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Sinema, Kelly praise Border Patrol overtime pay increase

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(The Center Square)– Some Border Patrol agents will now get increased overtime pay thanks to an amendment pushed by Arizona Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, as well as Republicans and Democrats.

The increase put into the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act applies to GS-12 agents who will get 50% more of their “hourly rate of basic pay or extra ‘half-time’ pay for any hour(s) worked between 81-100 per pay period.” The boost is in addition to their normal hourly rate, the National Border Patrol Council explained in a statement.

“We’re cutting through Washington’s partisan noise to support Border Patrol agents in their mission to keep Arizonans safe and secure,” Sinema, Chair of the Border Management Subcommittee, said in a statement on Dec. 22.

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly also praised the move as the Tucson Sector is currently dealing with a migrant surge. The sector reported 16,800 apprehensions this week and 19,400 the week prior.

“During a crisis when Border Patrol agents are working around the clock to process migrants and secure the border, this will get them the overtime pay they deserve,” Kelly said in a statement.

The Border Patrol Union specifically thanked Sinema, Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar, as well as Republican Sen. James Lankford and Republican Rep. James Comer on Dec. 14 when it passed the made its way to President Joe Biden’s desk. Biden signed the NDAA into law last Friday.

The move comes as authorities at the border struggle with having enough staff to manage the ongoing crisis. In Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry remains closed as Customs and Border Protection agents have shifted efforts in the area to handling the flow of migrants crossing illegally.

Morale has also been a long-term struggle for the law enforcement agency, as The Center Square reported in March that 17 Border Patrol agents committed suicide in 2022.

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