Faced with tens of thousands of parents and their children crossing the Southwest border last year, the U.S. Border Patrol pledged to hire up to 1,600 women.
The motivation was simple: Female migrants, many of whom are sexually assaulted on their journey, often prefer to be searched by women and would be more likely to share information about smugglers with an agent of their own sex.
The Border Patrol, whose ranks have long been dominated by men, embarked on its first-ever female recruitment spree, getting rare dispensation from the government to target only women.
The deadline for the effort was the end of the fiscal year last week. It netted just 50 women.
We are really looking to ramp up,” Stacy King, Supervisory Human Resources Specialist for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, told the Washington Post, “but recruitment, hiring and retention of female law enforcement officers continues to be a challenge for us.”