Miller Statement on Legislation to Secure America's Borders

Apr 24, 2013 Issues: Defense and Homeland Security

Measure Heads to Full House Homeland Security Committee for Consideration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today held a markup of the Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417).  The Border Security Results Act of 2013 compels the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to produce a comprehensive national strategy to secure our borders and requires the deployment of metrics to gauge the results of our efforts.  The measure was passed out of the Subcommittee by a bipartisan and unanimous voice vote, and now heads to the full House Homeland Security Committee for consideration.  Miller said:

“Right now our nation and this Congress are engaged in a debate over how we should fix our broken immigration system.  While the American people are demanding a smarter and stronger immigration system, they are also demanding that a workable and measurable plan to secure our borders must be a part of any such reform.  In fits and starts we have made border security progress – we doubled the size of the Border Patrol, added hundreds of miles of fence, and added other technologies to assist in securing the border.  What we have failed to do thus far is to put in place a metric to judge the effectiveness of our efforts.  Border security should be based on these three questions: What does a secure border look like, how do we get there, and most importantly how do we measure it? 

The Border Security Results Act of 2013 builds on the work this Subcommittee did last Congress and addresses those questions by forcing DHS to finally develop and implement a serious plan to secure the border, develop metrics to gauge our success and gain the situational awareness needed to understand how the threat at the border evolves.  The strategy, implementation plan and metrics required by this legislation will inform how we apply resources we send to the border in the future, will eliminate the ad-hoc nature of our spending and provide a tangible way to measure success or failure along the border.

“I believe the border security legislation that we are putting forward today can be the solution that allows real immigration reform to move forward because it will provide the security at the border that the American people are demanding and deserve.”

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. Specifically, DHS must:
• Develop a strategy to secure the border within 180 days of bill passage
• Implement its strategy 90 days after development, with the implementation plan to be reviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
• Gain situational awareness within 2 years of bill passage
• Gain operational control of the border within 2 years of implementation of its strategy
• Submit to an independent audit by a DHS National Lab and the GAO to verify the validity of their proposed metrics.

Click here for more on the Markup of H.R. 1417, Border Security Results Act of 2013.