Bipartisan bill to assess and strengthen security along Northern Border unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate earlier this month
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that a bipartisan bill they cosponsored to help assess and strengthen American security at the Northern Border – the longest common land border in the world – has unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now heads to the President’s desk for his signature to become law.
Earlier this month, the legislation – the Northern Border Security Review Act – passed the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan bill would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fully evaluate security threats and challenges at the border through a comprehensive examination of the current resources and personnel levels. At 5,500 miles long, including 1,500 miles between Alaska and Canada, the Northern Border has 120 border crossings, many of which are small and in rural areas.
“The first step in determining how best to secure and protect our Northern Border is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the threats we face and the resources necessary to help protect against them,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “This bipartisan bill will advance that process for the first time in five years, and ultimately bolster the efforts and work of Maine law enforcement officers and border patrol agents who work hard every day to protect our communities. We look forward to the President signing this bill into law and undertaking the important work of enhancing border security.”
Approximately 300,000 people and $910 million in trade cross the Northern Border every day, representing the largest bilateral flow of goods and people in the world. The Northern Border Security Review Act would require a comprehensive examination of the following issues:
- Recruiting and retaining border security officials to cover the Northern Border, including at more remote areas of the border;
- Determining tools border security officials need to effectively combat drug and human trafficking at the Northern Border;
- Identifying technology that could expand the reach of border agents; and
- Finding vulnerabilities in cooperation between Canadian, state, county, local, and tribal law enforcement.
The passage of the bill also follows a classified briefing held yesterday before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to discuss the security situation along the Northern Border. Senators Collins and King were briefed by high-ranking officials from the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on threat reporting, smuggling and trafficking trends, border security technology requirements, and staffing in remote locations.
The legislation was introduced by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Additional cosponsors include Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Click here to view a summary of the bill.