TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Department of Homeland Security's proposed budget for 2017 could reduce the number of border patrol agents by about 300.
A memo in the DHS budget request reads as follow:
"The budget requests authority to achieve an onboard Border Patrol Agent target of 21,070 in FY 2017. This target reflects realistic agent hiring expectations and is 300 agents lower than the target provided in FY 2016 Enacted appropriation. The available pay resources from this lower level of staffing will allow CBP to invest in critical mission readiness assets, to include recapitalizing aging radios and vehicles. These investments will allow for better response times and improved resolution of incidents and incursions."
There has been opposition to the idea of reducing the number of agents at the border.
In a statement from Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Countil, he points out that CBP is already operating at 1,500 agents under the level mandated by congress in the current budget and they must plan for retirement of aging agents.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says this a step in the wrong direction, especially for Arizona's border security.
"We should be adding new Border Patrol agents, we should be adding additional technology and security measures," said Babeu.
He added that this is the wrong time to reduce the number agents.
"Forget about illegal immigrants and the drug cartels that clearly our county and Pima County are fighting. What about ISIS? What about terrorists who can just as easily make it through an unsecured border."