Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the first-ever authorization bill for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). H.R. 3846, introduced by both the Chair Candice Miller (R-MI) and Ranking Member Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, is a positive bipartisan accomplishment.
DHS remains the only cabinet department that has never had a formal authorization. While not a full DHS authorization, H.R. 3846 represents a small step toward an important goal—the formal authorization by Congress of the structure, authorities and activities of the department.
At an event last week celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) confirmed that one of his primary goals for the committee is to enact an authorization bill for DHS. The passage of smaller pieces of legislation is a solid stepping stone toward this larger goal. With Congress actively debating measures for supplemental funding for CBP and other agencies to address the current crisis of child migrants at the border, it is timely that CBP’s is the first authorization to proceed. The House has now taken its first step. We hope the Senate will quickly follow suite, paving the way for a full and much-needed DHS authorization.