U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) spoke Monday on the status of House Bill H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act.
The statement was released to preface the House Homeland Security Committee’s markup of the bill. Miller is vice chair of the committee and is co-sponsoring the legislation, which is designed to gain and maintain control of the United States’ land and sea borders.
“The fact is,” Miller said, “we do not have operational control of our borders – any of them. We also don’t have an effective method of assessing how we achieve operational control and can’t tell if our border security operations are succeeding and to what degree. For example, last year, we know that a half a million people were apprehended trying to cross the southern border, but we don’t know how many actually crossed over.”
Specifically, the Secure Our Borders First Act would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to achieve operational control of high traffic areas of the southwest border in two years – and the entire southwest border in five years – and would establish a commission to independently verify that the border is secure. The legislation enforces penalties on DHS political appointees if the administration does not meet the terms of the bill.
“Securing our borders is one of the enumerated responsibilities of the federal government outlined in the Constitution, and we are failing,” Miller said. “However, I am optimistic that, in the days and weeks ahead, we are going to demonstrate that we do have the political will to secure our border and protect our homeland.”