Tester Sponsors Bill to Strengthen Border Security, Fix Law Enforcement Shortage

Senator’s Legislation will Hire More Customs and Border Protection Officers Along Northern Ports of Entry

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing legislation to strengthen border security and address the law enforcement staffing shortage across the northern border.

Tester’s bill, the Border and Port Security Act, will require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire additional officers at ports of entry along the northern and southern borders address a staffing shortage of nearly 3,600 officers.

“We need a comprehensive strategy to secure our borders and one of our biggest needs is good old-fashioned man power,” Tester said. “But our shorthanded ports are leaving our borders at risk. By hiring more border officers we can strengthen border security and create new jobs in communities across the Hi-Line.”

Tester’s bill requires CBP to hire at least 500 additional port officers per year until the staffing shortage is eliminated. After analyzing traffic flows, threat assessments, and other data, CBP determined the need for 3,600 additional officers to secure ports of entry along the borders.

“Sen. Tester has a deep understanding of the security and economic ramifications of Customs and Border Protection staffing needs at the ports of entry,” said National President of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents many Border Patrol officers. “His support of this bill is a clear indication of that and I thank him for once again standing up for CBP employees at the northern border and across the country.”

“We feel the proposed legislation will keep both the citizens of this country and our law enforcement officers safer,” said Vice President for Legislative Affairs of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Dominick L. Stokes. “This bill will help ensure law enforcement has the necessary resources and manpower needed to complete our wide range of tasks and deter criminal activities at our ports of entry.”

Tester last week met face-to-face with President Trump to raise concerns over the law enforcement staffing shortage along the borders.

Tester is the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets funding levels for security and law enforcement along the northern and southern borders.

In addition to hiring more CBP officers, Tester is pushing for a bipartisan border security package that:
  • Invests in new technologies, vehicles, roads, and facilities to better secure the borders.
  • Requires Border Patrol Agents to use fiber optic detection technology to better detect border crossings.
  • Provides Operation Stonegarden grants to support local law enforcement in their efforts to secure our borders.
  • Requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to report the use of devices that monitor cell phone conversations along the border.
  • Encourages the Department of Homeland Security to purchase protective gear and uniforms that are made in the U.S.

There are 14 ports of entry along Montana’s 540-mile border with Canada.

Tester’s Border and Port Security Act is available HERE.