H.R. 4780, Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act

H.R. 4780

Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act

Sponsor
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

Date
May 16, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 16, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4780, the Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4780 was introduced on March 17, 2016 by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.  The Homeland Security Committee ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on March 23, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4780 requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to create a comprehensive three-year strategy for the Department’s international programs related to vetting and screening persons seeking to enter the United States. The strategy is required to include: specific DHS risk-based goals for international programs; a risk-based method for determining whether to establish new international programs in new locations; alignment with the highest DHS-wide and government-wide strategic priorities of resource allocations; and a common reporting framework for the submissions of reliable, comparable cost data by DHS components on overseas expenditures. When considering the strategy, DHS shall consider information on existing DHS operations; analysis of the impact of each such international program on domestic activities; the number of DHS personnel deployed to each location; and an analysis of barriers to the expansion of such an international program.

Background

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates a number of international programs intended to push out America’s borders and stop security threats before they reach our shores. DHS has personnel stationed in more than 75 countries who inspect overseas airports and seaports with flights and vessels bound for the U.S., protect American ideas and businesses by seizing counterfeit goods and cracking down on intellectual property, and share information with international partners regarding terrorism, organized crime, smuggling, human trafficking, and science and technology.

The Office of International Affairs within the Office of Policy plays a central role in developing the Department of Homeland Security’s strategy for pushing the homeland security mission overseas and actively engaging foreign allies to improve international cooperation for immigration policy, visa security, aviation security, border security and training, law enforcement, and cargo security.[1]

Preclearance is a border security strategy that provides for the inspection and clearance of commercial passengers on foreign soil. These operations are established through a formal agreement between the United States and host country, which allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to staff officers at host airports and facilitate the customs and immigration process for passengers prior to arrival in the United States. There are currently 15 preclearance facilities in 6 countries.[2]

In addition, International Operations within Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, deploys special agents with immigration law enforcement expertise to diplomatic posts worldwide to conduct visa security activities such as examining applications for fraud, initiative investigations, coordinating with law enforcement, and providing law enforcement training and advice to Department of State consulates.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “The Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act would require DHS to develop a Department-wide strategy for how it grows overseas screening and vetting programs. This approach will help ensure that when DHS prioritizes expanding Preclearance in a certain country or seeks to establish a Visa Security Unit in another, those efforts are coordinated and in line with the Department’s risk-based priorities.”[3]

——————
[1] See “Office of International Affairs”
[2] See https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/preclearance_factsheet_2.pdf
[3] See Ranking Member Thompson’s Statement, Committee on Homeland Security Markup, March 23, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.

 

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.