House Homeland Security Committee Passes Border Security for America Act with McSally Provisions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Homeland Security Committee today passed the Border Security for America Act, landmark legislation that will provide infrastructure, technology, and manpower, to gain and maintain full operational control and situational awareness of the border and ports of entry. U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, as Chairwoman of the Border and Maritime Subcommittee, successfully included provisions to conduct thorough threat assessments, equip and train front-line agents with technology, increase transparency and prevent corruption, thwart drug smuggling at ports of entry, and ensure CBP abides by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
“As one of only nine members of Congress who represent communities along our southern border, I have witnessed first-hand the security threats we face from transnational criminal organizations. Southern Arizonans want smart solutions to border security that make the best use of their tax dollars. That’s what this bill does,” said Representative McSally. “This multifaceted approach ensures we have trained and equipped agents and sector by sector solutions including: manned and unmanned aircraft, maritime assets, physical barriers, fixed and mobile towers, sensors, tunnel detection, and other surveillance and detection capabilities to increase situational awareness and operational control of the border. It also includes legislation that I have crafted based on direct feedback from constituents and law enforcement agents in Arizona. This bill will make our country and state safer and address long-standing concerns along our southwest border.”
“Congresswoman McSally’s role has been pivotal in working to secure our southwestern border,” said House Homeland Security Chairman McCaul. “As Chairwoman of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, she understands that in order to enhance our security, we must properly train and equip CBP officers and agents with the skills they need to be successful in the field. She is a true leader and I greatly value her contribution to the Committee and this landmark legislation.”
Click HERE or below to watch Rep. McSally’s statement on her amendment in committee
The following three bills authored by Rep. McSally were included as provisions in the Border Security for America Act:
- The Border Security Technology Accountability Act that passed in the House on January 31, 2017 to improve the management and accountability of new border technology projects and curb waste, fraud, and abuse and increase transparency at DHS. Specifically, it requires DHS to implement Acquisition Program Baselines before moving to the next phase of the acquisition cycle, and to submit a testing and evaluation plan and use independent verification for new border security technologies.
- The Southwest Border Security Threat Assessment Act which was introduced on July 26, 2017. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct a full assessment of the threats coming across the Southern Border. This bill passed in the House last Congress.
- Her legislation to address critical staffing shortages along the border by giving Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the discretionary ability to expedite their hiring process for well-qualified applicants who have already proven themselves trustworthy in the military and in law enforcement. This legislation was passed by the House on June 7, 2017.
The following two amendments offered by Rep. McSally were successfully included:
- Amendment to provide front-line agents with the technology and training they need to succeed in the field, add 550 Office of Professional Responsibility special agents to investigate corruption and misconduct within CBP, and call on CBP to conduct high-throughput non-intrusive inspection demonstration projects at three ports of entry.
- Amendment to clarify that the bill does not exempt CBP from abiding by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), building on her efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in the federal government.
The following border provisions were also included, which Rep. McSally has led efforts to support:
- Funds and expands the Border Security Capability Deployment Program
- Authorizes funding for Operation Stonegarden, the border security grant program, at $110 million
- Requires the U.S. Border Patrol to patrol as close to the border as possible
- Authorizes the following capability deployments for the Tucson sector:
- (A) Tower-based surveillance technology.
- (B) Increased flight hours for aerial detection, interdiction, and monitoring operations capability.
- (C) Deployable, lighter-than-air ground surveillance equipment.
- (D) Ultralight aircraft detection capabilities.
- (E) Advanced unattended surveillance sensors.
- (F) A rapid reaction capability supported by aviation assets.
- (G) Man-portable unmanned aerial vehicles.
- (H) Improved agent communications capabilities.