Congresswoman Debbie Lesko Introduces Legislation to Secure Ports of Entry in the U.S.

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Washington D.C., July 17, 2018 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced H.R. 6400, the United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act. H.R. 6400 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a ports of entry threat and operational analysis of all air, land, and sea ports in the United States and create a ports of entry threat and operational strategy and implementation plan. Upon introduction, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) released the following statement:

“With more than 300 official ports of entry in the United States, it is imperative that we protect our country and know the vulnerabilities in each one to protect our homeland from potential threats and exploitations. My bill calls on the Department of Homeland Security to analyze our nation’s entry points and develop a strategy and implementation plan to prevent human trafficking, the importation of illicit drugs and other contraband, and criminal activity at our air, land, and sea ports. Modernizing our ports of entry is just one step in securing our border, and I look forward to the consideration of the United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act by the House of Representatives soon.”

Background: H.R. 6400, the United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act, requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to do two things: (1) conduct a ports of entry threat and operational analysis of all United States air, land, and sea ports; and (2) create a ports of entry threat and operational strategy and implementation plan.

The contents of the analysis shall include an assessment of:

•  Current and potential threats
•  Methods and pathways used to exploit security vulnerabilities
•  Improvements needed to prevent the unlawful movement of people, illicit drugs, and other contraband across the border of the United States
•  Improvements needed to enhance travel and trade facilitation, and reduce wait times
•  Processes conducted at the ports of entry that do not require law enforcement training that could be filled with non-law enforcement staff, the private sector, or automated

The Secretary shall also consider the following in the analysis: Personnel needs and estimated costs; Technology needs and estimated costs; Infrastructure needs and estimated costs.

The contents of the strategy and implementation plan shall include a consideration of the ports of entry threat and operational analysis. It shall also include Department efforts to:

•  Reduce wait times
•  Prevent the unlawful movement of people, illicit drugs, and other contraband across the borders of the United States at the earliest possible point at ports
•  Focus intelligence collection and information analysis to disrupt transnational criminal organizations attempting to exploit vulnerabilities
•  Verify that any new port of entry technology acquisition can be operationally integrated with existing technologies in use by DHS
•  Identify and detect fraudulent documents
•  Prevent, detect, investigate, and mitigate corruption

The strategy and implementation plan shall also include the standards against which the effectiveness of the aforementioned efforts may be determined.

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