WASHINGTON — As conservatives in Congress have blasted the new bipartisan border agreement for not going far enough, the legislation earned a key endorsement on Monday: the labor union that represents U.S. Border Patrol agents.
The National Border Patrol Council — which represents more than 18,000 agents — said the bill would “drop illegal border crossings nationwide and will allow our agents to get back to detecting and apprehending those who want to cross our border illegally and evade apprehension.”
It's a significant statement of support from a group that endorsed former President Donald Trump in 2020 and has repeatedly railed against President Joe Biden’s handling of the border.
“While not perfect, the Border Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction and is far better than the current status quo,” Brandon Judd, president of the council, said in the statement. “This is why the National Border Patrol Council endorses this bill and hopes for its quick passage.”
Just last week, Judd attended a House Republican roundtable in the Capitol entitled “The Impact of the Biden Border Crisis” and slammed the Biden administration for having “destabilized our Southwest Border.”
In less than 24 hours since it was released, the Border Act of 2024 has been ripped apart by Republicans, primarily in the House, who railed against the bill. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and his leadership team called the legislation a “waste of time," warning that it is “dead on arrival” in the House if it passes the Senate.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the top GOP negotiator of the bill, and urged his colleagues to carefully consider it.
Still, multiple Republican senators have already said they will not support the legislation as-is and it is unclear if it can get the votes to pass.
On Monday afternoon Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., set up a procedural vote on a $118 billion national security supplemental bill, which includes the border legislation as well as funding for the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East and aid for the Indo-Pacific region. The Senate is expected to take an initial, procedural vote on the package on Wednesday.
In the statement released on Monday, Judd said the bill would “give U.S. Border Patrol agents authorities codified, in law, that we have not had in the past.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent who helped negotiate the border deal, called the Border Patrol union’s endorsement “great news.”
“These men and women are on the frontlines of the border crisis — and they know what it takes to fix our broken system," she wrote on X.