The House of Representatives passed border security legislation Thursday introduced by Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.). H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act, moves the nation closer towards achieving a secure border.

There is a growing consensus in America that we need to secure our borders and eliminate illegal immigration incentives. This legislation is a first step in that process but in order to effectively address illegal immigration, Congress needs to adopt much-needed interior enforcement measures, reject any amnesty proposals, and crack-down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

The Secure Fence Act strengthens operational control of our southern border and ports utilizing additional physical barriers, fencing and increased use of state-of-the-art technology. It authorizes the construction of a 700 mile, two-layered fence along the southwest border with prioritized placement at critical, highly populated areas. It also mandates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire border by utilizing cameras, ground sensors, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and integrated surveillance technology. A key provision in the bill requires the DHS to provide all necessary authority to border personnel to disable fleeing vehicles, similar to the authority held by the United States Coast Guard for maritime vessels.

I co-sponsored the Secure Fence Act because our borders represent a major vulnerability and we need to immediately address it. This is just the first step in a series of policies Congress needs to adopt in order to achieve a secure border. Next week, the House of Representatives will take up legislation that would provide funding for 1,200 new border patrol agents, increase the number of federal prosecutors for alien smuggling cases, reaffirm authority for state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws and to criminalize construction and financing of border tunnels.

The fact remains that the people in my district expect us to deal with illegal immigration head on and I will continue to fight for interior enforcement, against amnesty and for eliminating illegal immigration incentives.