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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Media Highlights of Homeland Security Republicans’ Border Reinforcement Act

April 26, 2023

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Media Highlights of Homeland Security Republicans’ Border Reinforcement Act 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security introduced the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, which is cosponsored by every majority Member of the Committee and is scheduled for markup this morning. This legislation ensures U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with state and local law enforcement, have the necessary tools to secure our Southwest border and prevent any further hit to operational readiness at our Northern and maritime borders amid President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ unprecedented border crisis. For a factsheet in English on the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, click here. For a factsheet in Spanish on the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, click here.

Here is what the media is saying:

FOX NEWS: Homeland GOP unveiling bill that will serve as ‘forceful response’ to Biden’s border crisis, expert says
“A committee aide speaking to reporters ahead of the bill’s introduction said it is intended to fulfill House Republicans’ commitment to America to secure the country and protect the American people. The bill would resume border wall construction, which was mostly halted at the start of the Biden administration after a years-long construction effort under the Trump administration. The bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to use already appropriated and expired funds to resume construction. It will also increase Operation Stonegarden grants for law enforcement along the land and maritime borders and provide for more technology upgrades at the border — including two-way radios and license plate readers. The bill also seeks to deal with a struggle to retain Border Patrol agents, who have seen a drop in morale under a crushing crisis at the border, by granting retention bonuses for agents. […] Committee aides said the bill has been developed in close coordination with the Judiciary Committee, and they believe it has support across the Republican conference — with high confidence that it will pass the chamber. The committee has held a number of high-profile hearings related to the border, with witnesses that have included Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz — who said he disagreed with the move to end border wall construction and said that the agency does not have operational control of the border.”

THE DAILY SIGNAL: GOP Introduces Bill to Address ‘One of the Greatest Security Threats Facing the American People,’ Rep. Mark Green Says
“Because of the ongoing crisis at the southern border, which Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., calls “one of the greatest security threats facing the American people,” Green and his fellow GOP lawmakers on the Homeland Security Committee introduced the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023 on Monday.  The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security to resume construction of the border wall, bolster Customs and Border Protection personnel by hiring about 3,000 more agents, modernize and enhance Customs and Border Protection’s technology, create greater transparency by requiring the DHS to make all of its data known to Congress and the public (including known numbers of illegal immigrants who got away), create better retention of Border Patrol agents through bonuses, and provide more support to local law enforcement. […] This legislation demands transparency from DHS and ensures CBP and border states have the infrastructure, personnel, and technology needed to take back control of our sovereign borders from the cartels and accomplish their mission to protect our communities. Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee know this border crisis is one of the greatest security threats facing the American people. Now, it is critical that we deliver on our Commitment to America by passing the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023—there is far too much at stake to not get this right. “Border Patrol is desperately in need of more resources, particularly given the fact that the Biden administration … doesn’t have a deterrence policy,” Andrew Arthur, resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal.”

ROLL CALL: House Republican bill aims to restart border wall, improve tech
“According to a committee fact sheet, the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to restart construction of border barriers, using funds already set aside by Congress for that purpose in prior years. Congress appropriated some funds for border wall construction during the Trump administration, but President Joe Biden halted construction via executive order shortly after taking office. The bill would also ramp up hiring of Border Patrol agents, with a goal to have 22,000. Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Troy Miller told congressional appropriators last week that the agency currently has about 19,000 Border Patrol agents. The draft bill would prevent the agency from allowing migrants to schedule appointments at the border to make asylum claims via the CBP One app, which was recently expanded for that purpose. The bill would permit the app to be used “only for inspection of perishable cargo.” Other provisions aim to boost retention of Border Patrol agents and modernize surveillance technology.”

BREITBART: House committee Republicans introduce bill to restart Trump’s border wall
The proposed 68-page bill will be considered by the committee on Wednesday. If passed into law, the Border Reinforcement Act would enact several measures to make it more difficult for migrants and asylum seekers to gain entry into the United States. In releasing details of the proposal on Monday, committee chairman Sen. Mark Green, R-Tenn., said the “border crisis” is one of the greatest security threats facing the United States. The bill would call for construction to restart on Trump’s wall at the southern border, expanding it by at least 900 miles. In December, the Biden administration sued Arizona to stop construction on the wall. The administration had stopped funding for the project and stopped construction in 2021. It also will require that the Department of Homeland Security add 22,000 border patrol agents, and add technology at border ports to detect narcotics and contraband. Additional surveillance technology, including ground and aerial surveillance equipment, also is provided in the proposal. Republicans have been critical of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policy for what they have called a surge of illegal immigrants at the southern border. The administration has made it a priority to provide asylum to migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba, introducing an app that allows them to secure entry into the United States — the CBP One App. Under the Border Reinforcement Act, the app’s use would be restricted to the inspection of perishable cargo.”

THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Homeland Security Committee introduces bill to restart border wall
“Rep. Mark Green, chairman of the committee, said the bill will deliver “real border security solutions” at a time when they are desperately needed. […] He said the bill was written based on the ideas lawmakers gleaned from Border Patrol agents and, in particular, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, who testified to the committee this year. […] Mr. Green’s bill takes particular aim at the Department of Homeland Security, requiring it to publicize key stats about the border, including the estimated number of “gotaways” who evade detection. Limiting the use of the CBP One app is also a jab at the department. The app was designed as a way for those with border business to schedule appointments. But it has recently become the backbone of Mr. Biden’s new “parole” program, which is allowing tens of thousands of migrants a month to come to legal border crossings and gain entry, even though they have no recourse in the law for entry. Mr. Green’s bill also would funnel resources to local authorities who are trying to plug the gaps they say were left by Mr. Biden’s more lenient policies.”

DAILY CALLER: ‘Time To Put The Cartels In Their Place’: GOP Reps Introduce Bill To Hire More Border Agents, Finish The Wall
“The bill, known as the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, calls for resumption of border wall construction, hiring 22,000 Border Patrol agents, supporting local law enforcement, demanding DHS transparency and limiting use of the CBP One App.  The bill calls for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to ‘to immediately resume construction of the border wall’ and ‘upgrad[e] existing [CBP] technology to ensure CBP personnel are equipped with the necessary resources to remain safe in the field.’ […] U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 5.7 million encounters at the southwest border since October 2020 and a 25% increase in drug seizures from February to March 2023. […] In March, Green questioned Raul Ortiz, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, about drug cartel’s control of certain parts of the southwest border during a hearing held on location in Texas. ‘I will tell you that in certain areas, the cartels control an awful lot of the southern border south of the United States,’ said Ortiz.”

THE HILL: House GOP unveils border security bill
“The Border Reinforcement Act is one of the first major pieces of legislation from the panel, rolled out days after another Republican-led effort to limit asylum. The bill requires resuming construction of the border wall for at least 900 miles — a Trump-era goal that President Biden largely nixed the funding for. It also takes aim at a new Biden administration program that allows those from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba to apply to come to the U.S. through an app so long as they can secure a U.S.-based sponsor. […] “We know physical infrastructure works. It’s crucial to meeting the challenges of a dynamic border threat environment and helping frontline law enforcement succeed,” Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), the chair of the committee, wrote in an op-ed on the bill. […] Other portions of the bill would also impact those seeking to immigrate to the U.S., regardless of their method of arrival. The bill would block any funding for nongovernmental organizations that offer assistance to noncitizens, regardless of whether they arrive “at or between ports of entry.” […] Other portions of the bill are designed to provide greater resources for agents at the border. The legislation requires “an active duty presence of not fewer than 22,000 full-time equivalent Border Patrol agents,” to patrol the border, dictating that they cannot perform any processing functions. It also sets aside $100 million for CBP to use for retention bonuses for any border patrol officers who remain with the agency beyond the five-year mark.”

THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Republicans to debut long-awaited border bill in immigration overhaul
“Three committee aides with firsthand knowledge of the bill shared that the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023 is meant to complement the House Judiciary Committee’s recently passed Border Security and Enforcement Act, not to compete with it. […] The homeland security bill would require previously funded wall projects to be completed. The number of Border Patrol agents on payroll would also see a boost. CBP’s acting commissioner, Troy Miller, testified in a House hearing last week that the Border Patrol had 19,000 agents at the moment and was authorized by Congress to have as many as 19,855 agents this year. Republicans would fund the agency with up to 22,000 agents and require that level be hit by the end of September 2024. The White House budget for next year would allow an additional 350 agents to be hired in addition to the 19,000 agents on staff. Miller voiced in the hearing last week that they are bracing for the loss of 3,700 agents due to retirements in 2025 and 2026, which would be positions for hire in addition to the 3,000 additional hires. In an effort to retain employees, agents would receive a financial bonus after an unspecified number of years on staff. CBP would have to disclose monthly data about the number of noncitizens who attempted to enter the U.S. illegally by the seventh day of the following month. At present, data are released two weeks to one month after the month’s end. CBP would have to develop a plan for how best to add more technology into its day-to-day operations. Congress would then fund those projects.”

THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: House Republicans debut long-awaited bill to end border crisis
“On Monday, House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) and GOP committee members introduced the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023, a proposal for which Republicans spent two years hammering out the details, particularly in the last three months of meetings with federal law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations during trips to the U.S.-Mexico border and hearings in Washington. […] The homeland security proposal was borne out of the American Security Task Force’s work. Former New York GOP Rep. John Katko, then the ranking member of homeland security, convened the task force in 2021 to begin working on border policy reforms that the House GOP could agree on and therefore be ready to move on if the party won back the majority in November 2022. Last July, the task force, comprising primarily border lawmakers, announced a framework for a bill they believed could win full party support. […] The homeland security bill largely follows that proposal and would reinstate mandates for physical barriers, infrastructure, and technology on the 2,000-mile southern border. Although the Trump administration funded 800 miles of border wall projects, it completed just over 450 miles.”

EPOCH TIMES: House GOP Introduces Bill to Restart Border Wall Construction, Bolster Security
“The bill, called the Border Reinforcement Act, would require President Joe Biden’s administration to resume construction on a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Upon taking office in January 2021, Biden halted construction on the barrier, which the federal government has already paid for. Since Biden ended construction on the project, the materials have been lying along the border unused. The decision to halt construction after purchasing the materials, according to some estimates, has cost the United States at least $72 million. The legislation also would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide monthly reports on illegal encounters. Republicans accuse DHS of trying to hide such data from the American people through late-night document dumps and other means. Currently, the United States is dealing with an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants along the southern border. Republicans have made clear that they blame Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for the situation at the border, which they dub the “Biden border crisis.” […] To help further combat illegal immigration, the bill would increase funding for state and local law enforcement involved in securing their states from illegal immigrants. […] Because House Republicans are largely of a mind on the issue, it is likely that the legislation will breeze relatively easily through the House. It could also win the support of some moderate Democrats, like Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who recently decried Biden’s proposed 2024 budget for not doing enough to combat illegal immigration.” 

BLOOMBERG: House Republicans Push to Resume Border Wall Construction
“The homeland panel’s bill, which the committee plans to vote on this week, would require spending for border infrastructure and technology, restrict government funding for nonprofits, and boost the Border Patrol to 22,000 agents. Border Patrol leaders have long suggested 22,000 as the optimal size for the agency, which now has about 19,000 people in the role. […] The bill would rely on previously appropriated and unexpired funds for the work. Democrats are also likely to oppose a measure that would block the Department of Homeland Security’s use of an app called CBP One to allow would-be border-crossers to schedule appointments to seek entry to the US. […] Other parts of the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to release monthly data on “gotaways” at the border, provide a retention bonus to some Border Patrol agents, and increase support to local law enforcement through an existing grant program called Operation Stonegarden. […] The Homeland Security Committee consulted with GOP leadership and the Judiciary Committee in drafting the new bill. Republicans on the panel also traveled to the border in February and March. A committee aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss the bill before its release, said the panel is confident the House will pass the bill.”

THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: House Homeland Security Committee pushes forward with markup of its border security bill
“On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a markup to consider the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023. It would require the Department of Homeland Security to resume construction of the border wall introduced by the Trump administration. The bill was introduced by Rep. Mark E. Green (R-TN), the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, and it is one part of the GOP’s plan to combat U.S.-Mexico border security concerns. The legislation would add more agents to the field and ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the technology and resources needed to perform their duties. […] The bill includes a proposal from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). It calls for a reimbursement program, requiring the Government Office of Accountability to research what the states have paid to secure their borders. The bill markup is set for 10 a.m. ET.”