Immigration Preview: DHS to Dominate Border Security

The 17-page document laying out the forthcoming bipartisan Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration reform legislative proposal shows the senators are fully entrusting the Department of Homeland Security with all steps of border security.

The document shows that the Secretary of Homeland Security will, within six months of the bill’s potential passage into law, “submit a strategy, to be known as the ‘Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy,’ for achieving and maintaining effective control in all high risk border sectors along the Southern border."

The Gang of Eight’s document shows the legislation will appropriate $3 billion to that initiative at DHS.

By that same six-month deadline, the document shows the Homeland Security Secretary “shall establish a strategy, to be known as the ‘Southern Border Fencing Strategy,’ to identify where fencing, including double-layer fencing, infrastructure, and technology should be deployed along the Southern border.”

To this initiative at DHS, the Gang of Eight document shows the legislation would appropriate $1.5 billion.

According to the document, legalization for the country’s illegal immigrants will begin after the Secretary of Homeland Security “has submitted to Congress the Notice of Commencement upon completion of each of the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and the Southern Border Fencing Strategy.” That means America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants will start the legalization process when the Secretary of Homeland Security tells Congress she started implementing the plans she created for herself.

The targeted “Effectiveness Rate” that the legislation will require is that, by the time five years passes after the legislation would become law, 90 percent of illegal entries into the country at so-called “High Risk Border Sectors” are either apprehended or turned back. The Gang of Eight described High Risk Border Sectors as areas along the U.S. border “where apprehensions are above 30,000 individuals per year.”

For that five years, the document the group released shows the Department of Homeland Security will be in charge of all border security metrics. Of course, that Department’s current Secretary Janet Napolitano believes the border is secure. She made that point clear again in an interview with ABC News in early March.

If the Department of Homeland Security meets this 90 percent goal in five years, the legislation from the Gang of Eight considers the border secure and its mission accomplished. Officially, according to the 17-page document, the bipartisan group of senators says that means the “’Border Security Goal’ has been achieved.’” The group’s document does not specify who will measure whether the 90 percent goal has been met or other metrics as to how it will be achieved.

If the Department of Homeland Security does not follow through on the 90 percent goal, the Gang of Eight legislation creates what it calls a “Southern Border Security Commission” that will have six months to issue a report detailing what still needs to happen to meet that goal.

According to the Gang of Eight document, the Southern Border Security Commission would consist of the governors of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, or those governors’ representatives and “border security experts” as designated by the President, the Speaker of the House, the House minority leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Senate Minority leader.

The commission would be given six months, or 180 days, according to the document, to develop “a ‘Report and Recommendation’ that specifically recommends the manpower, technology, and resources it believes is necessary to achieve a 90% border effectiveness rate in all high risk border sectors.”

If the bipartisan commission would finish its report, the legislation would appropriate $2 billion to DHS to implement its recommendations to finish attempts to meet that “Border Security Goal.”

However, if the commission did not finish its report within the allotted 180 days, the process would kick right back to the Department of Homeland Security—meaning any Democrat or establishment Republican on the commission opposed to securing America’s borders could stall the process for six months, sending it back into deadlock over at DHS so the borders would never get secured.

“If the ‘Border Commission’ has not issued a Report and Recommendation within the required 180 days, the appropriation will transfer to DHS for its use in creating and implementing a new ‘Southern Border Security Plan’ designed to achieve a 90% border effectiveness rate in all high risk border sectors,” the Gang of Eight wrote in its proposal preview document.


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