Congressmen introduce legislation that directs DHS to create plan for immigration surges


A U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle is seen next to migrants after they were detained and taken into custody, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Abram-Perezville, Texas. A surge of migrants on the Southwest border has the Biden administration on the defensive. The head of Homeland Security acknowledged the severity of the problem but insisted it’s under control and said he won’t revive a Trump-era practice of immediately expelling teens and children. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Lawmakers have drafted legislation that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a plan to deal with surges in immigration to the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Congressmen Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and John Katko (R-TX) put together the Border Surge Response and Resilience Act, which was introduced into the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill sets a requirement for DHS to integrate a plan for when migrant crossings dramatically increase, such as in 2021.

“It is critical that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proactive and develops a strategy to adequately manage large migration flows at our southern border,” said Cuellar. “This bipartisan legislation will allow the federal government to employ a whole-of-government approach to create a response framework that anticipates migration surges, allowing them to quickly shift resources and take immediate action to mitigate a humanitarian crisis.

The bill calls on DHS to identify resources needed for surges ahead of time so that when a major surge is seen, the government can quickly act.

A release from Rep. Cuellar related the immigration surge to a natural disaster, in the sense that emergency plans are in place for such events.

“After hearing firsthand from border patrol agents, it’s clear they need interagency backup and accountability across the Federal Government to appropriately handle border surges,” said Katko. “We need greater confidence that the Federal Government can manage these crises going forward. This bill would do just that.” 

This bill also requires DHS to set funding for these events, so that the department does not need to reprogram funds for needed resources.

Cuellar is the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, meanwhile, Katko serves as the lead Republican of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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