WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday introduced the bipartisan Border Jobs for Veterans Act. The bill would require the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cooperate to recruit and expedite the hiring of outgoing U.S. military service members for currently open positions as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at U.S. ports of entry.
The bill seeks to address delays associated with CBP’s necessarily thorough hiring process, which have left land ports of entry along the U.S. border understaffed despite funding for 2,000 additional officers. The bill would not raise costs or affect existing veteran hiring authorities.
“I am happy to introduce the Border Jobs for Veterans Act with Senators Flake, McCain and Schumer. This is an important, incremental step towards 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. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has struggled to fill vacancies in remote ports of entry along our borders. Separating service members who have defended our country with honor and courage are uniquely qualified to fill these positions. This bill gives these 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 provide DHS with the best candidates to fill these necessary positions.”
“Solutions do not get simpler than the Border Jobs for Veterans Act,” said Flake. “Those leaving the military need jobs and CBP needs officers to serve at our ports. The sooner DoD and DHS understand they are the answer to each other’s problem, the better for trade, national security, and the veterans community as a whole. I thank my colleagues for their support and look forward to working with them to ensure the bill’s prompt consideration and passage.”
“This bill is a win-win for retiring American service members and the communities on our southern border,” said McCain. “It would help Customs and Border Protection overcome widespread staffing deficiencies at ports of entry by encouraging the department to hire veterans who have already obtained the background checks and security clearances needed for these jobs. We must do everything we can to help all separating service members successfully reenter the workforce, and this bipartisan bill would provide veterans with vital opportunities to continue serving and protecting the nation.”
The text of the Border Jobs for Veterans Act can be viewed here.
Background: Flake, Johnson, McCain and Schumer have also filed an amendment similar to the Border Jobs for Veterans Act to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is currently being considered by the Senate. The text of the amendment can be viewed here.