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Trump Administration Paid Firm Nearly $14 Million To Recruit Just 2 Border Agents

HuffPost logo HuffPost 12/11/2018 Mary Papenfuss

File photo of a US Border Patrol agent standing near a crossing to Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry along the US-Mexico border near San Diego. © Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images File photo of a US Border Patrol agent standing near a crossing to Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry along the US-Mexico border near San Diego. The Trump administration paid an astonishing $13.6 million to a private company this year to increase border protection staffing by just two agents, according to a scathing report by a federal watchdog that called for “immediate” action to rectify “serious performance issues.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection granted Accenture Federal Services — a subsidiary of the global Accenture consulting company headquartered in the tax haven of Dublin — a $297 million contract last year to boost staffing by thousands in the wake of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on the border and immigration. 

The company is “nowhere near satisfying its 7,500-person hiring goal over the next 5 years,” declared the report released last week by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. “Further, CBP has used significant staffing and resources to help Accenture do the job for which it was contracted. As such, we are concerned that CBP may have paid Accenture for services and tools not provided.”

CBP “risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations,” the report concluded.

The firm has already been paid $13.6 million. But when the inspector general audited the company’s actions, it discovered that as of Oct. 1 — more than 10 months into the contract — Accenture had successfully processed only two accepted job offers. In addition, it did so largely using CPB resources instead of its own, the report said.

CBP officials argued with the inspector general’s conclusion, insisting that not only did Accenture recruit two agents, but it set up a hiring process and helped move “thousands” of applicants into the pipeline for consideration. The Office of the Inspector General responded that no records tracking these applicants exist, and therefore “we question the veracity” of CBP’s argument.

The OIG noted that it requested evidence during its review of CBP oversight of Accenture. But CBP “did not provide any supporting documentation of its oversight and indicated it was still developing performance metrics.”

Despite arguing over the report, CBP agreed to all four recommendations from the inspector general to address the situation. One of the recommendations involves determining if Accenture should reimburse the Department of Homeland Security for services not delivered.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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