Bill Ensures Security is Key to CBP Preclearance
(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security's Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, introduced the "Putting Security First in Preclearance Act" (H.R. 3575). This bill would require a security assessment before the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can expand customs preclearance operations to new countries and airports such as Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It would also preclude a foreign government or person from paying for preclearance operations, as is planned for Abu Dhabi currently. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security made an agreement with the government in Abu Dhabi to expand preclearance operations there. The legislation is supported by Airlines for America, which represents U.S. carriers, and the Air Line Pilots Association International.
Ranking Member Jackson Lee released the following statement introducing the bill:
"As a senior member of the Homeland and Judiciary Committees, I strongly support DHS's efforts to push America's borders outward, but it must be done in an appropriate manner. Thus far, DHS has come up short in its attempt to make the case to Congress about why preclearance in Abu Dhabi makes sense from a security perspective. My bill would require that prior to expanding preclearance operations, DHS conduct a study and report to Congress on how a new preclearance location would enhance security, the costs involved, and any resulting impact on DHS staffing levels for U.S. airports. My bill would also prevent foreign governments from paying for our security operations. Only if these essential criteria are met can we ensure that America's border security programs, and our limited resources, are being used in the most effective and efficient manner."
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the legislation:
"While I support border security efforts – which include performing screening operations overseas – in this instance the Department has not presented a case to Congress for expanding preclearance on security grounds. It also has not satisfied congressional concerns regarding having a foreign government pay CBP Officers' salaries. If expanding preclearance fits into CBP's risk-based screening strategy, the Department should make the case to Congress and ask for the resources to fund it."
The legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Ron Barber (D-AZ), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ).
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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978
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