Katko Legislation to Improve ICE Shadow Wolves Program to Secure Southern Border Passes House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, H.R. 5681, the Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act, overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives in a victory for border security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This legislation improves Shadow Wolves officers’ ability to stop illicit activity on Tribal Lands and allows officers to be reclassified as special agents with authority to patrol, investigate, and interdict illicit activities along the Southern Border.
Shadow Wolves officers are part of an ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tactical patrol unit currently operating on the lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona. These officers are known for their ability to track drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other illicit activity intended to traverse Tribal lands and enter the U.S.
Shadow Wolves officers are increasingly performing investigative work; however, outdated hiring authority limits their ability to be reclassified in the appropriate job series, causing pay and upward mobility limitations. This puts the crucial Shadow Wolves program at risk of becoming non-operational as officers retire.
The Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act resolves this issue, creates pay equity for officers, and encourages the expansion of the program to other Tribal lands along the international land borders with the permission of the appropriate Tribal governments.
“Shadow Wolves officers perform critical duties that help stop drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other illicit activities at our Southern Border,” said Ranking Member Katko. “Unfortunately, it has been difficult to retain and recruit these officers due to pay and upward mobility limitations. This bill prioritizes long-term viability of the Shadow Wolves unit by allowing officers to be reclassified as special agents with appropriate authorities and pay. Their operations could not be more impressive. Every day these officers carry out a difficult mission under increasingly challenging circumstances while providing critical law enforcement expertise to our homeland security apparatus. I am proud to lead the effort to ensure that Shadow Wolves officers are properly compensated and able to continue their critical border security mission.”
View the bill text here.