House Passes McSally Bill to Address Staffing Shortages at Border and Ports of Entry
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha McSally’s legislation to address critical staffing shortages along the border today passed the House of Representatives. The bill gives Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the discretionary ability to expedite their hiring process for well-qualified applicants who have already proven themselves trustworthy in the military and in law enforcement.
“All of the technology and infrastructure deployed along the southern border is useless if we don’t have a well-trained agent or officer present to intercept a drug load, screen cargo, or speed legitimate transit through a port of entry. CBP has invested $200 million in port of entry infrastructure in Arizona alone over the last eight years, but there isn’t enough staff to open every available lane,” said Rep. McSally, Chairwoman of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. “By giving CBP the discretionary ability to hire qualified, vetted individuals who already have earned public trust, this bill will increase the security of our nation and facilitate cross-border commerce and tourism –so vital to the Arizona and national economy. I am pleased to see it pass the House.”
“Our national security depends on ensuring there are the right number of well-trained agents and officers on our frontlines. This commonsense, bipartisan solution expedites the hiring process for those who have previously taken an oath and put their lives on the line for our country, allowing CBP to more effectively carry out their mission of safeguarding America's borders and ports of entry,” said Homeland Security Committee Chairman McCaul.
CBP is critically understaffed and well below its congressionally mandated staffing levels by more than 1,000 Officers and 1,800 Border Patrol Agents. The Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017 will allow CBP to alleviate this immediate staffing shortage by quickly, yet judiciously, hiring CBP officers and Border Patrol agents from a trustworthy pool of applicants. It carves out three narrowly tailored exemptions for state and local law enforcement officers who have already passed a polygraph examination, Federal law enforcement officers who have already passed a stringent background investigation, and veterans with at least three consecutive years in the military who have held a clearance and passed a background investigation.
This bill is Rep. McSally’s seventh bill to pass the House so far this Congress. This measure builds on Rep. McSally’s previous work to provide necessary resources to secure the border, including legislation to conduct a full assessment of border threats, and her first bill signed into law, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act, to fill the vacancies at our ports of entry with qualified, trained service members.
Read the full bill text HERE.