Fitzpatrick, Homeland Security Committee Pass Border Security Bill

Legislation targets Visa overstays, supports law enforcement, increases border technology

October 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), a former FBI supervisory special agent and current member of the bipartisan Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States, joined the Homeland Security Committee Wednesday in passing the Border Security for America Act [H.R. 3548].

“As our nation faces new and evolving threats, securing operational control of our border is a national security emergency. The Border Security for America Act takes a strong, smart, multi-layered approach to security at all points of entry into the United States,” said Fitzpatrick.  “By bolstering our Coast Guard and adding Border Patrol and CBP Officers, this bill finally gives law enforcement on the front line the resources they need to stem the tide of drug and human trafficking and to keep America safe.”

This legislation calls for the use of state-of-the-art technologies as well as physical barriers where necessary, coupled with a surge in law enforcement personnel. This bill targets illegal gang infiltration, as well as drug and human trafficking at our ports of entry, and identifies visa overstays through full deployment of the Biometric Entry-Exit System. It also supports local law enforcement through increases in resources to aggressively fight crime on our nation’s borders.

“Securing our borders is first and foremost a national security issue. Illegal immigrants, smugglers, and drug cartels continue to infiltrate our country so we must quickly secure the homeland through infrastructure, technology, and personnel,” said House Homeland Security Chairman McCaul. “We are talking about a historic, multi-layered defense system that makes it nearly impossible for bad actors to slip through the cracks.”

Key Points of the bill:

  • Secures Ports of Entry – Provides $5 billion to improve, modernize, and enhance our ports of entry. It targets illegal immigration and drug trafficking at our ports while increasing lawful trade and travel.
  • Targets Visa Overstays – Identifies visa overstays through full deployment of the Biometric Entry-Exit System at all ports of entry.
  • Puts More Boots on the Ground – Adds 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers and streamlines the way that veterans and existing law enforcement officers can be hired.
  • Use of the National Guard – Authorizes use of the National Guard along the southern border to help with aviation and intelligence support and allows for $35 million in reimbursement for states, like Texas, that have called out the National Guard to help secure the border.
  • Provides for a Physical and Technological Barriers – Provides $10 billion for the deployment and construction of tactical infrastructure and technology to achieve full operational control and situational awareness. This deployment includes wall, fencing, technology, air assets, and other barriers.
  • Supports Local Law Enforcement – Doubles the Stonegarden grant program at $110 million for state and local law enforcement to aggressively fight drug trafficking, smuggling, and other crimes on the southern border.