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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: March 5, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S3165-S3196]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr05mr03-150]                         

[ ... ]

By Mr. DOMENICI (for himself, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Kyl, Mrs. Feinstein, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Burns, Mrs. Murray, Mr. McCain, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Coleman, and Mr. Bingaman): S. 539. A bill to authorize appropriations for border and transportation security personnel and technology, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a bill of critical importance to our Nation's economic well-being and the security of our borders: the Border Infrastructure and Technology Modernization Act.

[ ... ]

STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

Finally, equipment and technology alone will not solve the trade and security problems on our borders. The border agencies of the Department of Homeland Security need sufficient personnel levels, and training to ensure the implementation and use of modern technology. I am pleased that the administration has taken the first step to meet this objective by announcing that they will add 1,700 new inspectors to the Bureau of Customs and Border Security of the Department of Homeland Security. The Border Infrastructure and Technology Modernization Act increases the number of inspectors and support staff in this bureau by an additional 200 each year for 5 years. This bill also adds 100 more special agents and support staff each year for 5 years to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. I am pleased to introduced this bill today to devote greater resources to maximizing the economic possibilities of the trade flowing across our borders, while addressing the security vulnerabilities on our land borders. I am convinced that these goals are not mutually exclusive, but instead must be realized in concert. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the bill be printed in the Record. There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 539 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Border Infrastructure and Technology Modernization Act''. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Commissioner.--The term ``Commissioner'' means the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security. (2) Maquiladora.--The term ``maquiladora'' means an entity located in Mexico that assembles and produces goods from imported parts for export to the United States. (3) Northern border.--The term ``northern border'' means the international border between the United States and Canada. (4) Southern border.--The term ``southern border'' means the international border between the United States and Mexico. (5) Under secretary.--The term ``Under Secretary'' means the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security of the Department of Homeland Security. SEC. 3. HIRING AND TRAINING OF BORDER AND TRANSPORTATION SECURITY PERSONNEL. (a) Inspectors and Agents.-- (1) Increase in inspectors and agents.--During each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008, the Under Secretary shall-- (A) increase the number of full-time agents and associated support staff in the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security by the equivalent of at least 100 more than the number of such employees in the Bureau as of the end of the preceding fiscal year; and (B) increase the number of full-time inspectors and associated support staff in the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection by the equivalent of at least 200 more than the number of such employees in the Bureau as of the end of the preceding fiscal year. (2) Waiver of fte limitation.--The Under Secretary is authorized to waive any limitation on the number of full-time equivalent personnel assigned to the Department of Homeland Security to fulfill the requirements of paragraph (1). (b) Training.--The Under Secretary shall provide appropriate training for agents, inspectors, and associated support staff on an ongoing basis to utilize new technologies and to ensure that the proficiency levels of such personnel are acceptable to protect the borders of the United States. SEC. 4. PORT OF ENTRY INFRASTRUCTURE ASSESSMENT STUDY. (a) Requirement To Update.--Not later than January 31 of each year, the Administrator of General Services shall update the Port of Entry Infrastructure Assessment Study prepared by the United States Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the General Services Administration in accordance with the matter relating to the ports of entry infrastructure assessment that is set out in the joint explanatory statement in the conference report accompanying H.R. 2490 of the 106th Congress, 1st session (House of Representatives Rep. No. 106-319, on page 67) and submit such updated study to Congress. (b) Consultation.--In preparing the updated studies required in subsection (a), the Administrator of General Services shall consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Under Secretary, and the Commissioner. (c) Content.--Each updated study required in subsection (a) shall-- (1) identify port of entry infrastructure and technology improvement projects that would enhance border security and facilitate the flow of legitimate commerce if implemented; (2) include the projects identified in the National Land Border Security Plan required by section 5; and (3) prioritize the projects described in paragraphs (1) and (2) based on the ability of a project to-- (A) fulfill immediate security requirements; and (B) facilitate trade across the borders of the United States. (d) Project Implementation.--The Commissioner shall implement the infrastructure and technology improvement projects described in subsection (c) in the order of priority assigned to each project under paragraph (3) of such subsection. (e) Divergence From Priorities.