, or serve a warrant; and hold a current/in-scope Tier 4 background investigation or Tier 5 single-scope background check in their current job.

  • Transitioning members of the Armed Forces would need to have served at least four years, held a security clearance in the last five years, have undergone a current/in-scope Tier 4 background investigation or Tier 5 single-scope background check in the last five years, and have received or be eligible for an honorable discharge.

Impact

Law enforcement and military personnel looking to work for CBP; and CBP.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 595

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced this bill to help Customs and Border Protection (CBP) fix a slow hiring process that’s left nearly 3,000 jobs unfilled by letting polygraph requirements be waived for qualified law enforcement or military personnel:

“At a time when Arizonans are rightfully demanding a secure border, it’s unjustifiable to be turning away qualified applicants with distinguished military and law enforcement service because of a potentially flawed polygraph. By waiving CBP’s polygraph requirement for these well-vetted and qualified applicants, this commonsense bill will ensure that bureaucratic hiring obstacles don’t hinder CBP’s critical border security and trade facilitation missions.”

This bill passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on a voice vote, and has the support of three cosponsors — including two Republicans and one Democrat.

  

Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: CBP Photos via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection with additional flexibility to expedite the hiring process for applicants for law enforcement positions, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 9th, 2017
    Use of the polygraph should be entirely discountinued. It has no basis in any sort of scientific reality and is a pointless waste of time for everyone involved. This is a good first step towards getting rid of an absurd, entirky unscientific, waste of resources.
    Like (101)
    Follow
    Share
    Supporters of the bill argue it’s a matter of common sense: Why put people through a polygraph test if they were already approved for another law enforcement agency or the military? But CBP has struggled for years with corruption, abuse and misconduct in its ranks, including by Veterans and former Police Officers. While it may sound reasonable to say you could waive requirements from former military personnel because they have passed a polygraph, Border Patrol agents work in a different environment that is not as controlled as the military.
    Like (132)
    Follow
    Share
    A polygraph, fingerprints and background check should be done. Things change, a "bad apple" shouldn't be able to just switch jobs. I work with kids and get re-fingerprinted and rechecked regularly.
    Like (105)
    Follow
    Share
    No. Everyone takes it. Everyone passes. No exceptions.
    Like (81)
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    There are certain jobs that require the utmost screening. Armed law enforcement personnel fall into that category.
    Like (43)
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    All of them should be exempt. Polygraphs aren't effective.
    Like (38)
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    Polygraph tests are unreliable. The guy who invented it even says they can't read a person in many cases.
    Like (33)
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    CBP has struggled for years with corruption, abuse and misconduct in its ranks, including by Veterans and former Police Officers. We need to keep this check in place to ensure the CBP maintains strong standards.
    Like (29)
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    Excessive much?!?! There's 800,000+ children who need the Dream Act or DACA defended why don't you talk about important things
    Like (22)
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    Everyone needs a Polygraph. We have enough problems with crooked border patrol officers not taking their oath seriously. And this polygraph should be administered annually. Mexican drug cartel have mucho dinero to entice unethical officers looking to pad their income.
    Like (21)
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    These tests are fairly useless.
    Like (18)
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    No special treatment should be given. People change for better and for worse.
    Like (18)
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    What kind of flakey nonsense is this?! Oops should have realized the sponsor is RINO Flake anti-American anti-Trump. This nut has no clue about what our police forces or military is about!
    Like (14)
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    Polygraphs aren't a reliable way to tell if someone is telling the truth. I think we need to update the way we see if someone is telling the truth or not anyways
    Like (12)
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    As we learned with Flynn Evevts may occur subsequent to the last polygraph I.e. Cops may been in a drug deal after they pass a hiring pplygray
    Like (10)
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    Everyone needs to be vetted, no exceptions.
    Like (10)
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    This is a position that requires good character and integrity. A lie detector should be mandatoryx
    Like (9)
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    Polygraphs are unreliable and cannot be used as evidence in court any longer for that very reason. They should certainly not be used in any process of selecting security staff! Security checks and properly conducted interviews should form this basis for hiring, along with a 6-month probation period during which a security employee can be terminated if they are not performing to standards.
    Like (8)
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    We need more accountability in law enforcement, not less.
    Like (7)
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    Everyone should be required to pass the same hurdle as anyone else. The assumption that some are safe and others may not be is exactly that, an assumption. Experience should be enough to prove that maximum. Even with the screening that we have not there will be gaps. Let's not knowingly add more.
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