Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Miller introduces bill to beef up border security

by Candice Miller on April 26, 2011

by Todd Spangler. Detroit Free Press.

WASHINGTON — A Michigan congresswoman introduced legislation Thursday that she says would force the federal government to increase security on the nation’s northern and southern borders.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, proposed a bill that would force the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to come up with a plan for “gaining operational control” of both borders in five years.

The legislation cites a recent Government Accountability Office report that found the

federal government has less than half of the southern border and less than 2% of the vast northern border under direct operational control. That measurement, though, does not necessarily include patrolling by some federal agencies, such as the Coast Guard and by local and state enforcement bureaus.

“The American people rightly expect and demand that the federal government take the responsibility to secure our borders seriously,” said Miller, chairwoman of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee. “This means preventing unlawful entries, illicit drugs and other contraband from entering our nation.”

She said that because of the wide scope of the problem posed by the smuggling of drugs and contraband, and by illegal immigrants coming across both borders, border patrols are often understaffed.

Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency does not comment on pending legislation. But he noted that the department has “engaged in an unprecedented effort to bring focus and intensity to border security by deploying historic numbers of personnel, manpower and infrastructure.”

Border patrol apprehensions are down, he said, while there has been an increase in the seizure of illegal currency, drugs and weapons along the southern border.

Contact TODD SPANGLER: 202-906-8203 or

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