Tester Pushes Biden Administration to Increase Border Enforcement, Address Border Patrol Staffing Shortages After Title 42 Announcement

Senator demands comprehensive plan from Administration in wake of Title 42 decision

As a part of his continued push to secure our border, beef up Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) resources, and institute a bipartisan fix to our broken immigration system, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging him to provide a comprehensive plan outlining how DHS will address the increased strain on America’s immigration system and the increased security needs following the Administration’s decision to let Title 42 expire in May. Tester also pushed the Department to provide information about how it is addressing staffing shortages at CBP and to ensure that officers from northern ports of entry will not be frequently reassigned to the southern border.

“Ending Title 42 is expected to cause a significant increase of migration to the United States and put more pressure on an already broken system. These problems do not only affect the southern border, but put more strain on those working to secure the northern border as well,” wrote Tester. “The Department must provide additional information on how it is working with other federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that additional staffing, processing, humanitarian, and security resources are in place, and how it is prepared to address the increased numbers of encounters and asylum claims that are expected to follow.”

Tester continued: “Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) own staffing models show a current shortage of more than 1,000 officers, and I continue to hear from officers that frequent reassignments to the southern border are negatively impacting security at the northern border, officer morale, and staffing levels. I also urge the Department to provide additional information about how it is working to address this staffing shortage, and improve recruitment and retention of CBP officers. The Department must also ensure that CBP officers from the northern border ports of entry will not be subject to frequent reassignments to the southern border and that the northern border will remain secure.”

Tester sent his letter in response to the Biden Administration announcement that it will end Title 42 on May 23, 2022. Title 42 is a Centers for Disease Control public health policy to stop the spread of diseases in the U.S. that has allowed DHS to expedite removal of most migrants and asylum seekers without immigration proceedings. Title 42 was first enacted by the Trump Administration in March 2020, and has been renewed throughout the Biden administration.

Tester, former Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, has been Montana’s leading champion in ensuring America’s border security at the southern and northern borders. He recently fought to secure $3.85 billion for Land Ports of Entry to modernize and secure the Northern and Southern border in his bipartisan infrastructure legislation. He was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote for the FY22 government funding bill, which provided over $14 billion for CBP, including over $425 million for border security technology. The bill also included over $1 billion for state, local, and Tribal law enforcement to help support border security efforts, combat drug trafficking, and keep communities safe.

Tester is also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act, which would increase resources for three programs – High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Operation Stonegarden – that support law enforcement efforts to combat the drug epidemic and boost border security.

Tester’s letter can be found HERE.