Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Border Security Results Act of 2013 Introduced in House and Senate

Tuesday, Senator John Cornyn and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul held a conference call to explain a bill each are introducing as Congress struggles to work on immigration reform measures.

The Border Security Results Act of 2013 is not strategy, as both pointed out.  It simply calls on the Department of Homeland Security to provide a means of measuring border security and a plan to implement security measures.

For border security the bill:

·         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
The timeline put forth: 
·         Develop a strategy to secure the border within 120 days of bill passage
·         Implement its strategy 60 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.
SSenator Cornyn stressed the need for a 50% reduction in the wait time to pass through a port of entry for legitimate business needs.  He reminded listeners that Mexico is America's third largest trading partner and in order to increase productivity and job growth on the U.S. side, the personnel working ports of entry can both screen for security and speed the process for business needs on the border.
Big Bend National Park port of entry crossing has a kiosk now, unmanned, on the Texas side and no monitoring on the Mexico side.  So, they suggest that the three ways out of the park all have manned monitoring personnel.  
The bill comes requires 90% apprehension rate.  The bill asks Congress to fund goals after Homeland Security comes up a plan and an implementation process.  "Since they are the experts", Senator Cornyn said, the department should be the place for the plan to originate.
Both support more technology used on the border.  Unmanned drones and trained personnel to operate them are the key to good deployment.  Rep McCaul said, "I know they have reversed their course on furloughs." He went on to say that the numbers of apprehension claims being made by Secretary Napolitano are false exaggerations.  He referenced the release of detainees pre-sequester as a wrong-headed gimmick.  
Public safety is the first concern.  Senator Cornyn stressed that the U.S. has to work closely with counterparts in Mexico.  Both sides of the border have to be properly trained and the infrastructure has to be in place for security.    

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