As Congress gets back to work following a long August recess, the House appears to be gearing up to vote on its own immigration bills. Rumors on the Hill suggest that a non-controversial border security bill will be the first to see a vote. The lack of controversy, however, is precisely what makes this bill a major problem; it doesn't actually do anything, aside from weakening current law.
The Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417) was introduced by Republican Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10) in the House back in early April, only days before the Schumer-Obama amnesty bill. While all eyes were on the Senate, the border security-themed bill coasted through the House Committee on Homeland Security with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Unfortunately, the only border security result you can find in the Border Security Results Act is in the title.
Much like the original version of the Schumer-Obama Amnesty, H.R. 1417 avoids requiring the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to gain operational control over 100% of the borders (which is already required by law). Instead, the Act merely requires the Secretary to submit a plan to gain operational control of only the southern border within 5 years. Operational control is met when the DHS determines that it has apprehended and turned back at least 90% of those who tried to enter the U.S. in those high traffic areas, based on its own estimates of the amounts of individuals it failed to apprehend.
The Secretary must also submit a plan to implement a biometric exit system at ports of entry. However, if the Secretary determines that the biometric system (which is already required by law) is not feasible, he or she is given 2 years to create another plan that must provide the same level of security.
On top of the two plans, the Secretary is required to implement an impressive list of metrics in order to determine how effective our border security mechanisms are, and the GAO will report on all of it.
Assuming the Administration decides that this is one of the immigration laws it will actually follow, we would be left with weakened border security requirements and a couple of plans that may or may not ever lead to real border security.
Worse yet, H.R. 1417 will likely be a vessel for a conference with the Schumer-Obama amnesty. In fact, the Border Security Results Act is virtually identical to the original border security section of the Senate bill! Nancy Pelosi is reportedly going to add this bill to her own comprehensive immigration reform bill that will likely mirror the Senate monstrosity.
In response to an Administration that refuses to enforce the rule of law, a devastating Senate bill, and literally no hope for a good piece of immigration legislation to become law, the American people are supposed to believe a bill that weakens current law is the answer to all of our border security problems? We don't buy it.
GRANT NEWMAN is the Legislative Analyst for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Oct 21st 2013 @ 3:11pm EDT