McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The massive Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill approved by Congress included an additional $100 million for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire 800 new Border Patrol personnel, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar told Border Report on Monday.
The agency would be fully funded to hire 19,555 Border Patrol agents, said Cuellar, who is vice chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Committee.
In addition, funding also would be used to allow Border Patrol to pursue college educations, to supply on-sight mental health counselors for agents and to help Border Patrol families with childcare services.
“We’re trying to provide Border Patrol not only the moral support but the actual funding to hire more people,” Cuellar said.
The $100 million that was part of the $1.5 trillion bill that passed Congress last week, also includes the following for Border Patrol, according to Cuellar:
- $5 million for tuition assistance.
- $23 million for onsite mental health clinicians and resiliency efforts.
- $6 million for caregivers and childcare services.
- $20 million for improvements to border processing facilities.
“Big victories for Border Patrol to get them the support that they need because they were hit pretty hard,” Cuellar told Border Report via a zoom interview on Monday afternoon.
Migrant apprehensions and encounters hit an all-time high this past fiscal year with most occurring on the South Texas border.
Border processing facilities were overrun with migrants and under-staffed and temporary soft-sided facilities were opened throughout the border including in Donna, Texas, where hundreds of thousands of migrants were processed.
Cuellar said part of the $100 million funding includes more money to add 475 processing coordinators — an entry-level position within CBP where employees help care for detained migrants at the processing facilities and do other tasks that allow U.S. Border Patrol agents to return to the field.
“I don’t want Border Patrol to be changing diapers, making sandwiches. Those are entry-level positions,” Cuellar said. “It’s been very very hard for the men and women in green.”