Border Patrol In Montana

The National Border Patrol Council, the union for the agents charged with guarding the U.S.-Mexico border, says it has “serious concerns” about the way the new Senate bill handles security in the southwest — adding a major new critical voice to the immigration debate.

NBPC had held its fire in recent weeks as it worked behind the scenes to try to get the bill amended, but the agents are now speaking out and saying they aren’t sure the Border Patrol can even handle the surge of 20,000 additional agents that was the crux of the deal that helped win over wavering Republicans.

“We chose to work behind the scenes, and it doesn’t seem that the problems were corrected,” Shawn Moran, an at-large vice president for the NBPC, told The Washington Times on Thursday, after the Senate vote. “It seems that political goals took precedence over actual reforms. Unless we’re going to form a human chain from Brownsville to Imperial Beach, I’m not sure this is going to be the cure that everybody thinks it will be at the border.”

With the NBPC expressing concerns, it means that all three unions for the employees at the immigration services — Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — have said the Senate bill doesn’t measure up.

Senators passed their bill Thursday afternoon on a 68-32 vote, with 14 Republicans joining all of the chamber’s Democrats in support.