August 14, 2017 / Modified aug 14, 2017 8:36 a.m.

CBP Spends $5M on Polygraphs for Applicants Who Admitted to Crimes

A report says 2,300 applicants were given the test despite being disqualified based on their admissions.

Polygraph machine setup spotlight David Fruchtman sets up wiring for his polygraph machine. (PHOTO: Michel Marizco, Fronteras Desk)

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The country’s largest immigration agency spent millions of taxpayer dollars administering lie-detector tests to applicants who had already admitted to committing crimes and did not qualify to become law enforcement officers.

The agency is now rushing to hire 5,000 new officers.

Customs and Border Protection spent more than $5 million on the polygraph examinations for the applicants, who were already disqualified before they were even connected to a lie detector.

The Office of Inspector General released its findings Thursday. Its report says that over a four-year period between 2013 and 2016, about 2,300 applicants admitted during the application process to committing crimes such as illegal drug use, human trafficking and narcotics smuggling.

Then they were connected to polygraph exams, at a cost of $2,200 per exam. CBP pledged to stop exams as soon as someone admits to a crime.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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