In a statement released yesterday by the press office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS Secretary Jeh C. Johnson called out the Congress for proposing a border bill that he claims will actually undermine border patrol capacity to adapt to emerging threats.
Secretary Johnson further claimed that the border bill “is extreme to the point of being unworkable; if enacted, it would actually leave the border less secure.”
With Representative McCaul touring San Diego today, it is important that he understand that San Diego residents will not support legislation that is out-of-touch with reality and could harm the livelihood of millions of border residents.
And the border patrol doesn’t support this out-of-touch legislation either.
We are all hurt by legislation that doesn’t allow DHS to be effective. What we all need is good legislation to restore accountability, to help DHS do it’s job better by supporting the communities it serves.
“Representative McCaul’s border militarization bill will only exacerbate systemic abuses because it fails to address border agent misconduct, and it will place in danger civil rights with the expansion of drone surveillance,” stated Pedro Rios, Director of American Friends Service Committee.
Here, the full statement by DHS:
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JEH C. JOHNSON CONCERNING H.R. 399, THE SECURE OUR BORDER FIRST ACT OF 2015
The “Secure Our Border First Act of 2015” voted out of the House Homeland Security Committee last night is not a serious effort at legislating border security – and its authors know it. The bill is extreme to the point of being unworkable; if enacted, it would actually leave the border less secure. The bill sets mandatory and highly prescriptive standards that the Border Patrol itself regards as impossible to achieve, undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s capacity to adapt to emerging threats, and politicizes tactical decisions.
In the meantime, the bill does nothing to provide what the Department of Homeland Security really needs from Congress – appropriated funding to pay for vital homeland security initiatives. That includes both the additional resources we put on the border last year, and the additional technology, equipment and other resources we need from Congress to further secure the border. As long as the Department of Homeland Security continues to function on a continuing resolution, as it is now, we are limited in our ability to deploy these critical tools, along with other resources vital to homeland security.
Unfortunately, H.R. 399 is unworkable, plain and simple. I again encourage Congress to support the homeland security professionals at this Department with the resources they need, without provisions that would micromanage their work or restrict their flexibility in dealing with the nation’s critical homeland security efforts.