Is There a Need for a Review of Security on the Border With Canada? (S. 1808)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is S. 1808?
(Updated August 10, 2018)
This bill was enacted on December 14, 2016
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 S. 1808
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million in 2016.
In-Depth: The lead sponsor of this legislation, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), believes that concerns about security
along the southern border shouldn’t detract from efforts to monitor the
northern border. She cited “difficulties with recruiting officials to
work remote areas of the border” and increasing crime as challenges that
need to be addressed.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) believes that a “full understanding of the northern border’s needs, strengths, and vulnerabilities” is needed to to develop a successful strategy for border security.This bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and has bipartisan support from three Republican cosponsors.
Of Note: According to Sen. Heitkamp’s press release, there are 120 border crossings between the 5,500 mile long border between the U.S. and Canada, 1,500 miles of which are on the Alaskan border.
- Sponsoring Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Press Release
- Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Press Release
- Sen. Heitkamp Summary
- CBO Cost Estimate
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