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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement after the Senate approved a bipartisan agreement to avert another government shutdown and strengthen border security:
“Congress’ most fundamental responsibility is to ensure the government is operating, and this bipartisan compromise provides effective resources and tools to secure our Northern and Southern borders and keep the government open. Although imperfect, this agreement will ensure our border security personnel can fight illegal activity and keep international trade flowing safely and smoothly.
“I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Senate and House Appropriations Committee for working with me to ensure this agreement included funding for additional Customs and Border Protection officers at our ports of entry and technology to address unique security needs at the Northern border. Those provisions, along with additional screening technology and infrastructure investments to modernize ports of entry will give border security professionals the tools they need to effectively secure the border and use taxpayer dollars responsibly.
“I’m concerned by reports that the President is still considering executive action, such as an emergency declaration that would divert funding away from other critical programs that are proven to strengthen our security and our economy in order to pay for a wall that will not adequately secure the border.”
Last week, Peters sent a letter to the House and Senate conference committee members pressing for the bill to include investments in personnel, training and technology to secure our borders and support the safe and lawful movement of international commerce.
Highlights from the agreement include:
- Funding for Additional Customs and Border Protection Officers: Peters urged the inclusion of additional officers to strengthen capabilities at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prevent drug trafficking and ensure efficient flow of lawful trade and travel. The bill includes funding to hire 600 new Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs) to staff ports of entry.
- Northern and Southern Border Security Needs Analysis: Peters pressed for an analysis of technology and personnel needs at both the Northern and Southern borders to ensure that Congress and CBP are allocating border security resources effectively. The bill includes a provision requiring CBP to develop a comprehensive assessment of the agency’s capability gaps.
- Additional Training for CBPOs and Border Patrol Agents: Peters requested additional training to ensure CBPOs and Border Patrol Agents in the line of duty can effectively engage with the populations with whom they frequently interact. The bill directs CBP to create a plan for training personnel who interact with migrants in CBP custody.
- Border Patrol Workforce Staffing Model: Peters asked for a Border Patrol staffing model to identify key areas to guide Congress and the Executive branch in making informed and economical future investments in personnel. The bill requires CBP to provide regular updates to Congress on a staffing model until it is finalized.