A newly introduced bipartisan bill in the Senate (S-1305) targets CBP hiring issues, particularly troubles related to hiring and keeping employees for work in rural or remote areas, through more use of hiring and retention authorities.

“Currently, the Border Patrol needs to hire close to 2,000 additional agents on the border, while the Office of Field Operations needs close to 1,000 more officers at our nation’s ports of entry. Hiring continues to be a challenge with less than one percent of Border Patrol agent applicants eventually being officially hired by the agency,” sponsors said in offering the bill.

“These CBP employees are often stationed in some of the most isolated regions of the country, and may even lack reasonable access to the basic amenities. These circumstances lead to high workforce attrition and our nation’s security and safety is ultimately threatened,” a statement said.

Under the bill, the CBP would have enhanced powers to pay recruitment, retention and relocation incentives for jobs in rural or remote areas; provide commuting allowances for employees who face long commutes to work in such locations; and offer higher pay rates to make salary more comparable to that of similar private sector positions.

The measure has the backing of organizations including the National Border Patrol Council, the National Treasury Employees Union, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.