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Meijer, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Management of Migration Surges

April 1, 2021

U.S. Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today joined 15 of his colleagues introducing the Irregular Migration Surge Border Response Resilience Act. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and federal partners to establish a comprehensive plan to respond to irregular migration surges, allowing DHS to manage a border surge before it becomes unsustainable. The bill would also establish a fund designated solely for implementation of this plan, allowing DHS to immediately access needed resources to address these humanitarian concerns without waiting months for supplemental appropriations from Congress.

“I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation to swiftly address the crisis at our southern border and prevent similar crises from developing in the future,” said Rep. Meijer. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encountering more than 3,500 migrants on average per day – rapidly approaching the highest level we’ve experienced in 20 years. We cannot allow these types of crises to continue administration after administration. It is time for Congress to take charge and provide clear directives and adequate resources for planning and surge response. This will reduce the risk of future emergency humanitarian situations like the one we are seeing today.”

The Irregular Migration Surge Border Response Resilience Act would:

  • Require a border surge response plan that includes:
    • Identification of participants and their roles, chain of command, and responsibilities
    • A strategy to enhance security along the border, maximize the use of non-law enforcement personnel to assist with processing, and streamline screening and processing without reducing security
    • Processes to identify and detail surge personnel to the border; request interagency assistance; expand temporary processing and holding capacity quickly; and track metrics that trigger the plan’s activation
    • Policies to ensure timely communication and coordination regarding facility capacity and transfer of individuals in custody
    • A strategy to ensure migrants aren’t released into the United States if they have COVID-19
    • Intelligence driven analysis that includes border trends, migrant perceptions of U.S. law, tactics used by smugglers, and other relevant information determined necessary by the Secretary
    • A strategy to coordinate with state, local, and tribal governments, transportation companies, and NGOs regarding the release of individuals in their jurisdiction for public safety purposes
    • Metric thresholds to activate the plan
    • A mechanism to conduct an after-action review to inform any changes to the plan and notify Congress of any resourcing and authority needs.

  • Establish a fund that can only be accessed if the plan is activated for:
    • Replenishing consumables, equipment, and overtime funds
    • Expanding temporary DHS processing and holding capacity
    • Ensuring timely communication and transportation of individuals in custody between DHS and partner agencies
    • Requesting interagency assistance and detailing DHS personnel to the border.

  • Authorize an initial investment of $1 billion to be appropriated, require the maintenance the level of the fund up until 2025, allow the Treasury to invest a portion of the funds for the purpose of compounding interest, and return the money to the Treasury after 2025.

Click here to read the bill.

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Issues:Congress