On Sept. 28, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a the bipartisan "Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015" in a unanimous vote.
The bill, backed by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, is on it's way to President Barack Obama's desk after passing the House in a 410-0 vote, Law 360 reports. The Senate has already unanimously passed the bill.
Flake told The Hill that the bill would increase the number of port officials along the United State's southern border with Mexico, in part by requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to recruit more outgoing military personnel for the positions.
Flake added that he introduced the act because there has been "a problem for a long time in the Arizona-Mexico border with not enough so-called blue uniforms -- people who man the ports."
"We have a ton of commerce that goes back and forth [along the border]," the senator said. "Legal, good commerce. ... And there's big lines at the border because we don't have enough staffing. We have some good infrastructure built, some good port facilities, but we haven't staffed up.
" ... We got funding for 2,000 more port officials there along the U.S.-Mexico border. But DHS has been slow to hire, and they've only filled, I think, 400 of those positions."
He explained that the DHS had been slow to hire due to the long screening process, as the job requires security clearance.
"We thought, well, what about veterans?" Flake said. "There are some 250,000 veterans a year that separate themselves for the military. It's a huge number, there have got to be some of those who are looking for jobs. Who've already gone through a security clearance.
" ... So what this legislation does, ... it tells DHS to work with our military and to make sure if there are veterans, who need a job, and who have already gone through some of these clearances that take a long time, that they be looked at. Just to coordinate, that's all this bill does, it asks them to coordinate. It doesn't mess with veterans preferences in order areas."
When asked whether he thought Obama would sign the bill, Flake said: "Yeah, I believe so. I can't imagine that he would not back it."