The bills introduced by Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., and Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., focus on bolstering CBP staffing.
The House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday cleared a bill to require the Department of Homeland Security to issue a strategy to improve staffing of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel in rural areas and another to require a workload staffing model for CBP Air and Marine Operations.
H.R. 1598, the CBP Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act of 2019, would require DHS to issue a strategy and implementation plan, including benchmarks, no later than one year after the date of enactment to improve CBP hiring and retention in rural or remote areas.
The bill would require DHS to include a pilot or “other program, as appropriate,” to address CBP hiring challenges in rural or remote areas and to enhance CBP strategic recruiting efforts by building relationships with institutions of higher education, veterans transition and employment centers, and job placement programs in regions that could assist in filling positions in rural or remote areas.
Introduced by Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., the bill would require DHS’ strategy to “take into consideration” an assessment of existing federal programs, including financial incentives and other compensation-based flexibilities, regarding how to most effectively aid spouses and families of candidates or new hires in rural or remote areas.
The legislation defines “rural or remote areas” as areas within the U.S. that aren’t defined or designated as urbanized areas in the most recent decennial census.
H.R. 1639, the CBP Workload Staffing Model Act, would require CBP to expand its workload staffing model to cover Air and Marine Operations and Border Patrol no later than one year after enactment.
Introduced by Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., the bill would require CBP, among other things, to implement a staffing model that considers essential frontline operator activities and functions, variations in operating environments, current and planned infrastructure, current and planned technology, and required operations support levels for CBP’s Air and Marine Operations, Office of Field Operations and Border Patrol.
The office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., didn’t respond to a question on when the full House might vote on the bills.