Senator Jon Tester is introducing a bill to strengthen America's borders by making sure the nation's top border security agency has the manpower it needs to keep Americans safe.
Tester's measure makes the U.S. Border Patrol's pay system more predictable and ensures that the agency has enough agents to combat drug smuggling and illegal immigration. Under the current system, which is older than many of the agency's agents, border agents often work unpredictable overtime schedules that result in border security gaps during shift changes.
Improving the pay system and the use of overtime will increase Border Patrol manpower by 20 percent and prevent gaps in border coverage.
"Border Patrol agents put in long hours in remote parts of our country to protect Americans and stop folks from entering the country illegally." said Tester, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce. "This bill ensures that they receive fair pay so they can better protect us and provide for their families."
The National Border Patrol Council, which represents Border Patrol agents, and the American Federation of Government Employees strongly support Tester's bill.
"Keeping our nation's border secure means agents have to be on alert from the minute they clock in," said National Border Patrol Council Vice President and Conrad, Montana native Jonathan Perkins. "But wondering how much money will be in our paycheck makes it harder for us to do the jobs we signed up to do. Senator Tester has been a leader in getting Border Patrol the support we need, and his bill improves our ability to strengthen all of America's borders."
Tester's bill is expected to save taxpayers at least $60 million annually.