Messaging for H.R. 399: The Secure Our Borders First Act

Topline Value Messages

  • H.R. 399 is a militarization only-bill that disproportionately impacts tens of millions of families living in the southern border. Residents who call San Diego, Tucson, Las Cruces, El Paso and Brownsville  home deserve the same rights and the same protections under the law as the rest of our nation.
  • Border communities enjoy lower crime rates, are safe, thriving and contribute tremendously to the economic recovery of the United States, in fact 1 out of 24  jobs in the U.S. depend on trade that is generated in the Southern Border.
  • H.R. 399 is more of the same failed policies that have contribute to a bloated, unaccountable and abusive police force along the border.
  • H.R. 399 misses the mark on good government. Accountability and transparency are not partisan issues, they are about good government.
  • Customs and Border Protection as the largest law enforcement agency in the nation must lead by example and  be a professional, accountable and transparent force.
  • H.R. 399 is a threat to our environment, the economy, privacy and civil rights.

Problems

H.R. 399 is a border militarization bill that does not move us forward together.

  • McCaul’s militarization bill is a stand alone bill that does not improve the chances for immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
  • McCaul’s militarization bill diminishes the quality of life for border residents and the rest of the nation. Civil and human rights are compromised in the border region setting a bad precedent for us all.
  • In the words of Rep. McCaul, HR 399 will allow the Department of Defense “to transfer assets from theatre of war and redeploy them to the Southwest border.” See McCaul press release Jan. 15, 2015.
  • McCaul’s border militarization bill empowers and emboldens an already out of control border agency that is in need of reform, accountability and oversight.
  • McCaul’s border militarization bill has an emphasis on increasing the use of drones and other aerial equipment, which according to a recent DHS report have proven to be costly and ineffective. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General report concluded that the drone program costs far more than the agency claims and doesn’t work well enough to justify spending more on it without further study. Currently, CBP spends $28,000 per migrant apprehended.

McCaul’s border militarization bill fails to address concerns of border residents.

  • McCaul’s bill fails to address the need for accountability and oversight to resolve the systemic abuses within Customs and Border Protection.  The gravity of these systemic abuses has been recognized by the top authorities within Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security, and reform of the agency stands as an urgent priority.
  • Any discussion regarding border policy that does not address the urgent need to hold the largest law enforcement agency in the nation accountable, purposefully ignores the rights and concerns of border residents.  Dismissing accountability and oversight is a recipe for disaster for CBP, DHS and border communities and will compound the current trend of abuses taking place.
  • Border communities require investment in port infrastructure to improve and facilitate trade. Improving ports for trade will have a direct and immediate beneficial impact on the national economy.
  • The use of biometric technology at our nations port of entries threaten privacy rights and will cause significant delays at our already gridlocked ports-of-entry.

McCaul’s militarization bill would harm the land, air, water and wildlife that Americans want protected.

  • McCaul’s militarization bill would waive 16 of our most crucial environmental laws on nearly all public lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Border walls and Border Patrol operations are already trampling important lands that the American people set aside for protection from such assaults.
  • McCaul’s militarization bill is a blatant violation of laws such as the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Antiquities Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

McCaul’s militarization bill fortifies the loss of rights of millions of people living within 100 miles of land and sea borders.

  • Currently, DHS allows Customs and Border Protection to operate within 100 miles of the border and also allows for 4th amendment rights to be waived for all who live in within this region.  McCaul’s Border Militarization bill would set this policy in stone by making it law.
  • Two-thirds of the U.S. population live within 100 miles of a land or sea border including some of the nation’s largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, etc.)

Solutions

Revitalize Not Militarize Border Communities

  • The border is more than a line.  It is the home of tens of millions of people who deserve the same rights, respect and dignity as the rest of the nation.
  • CBP, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, is out of control and in urgent need of accountability and oversight.
  • The border region needs revitalization or ports and infrastructure for improved trade, and accountability over border agents for improved quality of life.

Author: Communications Director

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