H.R. 3846, The United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act

H.R. 3846

The United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act

Date
July 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, July 28, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3846, the United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 3846 was introduced on January 10, 2014 by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) and was referred to the House Committees on Homeland Security and Ways and Means.  The bill was marked up by the Homeland Security Committee on June 11, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote.[1]  The bill was discharged by the Ways and Means Committee.

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[1] House Committee Report 113-555, Part I.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3846 authorizes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Homeland Security Act of 2002 for the first time.  The authorization delineates and codifies within the Homeland Security Act all of the current authorities, responsibilities, and functions of the CBP.[2]  H.R. 3846 directs the CBP Commissioner to establish standard operating procedures for: 1) searching, reviewing, retaining, and sharing information contained in communication, electronic, or digital devices at ports of entry; 2) establishing use of force procedures for CBP officers and agents; 3) streamlining the procedure for processing and investigating complaints against CBP officers, agents, and employees; 4) reporting incidents involving the use of deadly force; and 5) establishing a process for Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to submit mission requests.

H.R. 3846 requires the CBP Commissioner to submit to Congress, within 60 days of the bill’s enactment, a report on contract management acquisition and procurement personnel.  Within 180 days of the bill’s enactment, the Commissioner must make publically available information the CBP has collected on migrant deaths occurring along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, the Commissioner must submit to Congress reports on: 1) CBP’s Transformation Initiative; 2) unaccompanied alien children apprehended at U.S. borders; 3) biometric exit data capability at U.S. airports; and 4) the current capacity of the CBP to hire, train, and deploy additional CBP officers.  Within 180 days of the bill’s enactment, the Commissioner must submit reports on: 1) the physical infrastructure and technology needs at the 20 busiest land ports of entry; 2) the strategy for its Unmanned Aerial Systems program; and 3) the security of U.S. international borders.

H.R. 3846 authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to engage in international initiatives to maintain the security of U.S. international borders and ports of entry, and requires a report to Congress on such initiatives.  The CBP Commissioner is directed to give priority consideration to an application for port of entry status by a commercial airport if it served at least 100,000 deplaned international passengers in the previous calendar year.  H.R. 3846 prohibits the Secretary from entering into or renewing an agreement with a foreign country for a trusted traveler program administered by the CBP unless the Secretary certifies in writing that the government routinely submits information about lost and stolen passports and travel documents of the citizens and nationals of such country, either directly to the CBP or through INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.  H.R. 3846 expresses a sense of Congress that the Foreign Language Award Program (FLAP) improves the efficiency of the CBP’s security mission, while making the U.S. a more welcoming place to foreign travelers.

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[2] This includes authorization of the U.S. Border Patrol; the Office of Air and Marine; the Office of Field Operations; the National Targeting Center; the Office of Intelligence and Investigative Liaison; the Office of International Affairs; and the Office of Internal Affairs.

Background

DHS was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002.  It was assembled from 22 different government agencies and began its official operations on March 1, 2003.[1]  CBP was created under the Border and Transportation Security (BTS) directorate as America’s primary trade enforcement agency.  CBP consolidates the border and inspection functions conducted by the former U.S. Customs Service; the inspection functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service; the U.S. Border Patrol; and the inspection functions of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service program.  The BTS directorate was dismantled in 2005, and its functions were reorganized with DHS and the CBP.  Congress has never authorized the CBP to perform its current mission, and it operates on devolved authority granted to the Secretary and guidance provided by appropriators.  H.R. 3846 changes this by authorizing CBP within the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

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[3] William L. Painter, “Issues in Homeland Security Policy for the 113th Congress,” Congressional Research Service (Feb. 27, 2013), at 1.

Cost

According to the CBO, implementing H.R. 3846 would cost about $1 million in fiscal year 2015 and less than $500,000 annually thereafter from appropriated funds.  H.R. 3846 prohibits the authorization of additional funds to be appropriated to carry out the bill.  H.R. 3846 would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.