Miller, McCaul, Cornyn Introduce Legislation to Secure America's Borders

Apr 9, 2013 Issues: Defense and Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, joined House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10) today in introducing legislation to secure our nation’s porous borders. The Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417) compels the creation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure our borders and requires the deployment of metrics to gauge the results of our efforts. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) today introduced the Senate version. 

Ten years after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it has never produced a comprehensive strategy to gain operational control of our borders, and it still does not have measures to determine if security is improving. The Administration’s current ad hoc border approach, which includes more than a dozen strategies and 22 independent units directing border security operations, has resulted in government waste and the continuation of illegal migration. Sending large amounts of resources to certain border sectors has simply pushed illegal border crossers to other areas. This legislation ensures that DHS finally develops a comprehensive national strategy and verified metrics, so that Americans see lasting results on our borders.

Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10): “The American people expect and deserve to have a high degree of certainty that our nation’s borders are secure; this is a critical element of any successful immigration reform.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, I want to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes made in the past, nor can we accept empty promises on border security – we need hard, verifiable facts.   We need a strategy to get us to a place where we can be confident that the overwhelming majority of illegal crossers are apprehended, as well as drugs and other contraband interdicted. 

“The American people and we in Congress have been frustrated by this Administration and its inability to come to grips with the need to secure our border and to do so in a measurable way.  In the past when faced with the fact that our nation had little ‘operational control’ over vast stretches of our border, the Administration said ‘operational control’ was a bad measurement of border security and needed to be replaced with a different standard called the ‘Border Control Index’ or BCI.  Recently, at a hearing I held in my Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security we were told that BCI wouldn’t work either and we had the Administration’s word that our border was more secure than ever.  Two things continue to be absent from the way this Administration approaches border security: a serious plan to secure the border, and tangible ways to measure success or failure.

“The measure we are introducing today, the Border Security Results Act of 2013, seeks to address these very basic requirements by compelling DHS to develop and implement a serious plan to secure the border, develop metrics for success and gain the situational awareness needed to understand how the threat at the border evolves.  Absent a national strategy and a way to measure our border security efforts, we will have the same immigration conversation year after year.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10): “Not knowing who is coming across our borders threatens our economic and national security. Americans have seen that promises of border security coupled with immigration reform have gone unfulfilled in the past. The Border Security Results Act of 2013 ensures that border security will be realized. This legislation compels the use of taxpayer-owned technology to gain situational awareness of our borders so that we can finally see what we’re missing, and doing so will allow us to develop measures to gauge progress. For too long, we have approached border security backwards – by throwing resources at the problem, to plug the holes on our borders without a comprehensive plan to tactically distribute those resources. Until Congress mandates the creation of a national strategy, the Administration will continue to say the border is secure while America's back door remains wide open.”

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas): “Since 2010, the Administration has failed to provide a metric for determining border security, yet they continue to claim that the border is secure.  By requiring the Administration to come up with a clear measurement of security, as well as a timeline for development and implementation, we can ensure that our national security policy is based on real results, and not baseless claims.

“We’re committed to learning from past failures, and are setting standards for significantly lowering wait times at ports of entry on the border and significantly higher rates of apprehension for those who enter the country illegally.”

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Background: The Border Security Results Act of 2013 requires DHS to develop a comprehensive outcome-based strategy for securing our borders that:
• Incorporates advanced technology to get a complete picture of the security of the entire border for full situational awareness
• Employs this data to properly allocate manpower and other resources
• Creates new metrics to define progress based off the number of apprehensions relative to the total number of illegal crossings

To ensure Congressional oversight, the legislation also requires DHS to meet a timeline for the development and implementation of the strategy, the results of which must be verified by outside experts.

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