WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security has announced the following hearing for next week:
TUESDAY, February 3 at 2:00 p.m.
Subcommittee on Transportation Security
A Review of Access Control Measures at Our Nation’s Airports
311 Cannon House Office Building
Invited Witnesses Include:
· Mr. Mark Hatfield, Acting Deputy Administrator, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
· Mr. Gary D. Perdue, Deputy Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice
· Ms. Sharon Pinkerton, Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy, Airlines for America
· Mr. Miguel Southwell, General Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Subcommittee Chairman John Katko (R-NY) on the hearing: "This hearing stems from a recent series of security breaches in which loaded firearms were brought onto commercial airplanes by employees with airport access privileges. Fortunately, these incidents did not end in tragedy, but there is much to be learned from what occurred.
“In light of the significant threats we face, the subcommittee will examine current nationwide protocols for employee access at airports, and the circumstances that led to the breaches with witnesses from TSA, FBI, Atlanta airport, and the airline industry.
“Nearly 14 years after 9/11, terrorists have adapted to our security protocols in ways that require us to be agile, resourceful and responsive. I am confident we can improve access control and employee screening measures at our airports."
*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Pentagon suspecting that one of the Taliban Five has been trying to contact the Taliban and rejoin the fight:
Chairman McCaul: “The president’s determination to empty Guantanamo Bay continues to be a victory for terrorist groups. In his rush to release extremist detainees back onto the streets, the president has naively ignored his top intelligence officials who have pointed out that many of these hardened militants are returning to the fight. How many wake-up calls does the president need? These actions are putting American lives at risk. I hope this news is enough to convince the president to immediately halt all planned releases from Guantanamo Bay and to reassess his misguided detainee policy."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed by voice vote H.R. 460, the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015, introduced by Representative Mark Walker, R-NC. The legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide a human trafficking awareness-training program for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other relevant personnel.
U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Subcommittee Chairman John Katko, R-N.Y., and Subcommittee Chairman Martha McSally R-Ariz. joined in co-sponsoring the bill.
Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas: “Last year, I held a Committee hearing in Texas where we heard from courageous survivors of human trafficking, as well as State and local law enforcement on how we can work together to combat this horrific crime. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays a critical role in this effort.
“I am a proud to once again co-sponsor the Human Trafficking Detection Act. This bill ensures CBP, TSA, and other DHS personnel are trained on how to detect and prevent trafficking. The bill also encourages partnerships between DHS and State and local law enforcement to establish additional training programs. I thank Rep. Walker for his leadership on this bill, and I will continue to push for further measures to fight human trafficking within the United States and around the world.”
America’s Southern border is nearly 2,000 miles long. To put that into perspective, that is greater than the distance between Chicago and Mexico City. President Barack Obama claims that our borders are more secure than ever before, but we Texans know that this simply is not true.
Just last year, the Border Patrol apprehended almost half a million individuals along our Southern border. This represents only the people we know that are being stopped — we have no way of telling how many people we didn’t catch, or what they brought with them.
As chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I am charged with ensuring the safety and security of the United States and its borders. It is a task I do not take lightly. My committee is given jurisdiction over the border.
Knowing what, or who, is coming across our border keeps Americans safe. In the past, we have seen everything from drug running to human trafficking. These dangerous and illegal activities hurt our security and put Americans in danger.
We know the worst-case scenario of having open borders. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has warned that terrorist organizations could easily leverage drug and human smuggling routes to move operatives or military weapons into the United States. Yet, the Obama administration does nothing.
In keeping with his narrative that the border is secure and ignoring the facts on the ground, the president issued a series of executive orders in December granting amnesty to those who have entered the U.S. illegally. It seems that the president believes if he ignores the border security problem, it will simply go away. The American people deserve better.
This is why I voted to block funding to the president’s unilateral and unconstitutional executive amnesty. I supported the legislation because I agree with my constituents, who are overwhelmingly opposed to the president’s actions. This sends a strong message to the president that the American people and their representatives are opposed to not only his policies but also to his desire to govern unilaterally.
Last Wednesday, the Homeland Security Committee passed my legislation, the Secure Our Borders First Act. It is the strongest border security legislation ever set before Congress. The bill provides a sector-by-sector analysis of threats and needs and attaches to that the resources necessary to gain control of the border. We are putting double-layer fencing where fencing is needed and completing the 700 miles of fencing required by law. We are putting technology where technology is needed to ensure a smart, safe and cost-effective border.
We tell the government how to secure the border step-by-step and put in place real penalties for ignoring the will of Congress. Furthermore, the bill requires independent, border security experts — the people who know the border best — to verify that the border is secure. This takes border security out of the hands of the administration and politicos.
This past weekend I led a delegation of 18 U.S. lawmakers to the U.S. border in California, Arizona and here in Texas. Members from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, Arizona, California, Missouri, Iowa and Colorado joined me and other Texans to see exactly what the situation on the border is.
We saw the tunnels that were once used for smuggling in California, spoke with ranchers in Arizona who see the flow of immigrants across the border into their land and toured the Rio Grande where people risk their lives to get into the United States. I believe it was an enlightening experience for my colleagues to hear about, and see firsthand, the dangers our Border Patrol, sheriffs and citizens deal with each and every day our border remains open.
By ensuring that the security of our southern border is addressed, it will no longer be subject to political games. We will be able to guarantee our children, grandchildren and future generations know the safety and peace of mind that comes with a secure border.
The time for border security is now. The time to pass the Secure Our Borders First Act is now.
McCaul, R-Austin, is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Read more via Austin American-Statesman: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/mccaul-its-time-to-secure-americas-border-once-and/njtMm/
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, released the following statement on legislative efforts to improve border security and interior enforcement:
McCaul and Goodlatte said: “For decades, Americans have been promised that our borders will be secured and our immigration laws will be enforced. But these promises have not been kept: our border remains porous and our immigration laws have not been fully enforced by presidents of both parties.
“House Republicans are taking a step-by-step approach to deliver on these long-overdue promises made to the American people so that we gain operational control of our borders and guarantee that our immigration laws will be enforced moving forward. The Secure Our Border First Act is the first step and will move our nation closer to gaining control of our borders so that we thwart national security threats and stop illegal border crossers from coming to the U.S.
“As chairmen of the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees, we join our colleagues to secure our borders and ensure our immigration laws are not unilaterally ignored by President Obama and future presidents. We will continue working on these issues and the Judiciary Committee will work on legislation to deliver results on interior enforcement, such as mandatory electronic verification of employment eligibility, addressing fraud in the asylum system, and allowing state and local law enforcement to help in enforcing our laws.”
Yesterday, the Committee on Homeland Security passed H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act. More information is available HERE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Committee on Homeland Security passed by a vote of 18-12, H.R. 399, the Secure our Borders First Act of 2015. Introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, the legislation requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to gain and maintain operational control of the international borders of the United States.
“The number one provision in the Constitution is to provide for the common defense of our country, and our borders are a national security concern,” said McCaul. “The Committee on Homeland Security does not have jurisdiction over interior enforcement, so the “Secure Our Borders First” bill deals solely with the problem at our southern, northern, and maritime borders - a problem that has plagued this country for 25 years.
“Our border must be dealt with through regular order and in a step-by-step approach - not through any type of comprehensive immigration reform. We must stop the bleeding at the border. The bill matches resources to needs, putting fencing where fencing is needed and technology where technology is needed. My constituents in my home district and my home state of Texas spoke loud and clear. They want the border secured.
“Tonight, we passed the bill out of committee, with numerous Republican amendments that I believe makes the bill stronger and more effective. For example, with Rep. Roger’s amendment, we will finally complete the 700 miles of the Secure Fence Act. The Democrats have indicated they will do anything to make sure this bill does not pass, which tells me that this is exactly the bill that our border needs. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House to amend and pass this bill.”
The Secure Our Borders First Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to achieve 100% operational control of high traffic areas of the southwest border in two years – and the entire southwest border in five years – and establishes a commission to independently verify that the border is secure. The legislation enforces penalties on DHS political appointees if the administration does not meet the terms of the bill.
Additionally, the bill provides sector-by-sector analysis of threats and needs on the border and attaches to that the resources necessary to gain operational control. This includes the allocation of technology capabilities in each sector along the southern border, the construction and replacement of fencing and access roads, and additional flight hours.
The legislation also bolsters border security by providing Border Patrol agents access to federal lands, granting flexibility to Customs and Border Protection to relocate resources, fully funding the National Guard on the border and increasing grants funding for local law enforcement agencies who assist in securing the border.
Amendments to the bill include:
McSally’s amendment also adds to the required capability deployment provisions, a requirement for a rapid reaction capability, supported by air support and requires the Border Security Verification Commission to consult with ranchers living along the border.
Cosponsors of the bill are: Reps. Candice Miller R-Mich., subcommittee chairman of the Border and Maritime Security, Will Hurd, R-Texas, John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Ted Poe, R-Texas, Roger Williams, R-Texas, Bill Flores, R-Texas, Pete Olson, R-Texas, Rob Bishop, R-Utah, John Culberson, R-Texas, Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, John Carter, R-Texas, Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Curt Clawson, R-Fla., Steven M. Palazzo, R-Miss., Peter King, R-N.Y., Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, Scott Perry, R-Pa., Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., John Katko, R-N.Y.
Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
To watch the committee members discuss the bill, click HERE.
For more information on the bill, click HERE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement commending Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Senate Majority Whip, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., for introducing the companion legislation to H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015:
Chairman McCaul: "I commend Sens. Johnson, Cornyn and Flake for introducing the companion legislation to my border security bill today. The porous state of our borders is a national security issue. For 25 years, we have waited for action on border security while human traffickers, drug cartels and potential terrorists have taken advantage of the situation at our southern, northern and maritime borders. The federal government's number one priority under the Constitution is to provide for the common defense, but this administration has failed to do so. Now, Congress must lead.
"This bill is the toughest border security bill ever before Congress. It provides the administration with prescriptive measures from Congress on how to secure the border with real penalties for the administration for not doing their job. We need this legislation to protect the American people and sovereignty of this nation."
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