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December 9, 2005
Border security is considered a central aspect of the United States' overall homeland security. Securing the border involves controlling the official ports of entry (POE) through which legitimate travelers and commerce enter the country, as well as monitoring and patrolling the nation's land and maritime borders to detect and interdict the entry of illegal persons and contraband. The Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the lead federal agency charged with securing our nation's borders at and between POE.
In the 109th Congress, there are a large number of bills currently pending that would address some of the immigration issues associated with border security by focusing on the movement of people into the country, both at POE and illegally across the U.S. international land border. This report will focus on the main legislative issues facing the 109th Congress relating to the movement of people across the border. It will not address interior enforcement issues or cargo security issues.
At POE, CBP officers screen travelers attempting to enter the country by air, land, or sea to ensure that unwanted or dangerous people do not enter the country. The main issues facing Congress at POE include expanding the biometric entry exit system currently being used to screen entrants; whether the resources currently fielded by the agency (including personnel, technology, and infrastructure) are adequate to the task at hand; and whether the "one face at the border" initiative, which combined the customs and immigration inspections functions, has been successful.
Between POE, United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents attempt to detect and prevent the illegal entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, unauthorized aliens, and contraband. A number of issues between POE that would be addressed by legislation are currently pending in the 109th Congress, including whether DHS has a viable border security strategy; whether the USBP has the adequate resources to achieve operational control of the border; the expansion of fencing along the border with Mexico; allowing the military to patrol or surveil the border; allowing the states or civilians to patrol the border; expanding the expedited removal program or requiring mandatory detention of aliens apprehended between POE; and removing Air and Marine Operations from CBP and making it a separate office within DHS.
The following bills are included in this report: H.R. 98, H.R. 193, H.R. 255, H.R. 418, H.R. 688, H.R. 780, H.R. 1196, H.R. 1320, H.R. 1502, H.R. 1805, H.R. 1817, H.R. 1912, H.R. 1986, H.R. 2092, H.R. 2330, H.R. 3622, H.R. 3693, H.R. 3704, H.R. 3938, H.R. 4009, H.R. 4083, H.R. 4099, H.R. 4238, H.R. 4240, H.R. 4283, H.R. 4312, H.R. 4313, H.R. 4412, H.R. 4437, S. 12, S. 1033, S. 1374, S. 1438, S. 1823, S. 1875, S. 1916, S. 2049, and S. 2061.
This report will be updated periodically as events warrant.
Contents Current Legislative Developments Introduction Border Security Between Ports of Entry Border Security Strategy Border Fencing and Other Barriers Military or Civilian Assistance for the Border Patrol U.S. Military at the Border Civilian Patrols Border Resources Manpower Surveillance Infrastructure Other Resources Expedited Removal Expansion of the Program Mandatory Detention Air and Marine Operations/CBP Air Organization National Capital Region (NCR) Airspace Miscellaneous Provisions Coordination with Tribal Governments Shadow Wolves Using Homeland Security Grants for Border Security Activities Injured Alien Data Collection Border Security Advisory Committee and Center of Excellence Border Security Threat Assessment and Exercise Border Security Coordination and Management Border Security at Ports of Entry Biometric Entry Exit Program US-VISIT Other Programs POE Resources Manpower Technology Infrastructure Miscellaneous Issues One Face at the Border CBP and ICE Organizational Division Canine Units Appendix A. Immigration Related Border Security Legislation Appendix B. Immigration Related Border Security Legislation by Issue Area
Current Legislative Developments
On May 11, 2005, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act (P.L. 109-13) was enacted with a provision that originated in H.R. 418 and had been appended to H.R. 1268. H.R. 418 was also passed in the House on February 10, 2005, and referred to the Senate on February 17, 2005. On December 6, 2005, H.R. 4312 was reported out of the Homeland Security Committee. On December 8, 2005, H.R. 4437 was marked up by the House Judiciary Committee.
Before September 11, 2001, border security fell piecemeal under the mandate of many diverse federal departments, including but not limited to the Department of Justice (the Immigration and Naturalization Service); the Department of the Treasury (the Customs Service); the Department of Agriculture (the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service); and the Department of Transportation (the Coast Guard). In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, policymakers have focused a great deal of attention on securing America's international borders. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296) consolidated most federal agencies operating along the U.S. borders within the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was charged with securing the nation against a potential terrorist attack. (1) Most of these agencies were located in the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security (2) (BTS), which was charged with securing the borders; territorial waters; terminals; waterways; and air, land, and sea transportation systems of the United States; and managing the nation's ports of entries. The FY2006 DHS Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-90) eliminated BTS and required the two of its component agencies, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to report directly to the Secretary's office. (3) The U.S. Coast Guard was established as, and remains, a standalone division within DHS.
The concept of border security is an intricate part of overall homeland security. Border security involves securing the many means by which people and things can enter the country. Operationally, this means controlling the official ports of entry (POE) through which legitimate travelers and commerce enter the country, and patrolling the nation's land and maritime borders to safeguard against and interdict illegal entries. Within DHS, CBP is the agency charged with securing the nation's international border at and between POE.
At POE, CBP Officers screen the goods and travelers that are attempting to enter the country to ensure that unwanted or dangerous people and things to do not enter the country. Between POE, Border Patrol Agents attempt to detect and prevent the illegal entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, unauthorized aliens, and contraband. Although the movement of goods into the country is clearly an important aspect of the overall security of the U.S. borders, this report will focus on the movement of people into the country (4) because that has been the main issue addressed by most of the border security legislation currently being considered in the 109th Congress. Cargo security issues are planned to be discussed in a forthcoming report.
This report is organized to reflect the main border security issues relating to the movement of people into the country, as indicated by the legislation currently pending in the 109th Congress. As such, it focuses on legislation with provisions affecting the movement of people into the country between POE, and at POE. Appendix A includes a table that tracks the status of the bills that are discussed in this report. Appendix B includes a table that groups the bills discussed by issue area.
Border Security Between Ports of Entry (5)
The United States Border Patrol (USBP) within CBP is charged with securing the U.S. international land border …