Congressman Ciscomani and Congressman Stanton, both of AZ, have introduced bipartisan legislation that would address some of the delays and challenges with hiring for Customs and Border Protection officers. The FPAA has worked closely with the Arizona delegation on ways to improve the hiring process and ways to bring more CBP staff to ports of entry. The bill has a special focus on hiring CBP personnel in rural areas like Arizona, which has historically been more challenging in terms of recruiting and retaining staff.

In a release from the Representatives, they explain “the bill allows for:

  1. Direct Hire Authority: Grants the DHS Secretary with special expedited hiring authority, allowing the agency to forgo the typically required bureaucratic process.
  2. Recruitment and relocation bonuses: If deemed necessary, provides recruitment incentives to new employees and relocation incentives to current employees to relocate to a different area. Employees receiving bonuses must enter into a written service agreement for at least two years.
  3. Retention bonuses: Allows DHS to offer a retention bonus if an employee is likely to leave CBP. Employees receiving bonuses must also enter into a written service agreement for at least two years.
  4. Special Pay Authority: Gives DHS the ability to use rural and remote location for consideration of a special pay rate.
  5. Student Loan Repayment: Allows eligible employees to receive federal student loan repayment, which is currently at the discretion of the agency.

The legislation is supported by the National Treasury Employee Union, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, the Border Trade Alliance, the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Pima County Board of Supervisors, Chamberlain Inc., Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation, Douglas International Port Authority, and Greater Yuma Port Authority. It is also endorsed by local officials Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, San Luis Mayor Nieves Riedel, Douglas Mayor Don Huish, Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls, and Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy.

Full text of the bill is available here.

Full Press Release is available here.