Chairman McCaul’s BITMAP Bill Advances Through Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Homeland Security Committee passed H.R. 6439, the Biometric Identification Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2018 by a show of bipartisan support with a vote of 20-7. The legislation introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) will fully authorize BITMAP and help better identify national security threats.

BITMAP is a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI)-led program established in 2011 under then-President Obama, in which partner-country law enforcement officers collect and share biometric and biographic data on special interest individuals to identify potential threat actors who utilize illicit pathways to enter the United States. In the last few years, BITMAP has identified several hundred known or suspected terrorists in addition to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers, murderers, child predators, and dangerous gangs like MS-13.

Chairman McCaul: “As terror threats evolve over time, our adversaries become more agile, desperate to avoid detection and sneak into our country. One of the ways they try to come here is through the exploitation of illicit pathways in South and Central America. To combat this threat, we must leverage our international partnerships and use the most advanced technology to our advantage. ICE’s BITMAP program shares valuable data from law enforcement officers in participating countries with our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“Simply put, this bill will help stop dangerous individuals who want to bring harm to the American people from entering the country. I look forward to this bill advancing to the House floor for a vote and continuing the Committee’s efforts to better secure the homeland.”

Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA): “The BITMAP program has proven extremely useful in increasing our capacity for information sharing and developing comprehensive strategies with our international partners to intercept known or suspected terrorists and criminals before they reach our borders. It is keeping Americans safer. This is another way Members of the Committee are working together to thwart those who wish to do us all harm.”

NOTE: Additional information on today’s Committee markup can be found here.

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