Democrats launch bill to help border patrols: Arizona senators Sinema and Kelly seek to give 2,500 officers a 14% pay raise with morale in the gutter as border crossings increase
- Kelly and Sinema joined GOP Sens. James Lankford and Rob Portman on bill
- It would set up a reserve border patrol
- Would also increase border agents’ pay to take it to other DHS agencies
The Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly have joined a bipartisan legislative effort that would set up a reserve Border Patrol and give officers a 14 percent pay increase.
Lawmakers are pushing the effort along with Republican Sens. Rob Portman and James Lankford to boost the agency, which has come under pressure from the proliferation of border crossings.
Border Patrol must maintain a strong workforce to secure the border, protect our communities and ensure the fair and humane treatment of migrants. Border Patrol doesn’t have the staff or resources to accomplish that goal – our bipartisan legislation addresses these issues to adequately support Border Patrol in protecting Arizona’s communities,” Sinema said in a statement Thursday.
According to sponsors, the legislation would increase the total number of US Border Patrol agents to 20,500, with a newly created 2,500 reserve force.
Democratic Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona joined a two-pronged effort to increase pay for U.S. Border Patrol agents
The pay rise, well above inflation, would make salaries “competitive” with other Department of Homeland Security agencies while standardizing training.
The agency has come under fire at times amid fierce partisan battles over immigration.
Last month, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the findings of the professional responsibility investigation following the alleged “horse whips” incident in Del Rio, Texas, which caused a national outcry.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema also volunteered, saying she would ‘move forward’ with the Democratic Inflation Reduction Act
The effort is co-sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R Ohio)
The measure establishes a reserve border patrol and raises wages for officers
Last month, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the findings of the professional responsibility investigation following the alleged “horse whips” incident in Del Rio, Texas, which caused a national outcry. It found ‘no evidence that officers beat anyone with horse reins’
It found “failures at multiple levels of the agency, a lack of appropriate policies and training, and unprofessional and dangerous behavior by several individual officers” but found “no evidence that officers beat anyone with horse reins.”
The bipartisan announcement came on a day when Sinema announced that she would move “forward” with her party on reconciliation legislation, where Democrats need the support of all 50 of their members.
It also comes as Kelly, who is up for re-election, announced he was pressuring DHS to complete part of the border wall in the Yuma sector, the Washington Examiner reported.
He said he was happy that DHS is going to “close these gaps.”
Lankford tore President Biden in his quote in the joint bipartisan statement, accusing him of encouraging illegal crossings.
“Biden continues to encourage illegal border crossings to enter the US, and our border patrol is between US citizens and people from 150 countries entering our country, possibly affiliated with the Mexican cartels or terrorist organizations around the world,” he said. “I’ve heard directly from Border Patrol that morale is low because their hands are tied in enforcing the law, which makes it difficult to recruit and retain the best and brightest. We need to make sure the Border Patrol has the people and tools they need to do their job and the incentives to bring in the best people. Our national security depends on it,” he said.