Sen. Kelly and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Raise Border Patrol Pay, Create Border Patrol Reserve

Today, U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK), introduced the bipartisan Border Patrol Enhancement Act to establish the Border Patrol Reserve and provide a much-needed pay raise to our Border Patrol agents during this current border crisis. 

This bill would create a 2,500 agent reserve force, increase the number of total Border Patrol agents to 20,500, and raise Border Patrol pay by 14 percent to be more competitive with other federal law enforcement agents, including other agents under the Department of Homeland Security. The legislation also standardizes professional development and training requirements for all Border Patrol agents.

“Border Patrol agents put their lives on the line every day to secure the border and keep our communities safe. Our bipartisan bill will give the hardworking men and women of the Border Patrol the support, resources, and pay raises they deserve. We’ll keep working with Republicans and Democrats to ensure that our law enforcement has the tools needed to recruit and retain agents so we can ensure a secure, fair, and orderly process at the border,” said Senator Mark Kelly.

“On behalf of the men and women of the National Border Patrol Council, I want to thank and applaud Senators Portman, Sinema, Lankford, and Kelly for their leadership in introducing legislation that will secure critical resources in an effort to secure our borders,” said Brandon Judd, President, National Border Patrol Council. “The National Border Patrol Council staunchly supports this legislation because we are currently witnessing unprecedented public safety and public health crises, with record numbers of Americans dying of drug overdoses and record numbers of individuals defying our laws with no consequences and entering our country illegally, oftentimes undetected. This legislation will dramatically enhance the ability to recruit and retain highly professional Border Patrol Agents and invest in these Agents who risk their lives trying to secure our border every day. The ongoing lawlessness and the tragic loss of lives cannot continue and we urge the Senate to consider and pass the Border Patrol Enhancement Act immediately.”

“Every time I’ve visited with Border Patrol, they have made it clear that they need increased funding to recruit and retain agents. 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. That’s why I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to address recruitment and retention challenges by authorizing a raise for agents, and create a Border Patrol Reserve to provide the support our Border Patrol agents need as the influx of unlawful migrants and illicit narcotics continues to worsen,” said Senator Portman.

“Border Patrol must maintain a strong workforce to secure the border, protect our communities, and ensure the fair and humane treatment of migrants. Border Patrol does not have the staffing or resources to meet that goal – our bipartisan legislation addresses these issues to adequately support Border Patrol as they protect Arizona communities,” said Senator Sinema.

“I remain extremely grateful to Border Patrol agents for staying focused on our national security, even in this season of chaos on the border,” said Senator Lankford. “Biden continues to encourage illegal border crossers to enter the US, and our Border Patrol stand between US citizens and people from 150 countries coming into our nation, potentially connected to the Mexican cartels or terrorist organizations worldwide. I’ve heard from Border Patrol directly that morale is low because their hands are tied when trying to enforce the law, which makes it difficult to recruit and retain the best and brightest. We must ensure the Border Patrol has the people and tools they need to do their job and the incentives to bring in the best people. Our national security depends on it.” 

In the Senate, Kelly has maintained a focus on securing our southern border and giving law enforcement the resources and support needed to keep communities safe. Earlier this year, Kelly secured more than $1 billion for border security, improved border technology, Border Patrol hiring and retention, and other border management priorities. Kelly has also introduced bipartisan legislation to require DHS to develop a response plan to influxes at the border and provide $1 billion in contingency funds to carry out the plan. 

Kelly has also repeatedly raised concerns about the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness and comprehensive planning to tackle the border crisis. Kelly also recently announced he successfully pushed the Biden administration to close the border barrier gaps at Morelos Dam in Yuma. Kelly’s announcement came after several months of Kelly’s coordination and planning with the White House and DHS beginning in December 2021. In May, Kelly also toured the Morelos Dam in Yuma and discussed the impact of the border crisis with the Border Patrol, local law enforcement, and local leaders.