Friday, July 19, 2024

Tester supports law enforcement and a secure border

by Jim Cashell
| July 4, 2024 12:00 AM

Sen. Jon Tester has been working to secure our border for years, and Montana is lucky to have someone willing to roll up his sleeves and get to work to solve our country’s toughest issues. 

As someone who spent 37 years with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, including a decade serving as Gallatin County Sheriff, I know firsthand that keeping our communities safe is nearly impossible unless we have the right resources to do our jobs. 

Tester has been a crucial partner to law enforcement across Montana as he’s fought to get us enough manpower, funding and technology to combat crime. And he’s brought that same tenacity and work ethic to his efforts to secure our southern border. 

Tester knows how important border security is to Montanans. Many of Montana’s rural towns are along the border with Canada and rely on Department of Homeland Security support, and many communities across the state are feeling the effects of the fentanyl crisis as more illegal drugs are trafficked across the southern border.  

Tester has been putting politics aside to focus on solutions to secure the border. Tester voted on a bipartisan deal to secure the border earlier this year that was endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council and the Director of Customs and Border Protection, and would have toughened asylum laws and provided more than $20 billion for resources at the border, including more manpower and technology.  

But that deal never passed. Why? Because Tester’s colleagues voted against the bill – including our junior Sen. Steve Daines – so they could keep campaigning on the issue this fall. 

Despite the political gamesmanship, Tester has not given up. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he was able to secure funding for more than 20,000 additional border patrol agents  and for improvements to border technology and installation of fentanyl scanning equipment that had been laying around unused. Tester’s bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act was also passed to specifically target illegal fentanyl trafficking. 

Tester also knows that Congress alone can’t get the job done. That’s why, unafraid to buck his own party, he’s called on President Biden time and again for not doing enough to secure the border and keep the country safe.  

I wish that everyone who stepped into the arena of public service shared the same commitment to bipartisanship and getting things done as Tester. Unfortunately, it can’t be said for Tester’s opponent.  

Before the border security bill text was even released, Tester’s opponent, Tim Sheehy, fell right in line with Sen. Mitch McConnell and announced his blanket opposition. The bill would have added resources for border patrol, hired additional agents, and cracked down on illegal crossings — but that meant nothing to Sheehy when his other option was scoring a political win.  

We all know that problems at the border will continue, and they’re not fixed. But I want someone representing me in Congress who can drown out the partisan noise and actually get work done — and that’s Jon Tester.  

As he always does, I know Tester will continue to meet with local law enforcement to ensure they have the resources they need to protect our communities, and continue to bring Montanans’ voices back with him to Washington, D.C.  

I’m tired of the partisan fighting over an issue as vital as national security, and I know Tester is too. Ge has the record to prove he will always stand up for Montanans.

Jim Cashell is a retired Gallatin County Sheriff. He lives in Bigfork.