The labor union representing US Customs and Border Protection agents on Monday gave a tepid endorsement to the bipartisan immigration reform bill crafted by the White House and Senate negotiators, calling it “not perfect” but “far better” than passing nothing.
The endorsement comes after House Republican leadership and former President Donald Trump slammed the recently unveiled 370-page bill, which ties $60 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, $14 billion in military aid for Israel and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for Palestinian territories with $20 billion for US border security.
The Border Act of 2024 would eliminate the Biden administration’s so-called “catch and release” policy for asylum seekers.
In addition, the bill would add 50,000 beds to federal immigration detention spaces, appropriate $650 million for border wall construction and would allow President Biden to shut down the border when crossings exceed a 5,000-per-day average over one week.
“Since Joe Biden has been in office, CBP has averaged over 6,700 apprehensions per day and the vast majority of these illegal immigrants have been released under a policy known as catch-and-release,” Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, said in a statement. “Approximately 60% of all border apprehensions are single adults, a good number of whom are military age men.”
Judd noted that the bill will give Border Patrol agents the ability to “remove single adults expeditiously and without a lengthy judicial review which historically has required the release of these individuals into the interior of the United States.”
The nation’s immigration court backlog under Biden, 81, reached a record level last year, ballooning to more than 3 million pending cases, according to data compiled by Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse.
“This alone will drop illegal border crossings nationwide and will allow our agents to get back to detecting and apprehending those who want to cross our borders illegally and evade apprehension,” Judd said.
“While not perfect, the Border Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction and is far better than the current status quo,” the union chief’s statement continued. “This is why the National Border Patrol Council endorses this bill and hopes for its quick passage.”
The endorsement comes despite the National Border Patrol Council’s frequent criticism of the president’s handling of the border crisis as well as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Judd previously told The Post his members want Mayorkas impeached.
Earlier Monday, the union tweeted a photo of Biden tripping up the stairs while boarding Air Force One with the caption, “The US border, illustrated.”
“Biden purposefully dismantled the border. It’s irrefutable,” the group tweeted Sunday after the long-anticipated text of the legislation was released.
The National Border Patrol Council represents about 18,000 Border Patrol agents and support personnel, maintaining a 90% membership rate among eligible agents.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) – who handled negotiations with the White House on the legislation for the Senate – all touted the union’s endorsement.
Trump derided the bill as a “great gift to the Democrats” and House GOP leadership has said it is “DEAD on arrival” in the lower chamber, urging senators to “reject it.”