--The Commissioner may diverge from the priority order if the Commissioner determines that significantly changed circumstances, such as immediate security needs or changes in infrastructure in Mexico or Canada, compellingly alter the need for a project in the United States. SEC. 5. NATIONAL LAND BORDER SECURITY PLAN. (a) Requirement for Plan.--Not later than January 31 of each year, the Under Secretary shall prepare a National Land Border [[Page S3193]] Security Plan and submit such plan to Congress. (b) Consultation.--In preparing the plan required in subsection (a), the Under Secretary shall consult with the Under Secretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection and the Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and private entities that are involved in international trade across the northern border or the southern border. (c) Vulnerability Assessment.-- (1) In general.--The plan required in subsection (a) shall include a vulnerability assessment of each port of entry located on the northern border or the southern border. (2) Port security coordinators.--The Under Secretary may establish 1 or more port security coordinators at each port of entry located on the northern border or the southern border-- (A) to assist in conducting a vulnerability assessment at such port; and (B) to provide other assistance with the preparation of the plan required in subsection (a). SEC. 6. EXPANSION OF COMMERCE SECURITY PROGRAMS. (a) Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism.-- (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner, in consultation with the Under Secretary, shall develop a plan to expand the size and scope (including personnel needs) of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism programs along the northern border and southern border, including-- (A) the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition; (B) the Carrier Initiative Program; (C) the Americas Counter Smuggling Initiative; (D) the Container Security Initiative; (E) the Free and Secure Trade Initiative; and (F) other Industry Partnership Programs administered by the Commissioner. (2) Southern border demonstration program.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner shall establish a demonstration program along the southern border for the purpose of implementing at least one Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program along that border. The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program selected for the demonstration program shall have been successfully implemented along the northern border as of the date of enactment of this Act. (b) Maquiladora Demonstration Program.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commissioner shall establish a demonstration program to develop a cooperative trade security system to improve supply chain security. SEC. 7. PORT OF ENTRY TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM. (a) Establishment.--The Under Secretary shall carry out a technology demonstration program to test and evaluate new port of entry technologies, refine port of entry technologies and operational concepts, and train personnel under realistic conditions. (b) Technology and Facilities.-- (1) Technology tested.--Under the demonstration program, the Under Secretary shall test technologies that enhance port of entry operations, including those related to inspections, communications, port tracking, identification of persons and cargo, sensory devices, personal detection, decision support, and the detection and identification of weapons of mass destruction. (2) Facilities developed.--At a demonstration site selected pursuant to subsection (c)(2), the Under Secretary shall develop facilities to provide appropriate training to law enforcement personnel who have responsibility for border security, including cross-training among agencies, advanced law enforcement training, and equipment orientation. (c) Demonstration Sites.-- (1) Number.--The Under Secretary shall carry out the demonstration program at not less than 3 sites and not more than 5 sites. (2) Selection criteria.--To ensure that at least 1 of the facilities selected as a port of entry demonstration site for the demonstration program has the most up-to-date design, contains sufficient space to conduct the demonstration program, has a traffic volume low enough to easily incorporate new technologies without interrupting normal processing activity, and can efficiently carry out demonstration and port of entry operations, at least 1 port of entry selected as a demonstration site shall-- (A) have been established not more than 15 years before the date of enactment of this Act; (B) consist of not less than 65 acres, with the possibility of expansion onto not less than 25 adjacent acres; and (C) have serviced an average of not more than 50,000 vehicles per month in the 12 full months preceding the date of enactment of this Act. (d) Relationship With Other Agencies.--The Under Secretary shall permit personnel from an appropriate Federal or State agency to utilize a demonstration site described in subsection (c) to test technologies that enhance port of entry operations, including those related to inspections, communications, port tracking, identification of persons and cargo, sensory devices, personal detection, decision support, and the detection and identification of weapons of mass destruction. (e) Report.-- (1) Requirement.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Under Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the activities carried out at each demonstration site under the technology demonstration program established under this section. (2) Content.--The report shall include an assessment by the Under Secretary of the feasibility of incorporating any demonstrated technology for use throughout the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. (a) In General.