Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in applauding the unanimous Senate approval of S. 1603, the Border Jobs for Veterans Act. The bipartisan bill will help put veterans to work as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at understaffed U.S. ports of entry.
Earlier this week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson confirmed that the agency has yet to fill nearly 1,200 of the 2,000 new CBP officer positions created by Congress in 2014 to improve security and reduce trade-stifling commercial traffic at ports. Secretary Johnson has attributed the shortfall to delays associated with applicant background investigations, low polygraph clearance rates and a shortage of federal polygraph examiners, combined with CBP officer attrition.
The Border Jobs for Veterans Act will address those challenges by requiring the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cooperate on efforts to recruit and expedite the hiring of outgoing U.S. military service members – some of whom can enter the application process with an active security clearance – to serve as CBP officers at ports.
The bill does not raise costs or impact existing veteran hiring authorities.
The text of the Border Jobs for Veterans Act can be viewed here.