U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation, the Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act, to allow for additional infrastructure to be built along the Southwest border.
The bill provides the Secretary of Homeland Security with full discretionary authority to build as much as 350 miles of additional infrastructure on the border.
The legislation is co-sponsored by congressmen Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), Vista’s Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas).
It follows a report by the Government Accountability Office, stating that only 44 percent of the Southwest border is under operation control, while only 15 percent of the border is air tight.
Under existing law, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was given until December 2008 to identify specific locations on the Southwest border for infrastructure construction. There is currently no legitimate legal authority for DHS to build additional infrastructure in the event it is needed.
“Despite considerable gains in recent years, the Southwest border is nowhere near secure,” Hunter said. “Smuggling corridors remain wide open, providing direct access for drug runners, criminals and illegal immigrants. This not only presents a significant risk to U.S. national security but also undermines the safety of communities on both sides of the border.
“Thousands have died in Mexico due to border violence in the last two years alone. U.S. border areas are also overwhelmed, facing recurring threats that are a direct result of an unprotected border.”