--In addition to any funds otherwise available, there are authorized to be appropriated-- (1) to carry out the provisions of section 3, such sums as may be necessary for the fiscal years 2004 through 2008; (2) to carry out the provisions of section 4-- (A) to carry out subsection (a) of such section, such sums as may be necessary for the fiscal years 2004 through 2008; and (B) to carry out subsection (d) of such section-- (i) $100,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2008; and (ii) such sums as may be necessary in any succeeding fiscal year; (3) to carry out the provisions of section 6-- (A) to carry out subsection (a) of such section-- (i) $30,000,000 for fiscal year 2004, of which $5,000,000 shall be made available to fund the demonstration project established in paragraph (2) of such subsection; and (ii) such sums as may be necessary for the fiscal years 2005 through 2008; and (B) to carry out subsection (b) of such section-- (i) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2004; and (ii) such sums as may be necessary for the fiscal years 2005 through 2008; and (4) to carry out the provisions of section 7, provided that not more than $10,000,000 may be expended for technology demonstration program activities at any 1 port of entry demonstration site in any fiscal year-- (A) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2004; and (B) such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2008. (b) International Agreements.--Funds authorized in this Act may be used for the implementation of projects described in the Declaration on Embracing Technology and Cooperation to Promote the Secure and Efficient Flow of People and Commerce across our Shared Border between the United States and Mexico, agreed to March 22, 2002, Monterrey, Mexico (commonly known as the Border Partnership Action Plan) or the Smart Border Declaration between the United States and Canada, agreed to December 12, 2001, Ottawa, Canada that are consistent with the provisions of this Act. Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I am pleased to join Senators Domenici, Dorgan, Kyl, Feinstein, Murkowski, Burns, and Murray to introduce the Border Infrastructure and Technology Modernization Act. For most of us, this is not a new issue. I have worked closely with many of my colleagues to address concerns regarding the protection of our Nation's borders, particularly the problems associated with illegal immigration. The bill we are introducing today addresses border infrastructure, to ensure that our Nation's borders, both southern and northern, are as secure and up to date as possible. This bill will authorize. the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to address staffing shortages and hire additional agents, inspectors, and support staff. It will also authorize several studies and demonstration programs to improve infrastructure, security, facilitate trade, and expand the use of technology along the borders. Cross-border commerce suffers greatly due to backups at our ports of entry. Two and three hour delays hinder the transport of goods from Mexico into the United States. Improving infrastructure at our ports of entry will increase our capability to screen trucks and individuals coming into the country in a more efficient manner, reducing the backups along the border and improving the free flow of commerce. As undocumented aliens take increasingly desperate measures to cross our border with Mexico, the burden borne by States along the southwestern border continues to grow. The Federal Government's attempt to stem illegal immigration in Texas and California has made it increasingly difficult to cross the border in these States and has created a funnel effect, giving Arizona the dubious distinction of being the location of choice for illegal border crossings. Reports suggest that at least one in three of the illegal border crossers arrested traversing the U.S.-Mexico border are stopped in Arizona. Last year approximately 320 people died in the [[Page S3194]] desert trying to cross the border. Additionally, the number of attacks on National Park Service officers has increased in recent years. Property crimes are rampant along the border, leaving Arizona with the highest per capita auto theft rate in the Nation. Times have become so desperate that vigilante groups have begun to form with the goal of doing the job the Federal Government is failing to do. We must do all we can to improve the ports of entry along our borders with both our northern and our southern neighbors. Technology is the key to that goal, and this bill takes a big step toward ensuring that technological needs are assessed and that technology is improved. There are between 7-9 million people in this country illegally. Many of these people entered our country legally but have overstayed their visas. By upgrading the technology for our ports of entry and further developing the entry-exit system we will have a way to better monitor these individuals. During this year's appropriations bill, I sponsored an amendment along with Senators Kyl and Feinstein to restore $165 million to entry-exit system and help the INS establish four pilot projects on the borders to effectively track and monitor immigration. This bill and the amendment we passed recently are both important ways to increase the resources available to the border. Beyond the improvement of infrastructure, technology and security along the border, we must also address illegal immigration through a guest worker program. As long as there are jobs to be had on this side of the border, people will continue to attempt to cross illegally, and our national security will remain at risk. I urge my colleagues to move expeditiously on this important piece of legislation, in order to ensure that in a time of new global threats, our Nation's borders are as safe as possible and American citizens are protected. ______

[ ... ]

[ End ]



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