Congressmen propose improving CBP training

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Associated Press

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 9 at 4:02 PM

ANTHONY, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce and Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced plans Saturday for a bipartisan bill to improve training for agents at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Pearce, a Republican, and O'Rourke, a Democrat, made the announcement during a meeting Saturday morning with community leaders in Anthony, N.M.

The legislation would focus on improving training and accountability for Customs and Border Protection agents.

The measure would include the creation of new channels for people to resolve issues with the agency.

Pearce said the proposal is the result of input from constituents, including ranchers and immigrants.

"This proposal further emphasizes that together, our nation can find simple solutions to our broken system," Pearce said in a statement.

Pearce and O'Rourke previously collaborated on introducing the American Families United Act in October. That proposal would allow a judicial review for U.S. citizens separated from family because of immigration issues

Pearce, who represents a district that borders Mexico, is viewed by the GOP as a key figure in helping attract Latino voters to the Republican Party. The lone Republican member of New Mexico's congressional delegation, Pearce has been pressed by advocates pushing for federal immigration reform. Many have called on him to support a proposal allowing immigrants living in the U.S. illegally a pathway to citizenship, an idea he has said he doesn't support.

In January, O'Rourke helped kick off a pilot project in West Texas in which private companies and local governments would be allowed to pay for extra staffing and overtime to cut down on wait times at ports of entry and Texas airports.

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