Tester Works with Border Patrol to Boost Security Along the Hi-Line

Senator: Terrorists and Drug Dealers Go Where They Won’t Get Caught

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester is working with federal law enforcement to defend Montana communities, protect families, and secure the northern border.

Tester questioned senior Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection officials today and underscored the urgent need to increase security at Montana’s ports of entry.

As Ranking Member, Tester is in charge of crafting the Department of Homeland Security’s 2019 budget. He told the law enforcement officials that while the southern border gets more attention, criminals are always looking for ways to enter the country.

“They are going to go to the weakest link in the fence,” Tester said during a Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. “Whether you are a terrorist or trying to smuggle people or drugs, they are going to go where they think they won’t get caught.”

Customs and Border Protection has informed Tester that more than one-third of all heroin seized along the northern border this year has been seized in the Havre Sector.

Tester is pushing to expand utilization of the latest security technology and drug detecting canines at all ports of entry along Montana’s northern border.

“It is our job on the Homeland Security Committee to make sure you have the resources to stop this crap from coming in,” Tester added. “We have got to approach it from every angle.”

Tester secured significant border security investments in the federal budget bill passed in March:

  • $7.6 million to hire 328 new Customs and Border Protection officers at our ports of entry to crack down on illegal drugs, like opioids and meth, that are entering our country.
  • $225 million to install new technologies along the border that will detect drugs at our ports of entry.
  • $85 million for Operation Stonegarden grants that provide grants to local, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to defend the country’s borders, intercept illegal drugs, and combat human trafficking.

Tester is the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the committee that sets funding levels for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other federal law enforcement agencies.