The Trump administration paid an astonishing $13.6 million to an outside contractor this year to increase border protection staffing, but that effort has resulted in only two new job offers, according to a scathing report by a federal watchdog that called for “immediate” action to rectify “serious performance issues.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection granted Accenture Federal Services — a subsidiary of the global Accenture consulting company headquartered in the tax haven of Dublin — a $297 million contract last year to boost staffing by thousands in the wake of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on the border and immigration.
The company is “nowhere near satisfying its 7,500-person hiring goal over the next 5 years,” declared the report, which was released last week by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. “Further, CBP has used significant staffing and resources to help Accenture do the job for which it was contracted. As such, we are concerned that CBP may have paid Accenture for services and tools not provided.”
CBP “risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations,” the report concluded.
The firm has already been paid $13.6 million. But when the inspector general audited the company’s actions, it discovered that as of Oct. 1 — more than 10 months into the contract — Accenture had successfully processed only two accepted job offers. In addition, it did so largely using CBP resources instead of its own, the report said.
CBP officials argued with the inspector general’s conclusion, insisting that not only did Accenture recruit two staffers, but has set up a hiring process and helped move “thousands” of applicants into the pipeline for consideration. The Office of the Inspector General responded that no records tracking these applicants exist, and therefore “we question the veracity” of CBP’s argument.
The OIG noted that it requested evidence during its review of CBP oversight of Accenture. But CBP “did not provide any supporting documentation of its oversight and indicated it was still developing performance metrics.”
Despite disputing the report’s particulars, CBP agreed to all four recommendations from the inspector general to address the situation. One of the recommendations involves determining whether Accenture should reimburse the Department of Homeland Security for services not delivered.
CORRECTION: This article previously referred to Accenture inaccurately as a “private company”; it is publicly traded. Language has also been amended to reflect that the report does not specify whether the two accepted job offers were for the role of border agent.