The NBPC recently filed a grievance with the agency over its failure to properly train the workforce regarding the new pursuit policy. The union has many opinions about the new policy, but even if we agreed with every piece of it, the agency simply did not provide any semblance of training to ensure that agents know how to stay within policy.
CBP set a hard date of May 1, 2023, to implement the policy and decided to use Microsoft Teams to hold training sessions for the workforce, scheduled across 528 sessions held nine times a day across all three shifts. However, when the union flagged problems with the policy in January 2023, the agency delayed the training by five weeks and reduced the total number of training sessions to 222.
And then, just a day before the policy was supposed to go into effect, the agency postponed the implementation date until June 1, 2023, and added 40 more training sessions. However, by May 15, 2023, over 500 Border Patrol agents, including over 100 senior-level managers and supervisors assigned to U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters, had not yet attended the training.
The Teams sessions included little more than an instructor pressing play on a pre-recorded video of someone reading PowerPoint slides to the students, followed by Q&A sessions that created more Qs than answer As.
Unfortunately, students either had language from the policy read to them verbatim instead of being provided with examples and context, or they were told to contact their local Office of Chief Counsel for guidance. However, perhaps even more reckless was the agency’s failure to ensure that sectors had informed agents of the restricted areas in their areas of responsibility (AOR).
The policy requires sectors to determine and publish to the workforce a list of all restricted areas in their AOR, including maps, so they know which areas the agency has determined are too unsafe for a pursuit to take place. However, we know of only two sectors that have done this so far: El Paso and Tucson. The rest of the sectors became out of compliance on July 1, 2023.
There is still plenty of work to do with this new policy, so we will post updates as they become available.