Corker Amendment Lets DHS Ignore Border Security Provisions

The new version of the “Gang of Eight” bill, repackaged with the “border surge” amendment from Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), would grant the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to decide whether or not to implement the border security technology and fencing provisions in the bill. Ignoring them wold result in no repercussions whatsoever.

On Page 30, line 4 of the new bill, there is a provision that gives Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (or any of her successors) complete discretion on deploying certain technology or use “alternate technology” instead. The language of the bill, however, also allows her to deploy no additional technology.

“If the Secretary determines that an alternate or new technology is at least as effective as the technologies described in paragraph (3) and provides a commensurate level of security, the Secretary may deploy that technology in its place and without regard to the minimums in this section,” that part of the new bill reads. “The Secretary shall notify Congress within 60 days of any such determination.”

Technically, in “paragraph 3” of the new bill, the law would call for the following technologies to be implemented along the border:

In Arizona (in the Yuma and Tucson sectors): “50 integrated fixed towers,” “73 fixed camera systems (with re-location capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems,” “28 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “685 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” and “22 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.”

In San Diego, California (between points of entry): “3 integrated fixed towers,” “41 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems,” “14 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “393 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” and “83 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.”

In San Diego (at points of entry and checkpoints): “2 non-intrusive inspection systems, including fixed and mobile,” “1 radiation portal monitor” and “1 littoral detection and classification network.”

In El Centro, California (between ports of entry): “66 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems,” “18 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “85 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “57 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “2 sensor repeaters,” and “2 communications repeaters.”

In El Centro (at points of entry and checkpoints): “5 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes,” “1 license plate reader,” “1 backscatter,” “2 portable contraband detectors,” “2 radiation isotope identification devices,” “”8 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” “3 personal radiation detectors,” and “16 mobile automated targeting systems.”

In El Paso, Texas (between ports of entry): “27 integrated fixed towers,” “71 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems,” “31 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “170 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “24 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “1 communications repeater,” “1 sensor repeater, and ”2 camera refresh.”

In El Paso (at points of entry and checkpoints): “4 non-intrusive inspection systems, including fixed and mobile,” “23 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes,” “1 portable contraband detectors,” “19 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” “1 real time radioscopy version 4,” “8 personal radiation detectors.”

In Big Bend, Texas: (between ports of entry): “7 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems,” “29 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” ”1105 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “131 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “1 mid-range camera refresh,” “1 improved surveillance capabilities for existing aerostat,” “27 sensor repeaters,” and “27 communications repeaters.”

In Big Bend (at points of entry and checkpoints): “7 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes,” “3 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed,” “12 portable contraband detectors,” “7 radiation isotope identification devices,” “12 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” “254 personal radiation detectors,” and “19 mobile automated targeting systems.”

In Del Rio, Texas (between points of entry): “3 integrated fixed towers,” “74 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems,” “47 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “868 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “174 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “26 mobile/handheld inspection scopes and sensors for checkpoints,” “1 improved surveillance capabilities for existing aerostat,” “21 sensor repeaters” and “21 communications repeaters.”

In Del Rio (at points of entry and checkpoints): “4 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed,” “13 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” “3 mobile automated targeting systems,” and “6 land automated targeting systems.”

In Laredo, Texas (between points of entry): “2 integrated fixed towers,” “69 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems,” “38 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “573 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “124 handheld equipment de- vices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “38 sensor repeaters,” and “38 communications repeaters.”

In Laredo (at points of entry and checkpoints): “1 non-intrusive inspection system,” “7 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes,” “19 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed,” “2 backscatter,” “14 portable contraband detectors,” “2 radiation isotope identification devices,” “18 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” “16 personal radiation detectors,” “24 mobile automated targeting systems,” and “3 land automated targeting systems.”

In the Rio Grande Valley (between ports of entry): “1 integrated fixed towers,” “87 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems,” “27 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” “716 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared,” “205 handheld equipment de- vices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles,” “4 sensor repeaters,” “1 communications repeater,” and ”2 camera refresh.”

In the Rio Grande Valley (at points of entry and checkpoints): “1 mobile non-intrusive inspection system,”11 fiberoptic tank inspection scopes,” “1 license plate reader,” “2 backscatter,” “2 card reader system,” “8 portable contraband detectors,” "5 radiation isotope identification devices,” “18 radiation isotope identification devices updates,” and “135 personal radiation detectors.”

Paragraph 3 of that section also includes drones and other “air and marine” technology that is called for to be implemented along the border:

“4 unmanned aircraft systems,” “6 VADER radar systems,” “17 UH-1N helicopters,” “8 C-206H aircraft upgrades,” “8 AS-350 light enforcement helicopters,” “10 Blackhawk helicopter 10 A-L conversions 5 new Blackhawk M Model,” and “30 marine vessels.”

But if the Corker Amendment passes as is, of course, none of that means anything because Napolitano--who already thinks the border is secure--could, completely on her own, determine some other “technology” is good enough and implement that in the place of all this technology. Napolitano could do that “without regard to the minimums” laid out in the statute.


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