Bipartisan group of senators seeks to bolster Border Patrol forces, hike pay amid border 'crisis'
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports an average of over 200,000 encounters each month.
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A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill to create a 2,500-member, reserve U.S. border force and increase Border Patrol agents' pay by 14%, amid record migration at the country's southern border.
The measure was introduced Thursday by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and is cosponsored by fellow GOP Sen. Jim Lankford, of Oklahoma, and Arizona Democrat Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema.
If passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, the measure would bring the total number of Border Patrol agents to 20,500 and make the agency's pay more competitive with that of other federal law enforcement agents, including those also under the Department of Homeland Security, according to the Epoch Times.
Portman said that record illegal immigration, along with restrictive laws and insufficient resources, is bringing the problems at the border "toward a catastrophe."
"Every time I've visited with Border Patrol, they have made it clear that they need increased funding to recruit and retain agents," he said. "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."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports an average of over 200,000 encounters each month. The agency reported more than 1.4 million single adult encounters nationwide so far in 2022, more than double the rate in 2020, the Epoch Times also reports.