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House Passes Secure Border Act
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today made the following statement upon the passage of her legislation, H.R. 1299, the Secure Border Act, by the full U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday. Miller’s legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a comprehensive strategy for securing our nation’s borders and ports of entry. Miller’s Secure Border Act passed the House unanimously by voice vote and now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“For far too many years, our nation has lacked a clear and comprehensive plan to gain and maintain operational control of the borders. My legislation directs the Secretary of DHS to develop a strategy for securing our borders and ports of entry by taking into account personnel, technology, and other resources to meet our nation’s security requirements,” Miller said. “Our common defense begins with effectively securing our borders, and the American people rightly expect and demand that the federal government take the responsibility to secure the borders.”
Background for H.R. 1299:
The 2004 National Border Patrol Strategy, produced by the U.S Border Patrol, was predicated on the concept of gaining and maintaining operational control of the border. The newly released 2012 Border Patrol strategy lacks a standard to measure progress along the borders.
U.S. Government Accountability Office reports have indicated that only 44 percent of the Southwest Border was under operational control, and that only 32 of the nearly 4,000 northern border miles had reached an acceptable level of security. Congress has spent billions of dollars to secure the border through investments in personnel, technology and infrastructure. Investments in border security should not be ad hoc; rather investments should only be made as part of a larger strategic plan.
• Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive strategy to Congress within 180 days to gain and maintain operational control of the U.S borders within five (5) years.
o If the Secretary of Homeland Security makes a determination to measure security between border ports of entry by a standard other than operational control, the Secretary shall request an appropriate Department of Energy National Laboratory with prior expertise in border security to evaluate such alternative standard.
• Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive measurement system to the Committee within 180 days that analyzes the effectiveness of security at all at all land, air, and sea ports of entry.
o Secretary of Homeland Security shall request the head of an appropriate Department of Energy National Laboratory with prior expertise in border security to evaluate the Port of Entry measurement.