As the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, it is my duty to oversee the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ensure that America’s borders are secure.
Over the last several years, Congress has provided billions of dollars to secure the borders, but without an end goal in mind, much of the spending has been done in an ad hoc fashion. To secure America’s borders, a national strategy and reliable metrics to measure border security effectiveness are essential.
During the 113th Congress, I introduced H.R. 1417, the bipartisan Border Security Results Act, which requires DHS to develop a strategy to gain operational control of the borders and develop verifiable metrics to measure progress. Ten years after the creation of DHS, I believe that both are long overdue. H.R. 1417 requires the development of metrics to inform border security progress and directs DHS to develop a strategy and implementation plan to gain operational control of the border within two years, setting a standard of 90% effectiveness at apprehending illegal border crossers and interdicting illicit contraband. Achieving this standard must be based on a solid understanding of illegal border crossings and trafficking of contraband.
My bill furthermore requires the Secretary to gain situational awareness through the use of sophisticated technologies and other means, giving our border agents the ability to predict changes in illegal activity. Additionally, DHS must develop a series of verifiable metrics to gauge border security progress. Lastly, this bill includes a series of verification provisions by outside experts to ensure that Congress is getting an independent assessment of the state of border security.
Rather than continue the resources first approach, this bill’s emphasis on effectiveness and results will ensure DHS is on the path to gain operational control of the border.