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Only 5 Percent Of Border Patrol Agents Are Women And That May Not Change Anytime Soon

A section of secondary fencing, covered with concertina wire at the base and ...

Photo by Brandon Quester/inewsource

Above: A section of secondary fencing, covered with concertina wire at the base and top of the structure, snakes along a winding road near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego on Aug. 16, 2017. Also shown is a line of primary fencing made of corrugated steel, left, a Border Patrol vehicle along a drainage area and a tower with “virtual fencing” technology at the top of the hill.

Only 5 Percent Of Border Patrol Agents Are Women And That May Not Change Anytime Soon

GUEST:

Sasha von Oldershausen, freelance reporter

President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire thousands of new Border Patrol agents, but experience has taught the agency it is not easy to hire good agents.

And it is even harder to recruit women for the job. Women officers make up only five percent of Border Patrol agents, the lowest percentage of any federal law enforcement agency.

Journalist Sasha von Oldershausen writes in the latest issue of Marie Claire about Border Patrol’s struggles to recruit more women. There was a concerted effort in 2014 to attract more women but it did not lead to many new hires. And there are no current programs like that in place for this latest hiring surge.

“There’s no escaping the fact that these women work in a male-dominated field,” von Oldershausen wrote. “Several I spoke to describe pressures to ‘prove themselves,’ making them more inclined to look at other women in the field as competition instead of comrades.”

Acting Border Patrol chief Carla Provost recently told POLITICO that she doesn’t ever expect the proportion of women at the agency to be large.

“You’re asking people to pick up and move to a little border town that maybe doesn’t have good school systems,” Provost said. “I don’t ever see our numbers being huge.”

She said she would like to reach a point where 10 percent of agents are women, but doesn’t have a timeline.

von Oldershausen joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on what she learned while she was embedded with Border Patrol agents working on the Texas-Mexico border.

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