On the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight,” Emmy award winning host John Oliver gave viewers an in depth look into the border patrol. The segment focused on the agents who guard our southern borders and revealed a number of issues including the hiring process. The story aired after news on President Trump signing an executive order to hire 5,000 more agents to assist the 20,000 who already are on our borders.
Oliver explained that border patrol agents have a tough job. They have to be a humanitarian in some occasions and law enforcer in others. It’s a unique task that not everyone can pull off, and for many in the government, that’s obvious, because the last hiring surge for border agents led to some horrible hires. In a post-9/11 move, President George W. Bush beefed up the border patrol from 10,000 agents to 20,000. And recruitment was very aggressive.
The segment also revealed that often a border patrol agent is working alone surveying miles and miles of terrain. They sometimes don’t see a single person for days.
“Boredom is a significant part of life as a border patrol agent and they should probably train for it,” Oliver said. “For every hour they spend in target practice they should probably spend ten hours watching ‘Mozart in the Jungle.'”
That kind of job, combined with the fact that many who were hired during the surge were not fit for the job, led to some damaging repercussions.
The irony of all this is that there may not be a need for more border patrol agents. In a report in July, the Inspector General of Homeland Security questioned if 5,000 more agents were required. And Oliver showed that the apprehensions of undocumented Mexican immigrants has dropped from 404,365 in 2010 to 192,969 in 2016.
“This is a story about the danger of not learning from your mistakes and for the sake of absolutely everybody — people on both sides of the border, and the good border patrol agents just trying to do a difficult job well — if we are going to hire all these new people, the very least we can do is be more careful this time around,” Oliver said.
Watch John Oliver’s entire segment on the Border Patrol below: