Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy at the Center Immigration Studies calls the border security bill proposed by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) that will be considered by the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday “an empty green suit.”
McCaul, who chairs the committee, introduced H.R. 399, the Secure our Border First Act of 2015, amid great fanfare from Republican leadership that it would “get tough” on immigration. Yet the measure falls far short of that goal, according to Vaughan.
The GOP leadership is so intent on marketing the McCaul Bill that the House Home Security Committee published a three minute YouTube video, narrated by McCaul, touting its virtues on Friday:
But Vaughan says the bill’s virtues are few and its flaws are many.
“While this bill is an improvement over the border security bill approved by this committee in the previous Congress,” Vaughan said in a statement on Tuesday, “it falls far short of what is needed to slow the flow of illegal immigration and prevent the entry of terrorists and criminals.”
“The lack of meaningful enforcement measures [in the McCaul Bill],” Vaughan said, “gives the impression that the backers of this bill are no more serious about addressing illegal immigration and the risks and costs it imposes on American communities than are the Obama administration and the sponsors of the Schumer-Rubio bill that was rammed through the Senate in 2013.”
Vaughan noted that McCaul’s bill, “proposes to spend $10 billion of taxpayer money without ensuring that a single illegal alien will be sent home.”
“Like at least six other bills signed into law before it, this legislation includes a provision to require DHS to establish a biometric exit-tracking system at air, sea, and land ports within five years,” Vaughan noted.
“Unfortunately,” Vaughan added, “such a system would be of limited value unless DHS also implements a universal biometric entry record collection system at the land ports, so the land exit records can be compared to something”
“The program to prosecute every illegal entrant apprehended at time of entry which proved so successful in the Yuma Sector should be initiated and maintained for an indefinite period in all border sectors,” Vaughan argued. Such an apprehension program does not appear to be included in the McCaul bill.
Vaughan stated that, while “[t]he bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to be able to observe and interdict all illegal incursions in the high-traffic areas within two years, and in the entire southwest border area within five years “ is a “worthy objective. . . it is not a strategy. “
“Achieving control and awareness,” Vaughan notes, “will not deter other illegal entry attempts if too many of those apprehended are released into the country instead of removed.” The bill also adds 27 miles of double fencing, which is “welcome but, again, inadequate,” according to Vaughan.
“To put this into perspective,” Vaughn said, “Hudspeth County, Texas, alone has 95 miles of unfenced border. We don’t need to build fencing along the entire border, but 27 more miles (to be built in three separate sectors) is a drop in the bucket compared to the 700 miles that was authorized (but never completed) by the 2006 Secure Fence Act.”
“If Congress just reneges on the authorization like it has in the past, and does not appropriate the funds, it may never be built,” Vaughan added.
“The eminently capable members of the House Homeland Security Committee,” Vaughan concluded, “can do better than this, and they must.”