After more than 5 million illegal alien encounters along the southern border since President Joe Biden took office, “it is clear this administration does not have operational control,” the head of the House Homeland Security Committee says.
Because of the ongoing crisis at the southern border, which Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., calls “one of the greatest security threats facing the American people,” Green and his fellow GOP lawmakers on the Homeland Security Committee introduced the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023 on Monday.
The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security to resume construction of the border wall, bolster Customs and Border Protection personnel by hiring about 3,000 more agents, modernize and enhance Customs and Border Protection’s technology, create greater transparency by requiring the DHS to make all of its data known to Congress and the public (including known numbers of illegal immigrants who got away), create better retention of Border Patrol agents through bonuses, and provide more support to local law enforcement.
The bill would also restore use of the CBP One app to its original intent, which was for employers to confirm employees had legal status to work in America. It would prevent the Biden administration from using the app for other purposes, such as processing illegal immigrants into the country.
The bill was crafted with “the insight of those who pay the cost of this crisis every day: frontline Border Patrol agents, their families, local business owners, state and local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers,” Green said in a statement on the 68-page bill, adding that the bill’s goal is to protect the American people:
This legislation demands transparency from DHS and ensures CBP and border states have the infrastructure, personnel, and technology needed to take back control of our sovereign borders from the cartels and accomplish their mission to protect our communities. Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee know this border crisis is one of the greatest security threats facing the American people. Now, it is critical that we deliver on our Commitment to America by passing the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023—there is far too much at stake to not get this right.
“Border Patrol is desperately in need of more resources, particularly given the fact that the Biden administration … doesn’t have a deterrence policy,” Andrew Arthur, resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal.
Because there is “really no legal impediment, or practical impediment, to those individuals entering the United States illegally,” Arthur says there is a need for the bill that the Homeland Security Committee has introduced “to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and … provide them with more tools to do their jobs.”
Fox News reports that the bill was developed in coordination with the Judiciary Committee. The introduction of the bill comes less than a week after the House Judiciary Committee passed the separate Border Security and Enforcement Act in a vote of 23 to 15.
The Judiciary Committee bill complements the Homeland Security Committee bill by focusing on restoring immigration policies put in place under the Trump administration and reforming the asylum process to deter the many illegitimate claims that clog up the system each year. The two bills are a part of Republicans’ comprehensive plan to secure the southern border and end the ongoing border crisis.
Since fiscal year 2023 began Oct. 1, Customs and Border Protection has encountered more than 1.2 million illegal aliens at the southern border. CBP has also seized 13,800 pounds of the drug fentanyl at the southern border since the start of the fiscal year.
The Homeland Security Committee will hold a markup hearing of the new border security bill Wednesday where proposed amendments will be heard and voted upon.
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