Rep. Torres Small Takes Bipartisan Steps to Address Rural Border Challenges

March 8, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres (NM-02) spent the day working across party lines to address Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing shortages in the most rural regions of our southern border.  First, by introducing the bipartisan U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act (H.R. 1598) with U.S. Representative Will Hurd  (TX-23). Later in the day, she convened her first Homeland Security Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee hearing as its Chairwoman, and focused the hearing on the critical issue of recruitment, hiring, and retention.

“Some of the most remote stretches of our southern border are in New Mexico’s Bootheel.  In this region, and regions like it, the retention and hiring of CBP agents and officers is a significant challenge,” said Rep. Torres Small (NM-02).  “In order to ensure that CBP can properly adapt to the changing circumstances along the remote sections of our southern border, we must ensure it has the resources to do so, and that starts with personnel.  Yesterday’s subcommittee hearing and bill are my first steps towards addressing this issue, which is critical to the safety of families, communities, and agents.” 

"We must hire more agents to help fill 2,000 empty positions in border and fix retention problems so we have enough manpower to keep Americans safe along our border. The brave men and women that serve are our most important border security resource,” said Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), who represents more of the U.S.-Mexico border than any other Member of Congress. “I am proud to join Rep. Torres-Small to introduce this bipartisan bill that makes important strides towards addressing some problems within border patrol by creating an enhanced recruitment strategy and partnerships so we can recruit, hire and retain agents for years to come.”

The bipartisan U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act (H.R. 1598) seeks to improve the Department of Homeland Security’s hiring and retention of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel in rural and remote locations. It will do so by requiring CBP to reassess its current efforts to hire in rural or remote locations and develop a strategy to ensure that it is meeting its needs in those regions.

The first convening of the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee focused on the critical issue of recruitment, hiring, and retention at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The hearing probed into the hiring challenges at hard-to-fill locations, such as rural and remote areas along the border, as well as lessons learned from the CBP-Accenture contract.

To learn more about Rep. Torres Small visit TorresSmall.House.gov, or follow her on social media at Facebook.com/RepTorresSmall and @RepTorresSmall.

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