McCaskill Introduces Bill to Strengthen Border Security, Target Drug Trafficking

New bill will require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional officers to fill shortages at ports of entry

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, will introduce a bill today to strengthen border security and target drug trafficking by requiring U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire additional officers at ports of entry in order to fill a current staffing shortage of over 3,600. Ports of entry are where the majority of illegal drugs enter the United States.

“Customs and Border Protection Officers are our first line of defense against opioids or other illegal drugs entering the country and making their way to Missouri communities,” McCaskill said. “My bill will address current staffing shortages so that Customs and Border Protection has the officers it needs to keep Missourians and all Americans safe.”

McCaskill will introduce The Border and Port Security Act today along with Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jon Tester of Montana, and Kamala Harris of California. It will require Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire at least 500 additional CBP Officers per year until they have met their staffing needs based on internal CBP staffing analysis that takes into account traffic flows, threat assessments and other data. According to CBP’s current analysis, the agency needs approximately 3,600 more CBP Officers at ports of entry. CBP Officers play a critical role in stopping illegal smuggling at ports of entry, inspection points for people and shipments entering the country. McCaskill heard firsthand from law enforcement officers about the need for filling staffing shortages at ports of entry—which is what her bill will do—when she toured the U.S.-Mexico border last year.  

McCaskill’s bill comes amidst ongoing discussions with Congress and President Trump about ways to enhance border security. Last year, McCaskill’s bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program that targets transnational criminal organizations on the border and at U.S. ports in order to combat drug and weapons trafficking and other crimes was approved by the Senate Homeland Security Committee. McCaskill previously joined Republican Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson to request details about what Customs and Border Protection is doing to stop illegal opioids from being smuggled into the country. McCaskill has also called for more border security funds at ports of entry in order to strengthen efforts to intercept illegal opioids and other drugs entering the country. McCaskill has served on the Homeland Security Committee since joining the Senate, becoming the top-ranking Democrat at the beginning of last year.

The text of the bill is available HERE.

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