Border Patrol Gets Good News

(5MinNewsBreak) – In a move that recognizes the tireless efforts of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the government has enacted a provision under the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, enabling these agents to receive some well-deserved recognition for their hard work and dedication to the country.

This significant change, effective from December 22, empowers agents at the GS-12 level and above with time and a half pay for their overtime hours, aligning their compensation with industry standards and reflecting the challenging nature of their work on the nation’s frontlines.

The overdue compensation adjustment was highlighted by Hector Garza, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council. During a recent press conference in Laredo, Texas, Garza underscored the importance of this change, stating, “Time and a half is the industry standard. Now agents will be paid time and a half for the overtime hours they work.” This statement underlines a long-standing need for equitable pay in a demanding field.

The initiative to include this overtime provision in the Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA was championed by U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, acknowledging the vital role Border Patrol agents play in communities, particularly in areas like South Texas with a high concentration of these agents. Cuellar emphasized the dual benefit of the increased pay – not only supporting the agents and their families but also boosting local economies as the agents spend their earnings locally. “The more money they get paid, the more money they will spend at the restaurants, at the stores,” Cuellar explained, highlighting the positive ripple effect on local businesses.

Cuellar also pointed out the timely nature of this change, noting that Border Patrol agents had to work through the Christmas holidays without fair compensation. He emphasized the ongoing challenges at the southern border and the negative impact the lack of adequate overtime pay has had on agent retention, recruitment, and morale.

Despite the approval of funding to hire 300 new Border Patrol agents in Fiscal 2023, the agency has struggled to fill these positions, attributed in part to uncompetitive pay scales. Garza noted the difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified agents since a 2014 pay structure change that reduced overtime pay.

The new pay reform is expected to significantly aid in recruiting and retaining personnel. Agents will also receive backpay for any overtime worked from December 22 until the new pay structure is implemented, as per the National Border Patrol Council.

Aligning with other federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, this change is part of a broader move to improve federal worker compensation. In 2024, federal workers are set to receive an average 5.2% pay raise, the highest in over 40 years, following an executive order signed by President Biden. This includes a starting annual pay for GS-12 workers in Texas ranging from $88,000 to $100,000, depending on the location.