Does DHS Need to Study Security Issues on the U.S. - Canada Border? (H.R. 455)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is H.R. 455?
(Updated March 27, 2017)
This bill would require the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to compile a Northern Border Threat Analysis and submit it to relevant congressional committees. The threat analysis would seek to assess needed security improvements and the threat of terrorist or criminal activity.Specifically, current and potential threats for terrorism to be carried out by individuals and groups who would enter the U.S. through the northern border or exploit vulnerabilities would be examined. The threat analysis would also look at needed improvements at ports of entry along the northern border to prevent such activities — including the maritime borders of the Great Lakes.
The threat analysis would identify any vulnerabilities in the law or policies that hinder cooperation between state and local law enforcement to secure the border and counteract the threat of terrorism. It would examine the following challenges affecting border security:
The role of state, tribal, and local law enforcement in general border security activities;
The need for cooperation between federal, state, tribal, local, and Canadian law enforcement on issues of border security;
The geographic challenges of the northern border.
To the greatest extent possible, DHS would make this threat analysis unclassified, although it would be allowed to submit a portion of it in a classified manner if it’s appropriate.
Argument in favor
Identifying weaknesses in security along the northern border will help prevent criminals and terrorists from exploiting those vulnerabilities. If the government doesn’t know exactly what’s wrong, how can it be fixed?
While it may make sense to assess the status of border security along the northern border, there is nothing in this legislation that would require the Dept. of Homeland Security to take action and fix those problem.
Law enforcement entities at the federal, state, local, and tribal level; Canadian law enforcement, the Dept. of Homeland Security, and relevant congressional committees.
Cost of H.R. 455
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million in 2016.
In-Depth: This bill's lead sponsor, Rep. John Katko (R-NY), cited the need for the federal government to understand threats on the northern border before formulating solutions:
"As a former federal prosecutor on both the northern border in New York and the southern border in El Paso, Texas, I've seen first-hand the issues our nation faces countering drug trafficking and potential terrorist acts. While great attention is justifiably given to the challenges of securing our southern border, ensuring the safety of our vast northern border is critical to our nation's security."This legislation currently has the support of five bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including three Republicans and two Democrats.
Media:Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user jkbrooks85)
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