Bipartisan Heitkamp, Flake Bill to Improve Hiring in Rural & Remote Areas, Boost Border Security Passes U.S. Senate


 U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp Thursday announced that her bipartisan bill to help address chronic challenges Customs and Border Protection (CBP) faces with hiring and retaining workers in rural and remote areas, including at the Northern Border, to secure our country’s borders passed the Senate.

Heitkamp introduced her bipartisan bill, the CBP Hiring and Retention (CBP HiRe) Act, with U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) last year. It would help strengthen border security and remedy personnel challenges that are common in rural or remote areas, and was introduced in response to Heitkamp’s frequent meetings with CBP agents and officers in North Dakota. In recent years, CBP has experienced difficulties recruiting, hiring, and retaining both Border Patrol agents to secure the border and CBP officers to staff trade-facilitating ports of entry. These positions remain unfilled due to high attrition rates, a lengthy hiring process, and difficulty finding applicants willing to work in remote locations.

“Our Customs and Border Protection officers and agents are on the front lines of keeping North Dakota and America safe – but especially in rural areas like North Dakota, CBP faces unique challenges in hiring and retaining the workforce we need to protect our borders,” Heitkamp said. “After hearing firsthand about the challenges CBP faces, we introduced this bipartisan bill to help the agency attract and retain the best workforce possible, and it’s an important win for North Dakota communities, our Customs and Border Protection workforce, and our national security that it has now passed the Senate. Along with the new Northern Border strategy recently released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was prompted by my bipartisan bill that was passed into law, we’re working toward solutions that will keep every North Dakota community strong and safe.”