Legislation will assess and strengthen security along Northern Border, unanimously passed both U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that the President has signed the Northern Border Security Review Act, a bipartisan bill to assess and strengthen American security at the Northern Border, into law. Both Senators Collins and King are cosponsors of the legislation, which will help to make sure that Maine communities remain strong and safe.
“It’s absolutely critical that we have a secure Northern Border, and the comprehensive review triggered by this bill is a valuable step forward in assessing and strengthening those efforts on the ground,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “We’re glad that the President has signed the Northern Border Security Review Act into law, and will continue to work with Maine law enforcement, federal partners, and other border community members with the shared goal of keeping Maine safe and secure.”
Now law, the Northern Border Security Review Act requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to evaluate security threats at the border – the longest common land border in the world – through a comprehensive examination of current resources and personnel levels. The assessments called for in the bill will help tackle the coordination challenges that federal border security officials and local law enforcement face, and address how to recruit and retain a strong border security workforce.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill late last month, just weeks after it unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate. After the bill passed the Senate, Senators Collins and King received a classified briefing by high-ranking officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on threat reporting, smuggling and trafficking trends, border security technology requirements, and staffing in remote locations.
At 5,500 miles long, including 1,500 miles between Alaska and Canada, the Northern Border has more than 120 border crossings, many of which are small and in rural areas. 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 will require a comprehensive examination of how to strengthen American security at the Northern Border by looking into issues with:
- 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 state, county, local, tribal, and Canadian law enforcement.
The bill was led by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Other cosponsors include Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). A summary of the bill is available HERE.