It’s almost as if the Democrats have finally noticed the Biden border crisis and realized that people are upset about it. First, we saw freshman Congresswoman Mayra Flores work across the aisle to introduce the Advanced Border Coordination Act. Now, a bipartisan group of Senators has submitted the Border Patrol Enhancement Act. This impressive bill would raise the pay of Border Patrol agents to be more competitive in the hiring process and create a Border Patrol reserve force of 2,500 agents who can be deployed as needed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants coming across the southern border. The bill is expected to draw broad support and pass the upper chamber easily. (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs)
Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), James Lankford (R-OK), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the bipartisan Border Patrol Enhancement Act to establish the Border Patrol Reserve and provide a much-needed pay raise to our Border Patrol agents during this current border crisis. This bill would create a 2,500 agent reserve force, increase the number of total Border Patrol agents to 20,500, and raise Border Patrol pay by 14 percent to be more competitive with other federal law enforcement agents, including other agents under the Department of Homeland Security. The legislation also standardizes professional development and training requirements for all Border Patrol agents.
“Every time I’ve visited with Border Patrol, they have made it clear that they need increased funding to recruit and retain agents. At a time when our southern border crisis is heading towards a catastrophe, we must provide Border Patrol with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs. That’s why I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to address recruitment and retention challenges by authorizing a raise for agents, and create a Border Patrol Reserve to provide the support our Border Patrol agents need as the influx of unlawful migrants and illicit narcotics continues to worsen,” said Portman.
It’s almost certainly not a coincidence that three of the four primary sponsors are from Arizona and Oklahoma. Residents of the states closest to the border bear a disproportionate share of the impact of illegal immigration. Having Republican Rob Portman on the list as the Ranking Member of the committee offers cover to the rest of the Republicans to go along with it, even if Sinema and Kelly have their names on it as well.
Recruiting new agents for Customs and Border Protection has been a challenge for some time now, increasingly so since Joe Biden took office. Anyone with the law enforcement background needed to assume these roles can land better pay in other government agencies. And the work they would be doing in most other agencies is less grueling and more rewarding than the non-stop circus of catch and release going on at the border. Also, the current administration’s open borders policies have made the job nearly impossible, though there are signs that this situation may be slowly changing.
Americans still aren’t as worried about illegal immigration as inflation, skyrocketing prices, and urban crime rates, but immigration issues still do make the list of concerns. There’s an election coming up and the members of the House and Senate may finally be getting a clue about the unrest being seen among voters. Instead of focusing on Biden’s Build Back Broke agenda, perhaps Congress can occupy its time with issues that people actually care about. Straightening out the border situation would be a good start.
Now we just need a national “refund the police” bill to help cities and states rebuild their police forces. There’s already one bill that touches on this issue in the works, but if they really want to impress the voters they should strengthen it considerably. Perhaps the funding going to the states and cities could be made contingent on strong bail laws being put in place and/or the repeal of so-called “bail reform” laws that continually put criminals back out on the streets. Anyone who drafts that bill and gets it signed into law would probably do quite well in their next election.