House votes to require DHS to report on control of US border

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) said DHS stopped its reporting on operation control of the border in 2010 and that DHS promised to replace these reports with a new system of reporting border security. 

"Nearly three years later, we're still waiting for the introduction of that measure, and without any idea if it will ever be used," she said.

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DHS used to report on the number of border miles under "operational control," and the bill would require a resumption of those reports. But the bill also lets DHS use alternative methods of reporting, as long as it clears that method with a Department of Energy National Laboratory that has experience in border security.

Miller said for the last few years, Congress has been left with vague assurances from DHS that the border is under control, despite evidence that less than half of the southern border is secure, along with just 2 percent of the northern border.

"I'm not quite sure how we can go from having less than half the border under operational control to get to current thinking that the border is more secure than ever, as the secretary of Homeland Security has said, without having a legitimate way to measure border security," she said.

The bill was approved by voice vote; it was one of five border-related suspension bills that were debated Tuesday evening.

Another of these, the DHS Accountability Act, would create an advisory panel that would assess DHS's management structure in an effort to improve the department's efficiency and effectiveness. This bill, H.R. 5913, was also approved by voice vote, as was H.R. 6328, the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, which would give unclaimed clothing at airports to homeless or needy veterans.

Two other bills were debated and passed later in the evening by roll call votes:

• H.R. 915, the Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act, boosting national and local government cooperation on border security. Passed 397-4.

• H.R. 5997, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, providing funding for the preparation of mass medical emergencies. Passed 397-1.

— This story was updated at 7:07 p.m. to reflect the roll call votes.