National Security

House GOP unveils border security bill

House Homeland Security Committee Republicans on Monday unveiled border legislation that would require completing the border wall envisioned by former President Trump and would stymy a Biden administration effort to provide legal pathways to the U.S.

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.

Until recently, the four countries were responsible for some of the highest levels of migration at the border, and the Biden administration has touted the program as one of the ways to alleviate pressure at the border by giving those most likely to seek asylum a way to secure temporary entrance legally.

The program was criticized by immigration advocates because it otherwise blocks citizens of those countries from seeking asylum, but the GOP bill would block its use entirely, stating that the CBP One App, the platform for applying through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, would only be able to be used for commercial purposes.

“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.

“Our goal is to give agents the tools they need to secure our border, not technological Band-Aids that incentivize more illegal immigration, such as the CBP One app.”

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.”

The legislation also pushes for greater detention of migrants, writing that CBP agents may not use their Air and Marine Operations for any migrants not expected to be detained.

The bill also requires the Department of Homeland Security to offer monthly releases on data about “known gotaways.”

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.

Tags border security immigration Joe Biden Mark Green Mark Green

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