Tester Again Votes to Secure the Southern Border

Bipartisan bill would provide funding, legal changes backed by law enforcement;

Border Patrol Union: “The Border Act of 2024 will codify into law authorities that U.S. Border Patrol agents never had in the past”;

CBP Chief: “would provide the strongest set of tools we have had in decades”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today again voted for bipartisan legislation to secure the southern border. The bipartisan border security bill received the endorsement of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and the Director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who have said that the bill “would provide the strongest set of tools we have had in decades” and “codify into law authorities that U.S. Border Patrol agents never had in the past.” 

“Montanans want a secure border and law enforcement have told me they need new laws and more resources to get the job done, which is why I voted again to support the strongest bipartisan border security bill in decades,” said Tester. “This commonsense bill would push back on the Biden Administration’s failed border policies by forcing the President to shut down the border, strengthen our asylum laws, and end catch and release. It is shameful that Mitch McConnell and D.C. politicians would rather keep the border as a political talking point than actually fix the problem, but that does not let President Biden off the hook – he must use every remaining tool at his disposal to secure our southern border and keep Montana safe.”

Here’s what law enforcement have said about the bill:

  • The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), which represents approximately 18,000 Border Patrol agents and personnel charged with enforcing our country’s border security policies, stated in part“The Border Act of 2024 will codify into law authorities that U.S. Border Patrol agents never had in the past. This will allow us to remove single adults expeditiously and without a lengthy judicial review, which historically has required the release of these individuals into the interior of the U.S. This alone will drop illegal border crossings nationwide and will allow a great many of our agents to get back to detecting and apprehending those who want to cross our borders illegally and evade apprehension. While not perfect, the Border Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction and is far better than the status quo, which is why the National Border Patrol Council endorses the bill and hopes for a quick passage.”
  • The Director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stated in part“This proposed legislation would provide the strongest set of tools we have had in decades to effectively manage migration and enhance our nation’s border security.”

Border Patrol and law enforcement have endorsed the bipartisan border bill because it would:

  • Provide more than $20 billion for manpower, technology, and operational needs to secure the southern border – resources law enforcement have said they need to get the job done;
  • Empower and require the President to close the border when the system becomes overwhelmed – a power the executive currently does not have;
  • Make the most significant legal changes in decades – including ending “catch and release” and raising the asylum standards.
  • A full memo outlining the facts about the bipartisan border security proposal can be read HERE.

Tester has led the charge to secure the southern border and stop the deadly flow of fentanyl that is wreaking havoc on Montana. He has repeatedly expressed to Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden that the Administration must do more and “use all of the remaining tools at your disposal” to secure our borders and to take action immediately to address the ongoing issues we have at the southern border.  

In April, Tester’s FEND Off Fentanyl Act was signed into law. This bipartisan law imposes economic sanctions on those engaged in the international trafficking of illicit fentanyl, precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl, or other related opioids, gives law enforcement more resources to combat fentanyl trafficking, and declares international trafficking of fentanyl as a national emergency.

Earlier this month, Tester also broke with his party and cosponsored the Laken Riley Act after hearing from Montana law enforcement. This legislation would require ICE to apprehend and detain illegal immigrants who commit certain crimes, including theft, burglary, larceny, or shoplifting offenses.

Through his role as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured significant wins for border security and law enforcement in the FY2024 government funding appropriations package. Border security wins backed by Tester in the package include:

  • Funding for up to 22,000 U.S. Border Patrol Agents to secure areas between ports of entry;
  • 150 new Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to help secure our southern border;
  • 41,500 new detention beds for an increase of 7,500 or 24% over FY23, following Tester’s efforts to prevent mass releases due to the failure of the bipartisan border security bill;
  • Increased funding for border technology, including funding to purchase new NII border scanners and install existing technology, following Tester’s efforts to ensure Congress fully funded fentanyl scanning technology at our borders.