Congress Passes Hoeven-Sponsored Legislation to Enhance Shadow Wolves, Expand Operation to Northern Border

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the House companion to the Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Hoeven and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). This bipartisan, bicameral legislation classifies the Tohono O’odham Shadow Wolves unit as special agents, allowing them to better patrol, investigate, interdict and secure the southern border. The legislation also requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a plan to expand the Shadow Wolves program to other parts of the United States, including the northern border. This will allow the Shadow Wolves program to be utilized in other tribal areas throughout the country, enhancing border security by helping prevent illegal contraband from coming across the borders.

“We need to secure our southern border and stem the tide of illegal crossings, which allow for human and drug trafficking and undermine the security of our nation,” said Senator Hoeven. “The Shadow Wolves do tremendous work securing the shared border between the Tohono O’odham Nation and Mexico. Our legislation would strengthen their mission and enable them to utilize more of their skills and expertise along the southern border. Importantly, it would also call on the Homeland Security Department to put forth a plan to expand the Shadow Wolves to other tribal communities, including those near the northern border.”

“The Tohono O’Oodham Nation’s Shadow Wolves serve as critical partners to help combat drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other illicit activity on the southwest border. I’m proud both the U.S. Senate and House passed our legislation with bipartisan support, entrusting the Shadow Wolves with more authority to investigate and interdict illegal border activity and keep Arizona families safe and secure,” said Senator Sinema. 

Shadow Wolves are members of the Tohono O’odham Nation who work for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Shadow Wolves patrol the 76-mile stretch of land the Nation shares with Mexico and are known for their ability to track drug traffickers. The Hoeven-Sinema bill reclassifies Shadow Wolves from tactical officers to special agents, allowing the unit to better investigate and track cross-border criminal activity. The bill also provides the ability to expand the Shadow Wolves program to other parts of the country, including areas along the northern border.

In November, the Hoeven/Sinema Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act advanced out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The U.S. House passed the companion to the Hoeven-Sinema bill (H.R. 5681) earlier this month, and with Senate passage of H.R. 5681, the bill will now go to the president.