Legislation to authorize Customs and Border Protection passed in the House by voice vote on Monday.
Passage of the measure comes as the House wrangles with an emergency spending package to address the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.
"The fact that this agency has operated for as long as they have without a clear statutory mandate from Congress and the American people certainly is a problem that needs to be corrected," said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.).
"Issues like the recent surge remind us of why we continually update the authorities of key law enforcement agencies within the Department of Homeland Security," Miller said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said a formal authorization would empower the agency.
"Authorization equals affirmation," Jackson Lee said. "It is important for us in this Congress to affirm an agency that is handling some of the most precious responsibilities."
The authorization directs the CBP commissioner to establish standards for sharing information, use of force procedures and mission requests. It also would mandate the CBP to provide a report to Congress on its contract management acquisition.
Additionally, the CBP would be required to make public any data it has collected on deaths of immigrants along the southern border within 180 days of the legislation's enactment. A separate report would be required on all apprehended child migrants crossing the border.