Collins Cosponsors Border Security for America Act
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) cosponsored legislation that enhances law enforcement at our borders and provides resources to improve security at ports of entry. The Border Security for America Act authorizes $5 billion over four years to carry out staffing increases and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the bill directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement biometric exit-entry systems at all points of entry, exempting U.S. and Canadian citizens from screening.
“Our northern border is an economic asset to Western New York and we need to make sure we move people and products across safely and effectively,” said Collins. “I am fully supportive of increased national security measures, like those included in this bill, but worked with my colleagues to make sure we avoid disruptions to both American and Canadian citizens that might result from new protocols.”
In February, Collins corresponded with former DHS Secretary John Kelly and CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan expressing a deep concern regarding the department’s proposed expedited implementation of the biometric exit-entry system. Collins cited impacts to Western New York related to trade and tourism and pointed out the differences between the northern and southern borders when it comes to security. As a result, DHS exempted American and Canadian citizens from their initiative.
Now, this new House legislation proposed by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (TX-10) carries the same exemption while providing expanded resources for border security.
“Our northern and southern borders face different needs when it comes to security,” Collins said. “Chairman McCaul took the needs of Western New York into careful consideration when drafting this language and I thank him for his efforts.”
The Border Security for America Act:
- Authorizes a Border Wall — Requires the deployment and construction of tactical infrastructure and technology to achieve full operational control and situational awareness. This deployment includes wall, fencing, technology, and other barriers.
- Secure and Fast Ports of Entry — Authorizes necessary resource investments to improve and enhance our ports of entry. Targets illegal immigration and drug trafficking at our ports of entry, while increasing lawful trade and travel.
- More Boots on the Ground — Adds 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 5,000 CBP Officers and streamlines the way that veterans and existing local law enforcement officers can be hired.
- More Air and Marine Flight Hours – Increases the number of annual flight hours of CBP’s Air and Marine Operations and prioritizes requests for support from the Chief of the Border Patrol to secure the border.
- Forward Operating Bases – Directs DHS to upgrade existing forward operating bases to a minimum standard.
- Use of the National Guard – Authorizes use of the National Guard along the Southern Border to help with aviation and intelligence support and allows the reimbursement for states that call out the National Guard to help secure the border.
- Targets Visa Overstays — Identify visa overstays through full deployment of the Biometric Entry-Exit System at all ports of entry while exempting American and Canadian citizens
- Border Patrol Access to Federal Lands — Prohibits Federal agencies from impeding, prohibiting, or restricting CBP activities on federal land located within 100 miles of the Southern Border to execute search and rescue operations, and to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States.
- Support Local Law Enforcement — Authorizes 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.
To read the text of H.R. 3548, Border Security for America Act, click here.