Congress Approves Border Jobs for Veterans Act

Bill increases recruiting, expedites hiring of U.S. military service members for positions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the Senate unanimously approved the Border Jobs for Veterans Act. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the Senate and Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) in the House will help put veterans to work as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at understaffed U.S. ports of entry without raising costs or affecting existing veteran hiring authorities.

“I am pleased to see the Border Jobs for Veterans Act, which I cosponsored with Senators Flake, McCain and Schumer, pass the Senate yesterday. This is an important, incremental step toward enhancing our border security,” said Johnson. “Since becoming chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I have looked closely at border security through a series of site visits, committee hearings and roundtables. One common theme that has emerged is that manpower plays a vital role in securing the border, both at and between our ports of entry. This bill is truly a win-win: It gives former service members an opportunity to continue serving by ensuring the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense work together to identify these qualified applicants and provides DHS with the best candidates to fill vacancies in remote ports of entry along our borders.  Now this goes to the president’s desk for signature.”

Sen. Johnson’s remarks on the Senate floor regarding the bill’s final passage can be viewed here.

Background: This Congress, Chairman Johnson has held eight committee hearings and one public roundtable focused on border security.  These hearings have made clear that manpower plays an important role in securing the border.  However, in several hearings, members expressed concerns about filling positions at U.S. ports of entry, particularly in remote areas.    

Through his oversight work, Chairman Johnson has worked with Sens. Flake and McCain to encourage DHS and DOD to work together to help military service members re-entering the civilian workforce get jobs at understaffed ports of entry.  Sen. Johnson joined this bill to help move this effort forward.

On June 24, Chairman Johnson’s committee marked up and unanimously approved S.1603, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act.  

On Sept. 9, the Senate unanimously passed S. 1603, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act.

On Sept. 28, the House unanimously passed H.R. 2835, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act.

On Oct. 1, the Senate unanimously passed H.R. 2835, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act, sending the bill to the president’s desk.