Tester Doubles Down on $110 Million Effort to Secure Northern Border

Senator pushes bill to reauthorize critical Operation Stonegarden program

As part of his continuing fight to secure Montana’s northern border, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is cosponsoring a bill to reauthorize and increase funding for the critical Operation Stonegarden program.

Operation Stonegarden provides annual grants to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies to increase preparedness, coordination, and effectiveness along the state’s 545-mile northern border. Tester’s bill would reauthorize the program for five years and provide $110 million for border security operations.

“Montana’s law enforcement officers work day and night to keep our northern border secure,” Tester said. “Operation Stonegarden strengthens local law enforcement and gives them the tools they need to better crack down on drug smuggling, combat human trafficking, and keep our families and communities safe.”

Tester introduced this legislation as part of his Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act last year. Yesterday, the bill reauthorizing Operation Stonegarden advanced out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee with bipartisan support.

Securing the northern border is one of Tester’s top priorities in Congress. Montana counties have received more than $15 million from Operation Stonegarden, including $1.8 million for 14 counties in FY 2019. As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester increased FEMA’s Operation Stonegarden funding nationally by $30 million in FY18, and then by another $5 million in FY19.

Year-by-year Operation Stonegarden funding totals for Montana counties are as follows:

  • FY 2008 – $2,030,000
  • FY 2009 – $1,813,102
  • FY 2010 – $1,455,356
  • FY 2011 – $1,211,112
  • FY 2012 – $794,432
  • FY 2013 – $960,059
  • FY 2014 – $617,420
  • FY 2015 – $935,028
  • FY 2016 – $877,630
  • FY 2017 – $1,058,250
  • FY 2018 – $1,655,251
  • FY 2019 – $1,878,212

Total obligated amount – $15,285,852