Tester to Obama Administration: Don’t forget about the northern border

Senator fights President’s plan to cut Border Patrol Agents, holds Homeland Security Secretary accountable to Hi-Line communities

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester has a clear message for the Obama Administration, do not forget about securing the northern border.

During a Senate Homeland Security hearing today, Tester slammed the Administration’s proposal to cut 300 Border Patrol Agents and promised to continue to hold the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accountable to communities across the Hi-Line.

“When we are talking about drugs coming across the border, they don’t all come across the southern border,” Tester told DHS Secretary Johnson. “Don’t forget about the northern border-it’s damn important. I live 70 miles from the border and if we take our eye off of that, they will go where the weakest link is.”

President Obama’s 2017 proposed budget includes reduction of 300 Border Patrol Agents overall in exchange for additional equipment.

Tester said the reduction in Border Patrol Agents would weaken our national security and make America vulnerable to increased drug trafficking and crime.

Last year, Tester met with northern Border Patrol Agents and publically called on the Obama Administration to strengthen northern border security measures.

In August, Tester brought DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Havre to hear directly from local law enforcement officers about the challenges Hi-Line communities are experiencing with northern border security.

During today’s hearing, Tester also pushed Secretary Johnson to keep the Port of Raymond in northeast Montana open 24/7. Tester reinforced how important the 24-hour Port is for the state’s agriculture and energy industries.