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Rep. Miller: Strategy to Secure our Nation's Borders Must be the First Step in Any Immigration Reform
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Vice Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today made the following statement on the House Republican Conference’s meeting to address our nation’s broken immigration system. Miller called on the full House to take up the legislation she helped develop to implement a credible border security strategy. The Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R.1417) compels the Department of Homeland Security to produce a comprehensive national strategy to secure our borders and requires the deployment of metrics to gauge the results of our efforts. The Border Security Results Act passed out of Miller’s Subcommittee by a unanimous voice vote by both Republicans and Democrats, as well as passed by a bipartisan unanimous voice vote by the full House Homeland Security Committee. The bipartisan support shown for the Border Security Results Act further supports Miller’s call for the House to act on a strategy to secure our nation’s borders first.
Miller said: “One of the biggest debates in Washington today is over how we fix our broken immigration system. I strongly believe that first, before anything else, we must secure our borders. That means all of our nation’s borders: The southern border, the northern border and our coastal borders. Because if we do not, we will be back here again in five or ten years doing the same thing all over again.
“The Senate’s approach to border security is to throw more money at the problem. The effort I am helping to lead in the House demands a plan and strategy be put forward to secure the borders, before more resources are allocated, and also puts in place accountability and independent verification that the border is actually secure.
“Absent border security, immigration reform will be very difficult to achieve. With a secure border, I believe our nation can solve this challenge.”
Background: The Border Results Act of 2013 (H.R.1417) would require the Department of Homeland Security to establish verifiable metrics to measure the effectiveness of our interdiction efforts, and confirm that we have achieved a 90 percent level of operational control (i.e., thwarting the overwhelming majority of illegal human trafficking and significant decrease in drugs and weapons trafficking) on our borders. These metrics, developed in consultation with academic experts from the national laboratories and reviewed by the Government Accounting Office, would give us, for the first time, a reliable picture of what is happening at our borders and allow us to focus and tailor our resources where they are most needed and can be the most effective.
The Border Security Results Act would also include, unlike its Senate counterpart, specific timetables for implementation and mandatory progress reports to Congress.
Summary of H.R. 1417, the Border Security Results Act
• A National Plan: H.R. 1417 compels DHS to develop a national strategy and implementation plan to gain operational control of high traffic areas within two years and nine months – and the entire Southwest border within five years – setting a standard of 90% effectiveness for apprehending illegal border crossers.
• Situational Awareness: H.R. 1417 directs the use of advanced technology to achieve visibility of the entire border by incorporating existing taxpayer owned technology that has proven effective in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Metrics and Results: H.R. 1417 mandates the development of metrics to measure border security progress at and between the nation’s ports of entry to effectively allocate resources and manpower.
• Verification at Every Stage: In addition to DHS having to present the plan to the Congress, H.R. 1417 requires GAO to verify the viability of the strategy's implementation plan, metrics, and certification of operational control. Additionally, the metrics will be verified by a National Laboratory and a DHS Center of Excellence, which will serve as an additional layer of scrutiny and expertise.