Pfluger, Golden Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Hire and Retain More Rural Border Security Personnel
Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and I introduced the DHS Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act of 2022. The bipartisan bill would help address Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel shortages in rural areas. Absent a meaningful strategy and progress by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to hire and retain more border patrol agents, immigrations and customs enforcement officials, and other border security officers, DHS will likely need to reallocate personnel from other areas in order to address potential migration surges on the Southern Border in the coming months.
Our bill would mandate CBP identify and begin to implement changes to increase hiring and improve retention for CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents specifically in rural or remote areas.
I am proud to partner in introducing this legislation that will support our U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies in rural Texas and all across America. Currently, our nation is facing a crisis as deadly drugs like fentanyl pour across the border and devastate our communities. We must ensure our border patrol has the resources they need to successfully combat this crisis. This bill is just one more step in the ongoing fight to protect our homeland.
“In northern Maine and rural areas across the country, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel are too often shorthanded, which affects their ability to protect our borders and communities,” said Golden. “Whether in New Mexico or Maine, the federal government needs a strategy to recruit and retain rural border patrol agents, CBP officers, and ICE agents so that we have the personnel needed to fight illicit drug trafficking, enforce immigration laws, and patrol thousands of miles of border. I look forward to working with Rep. Pfluger and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bill passed.”
The bill outlines initiatives that could be included in the plan, including changes to financial incentives and compensation for agents, officers, and their families, enhanced recruitment outreach to higher education institutions, veterans organizations, and job placement programs, and the creation of pilot programs to address hiring and recruitment challenges.
“I want to thank Congressmen Golden and Pfluger for introducing this important piece of legislation to require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a strategy for hiring more Border Patrol Agents. There is a crisis now at the border and last month we apprehended 200,000 illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. Against this backdrop, Border Patrol for the first time in 5 years will not meet its hiring targets. The result is that we do not have enough manpower to handle the crisis and are robbing Peter to pay Paul but redeploying agents from other sectors to fill the gaps. This includes Northern Border Agents in Maine where we are already thinly staffed and in Texas. Border Patrol needs a plan and they need it now,” - Brandon Judd, National President, National Border Patrol Council and former Maine Border Patrol Agent stationed in Maine
The full bill text can be found here.