WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC) and Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, joined by IRC Executive Committee Members, announced the introduction of H.R. 2220, the “Support More Assets, Resources and Technology on the Border Act of 2013” also known as “The SMART Border Act of 2013”. This legislation outlines a robust border protection strategy and includes several measures to bolster the Federal Government’s assistance in achieving operational control of the U.S.’s southern border. H.R. 2220 sets up a process for a Congressional vote to certify whether or not operational control of the border has been achieved 90 days after DHS reports to Congress on this goal.  If Congress does not certify that operational control has been achieved, the bill sets up a process for hiring an additional 1,500 CBP officers and a short term deployment of the National Guard until operational control is achieved.  

“Washington bureaucrats have falsely preached that the border is secure for years,” said Chairman Poe. “In reality, 56% of the southern border territory is controlled by someone other than the United States. Border patrol and local law enforcement do the best they can with the resources they’ve got, but they need more help from the federal government. Washington’s continued failure protect the border threatens both the security of our people and the sovereignty of our nation.  Any immigration reform efforts will be moot without making border security a reality. The SMART Border Act incorporates several common sense reforms that will ramp up support from the federal government and charge Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, with determining if and when operational control is achieved.”

 “Illegal immigration is one of the biggest crises facing our nation,” said Rep. Gingrey. “Given the Obama administration’s refusal to secure our borders, H.R. 2220 does so, while ensuring law enforcement officers are well-equipped to enforce existing law. Protecting American taxpayers and families must remain our top priority, particularly in these tough economic times.”

“For too long, the federal government has failed to enforce our immigration laws,” said Rep. Smith. “This lax enforcement has led to unlimited illegal immigration and allowed criminals and terrorists to slip through the cracks.  This bill requires real and robust immigration enforcement to secure our country and protect our communities.”

“The failure of the Obama administration to secure the border threatens our national security and America’s sovereignty. I am proud to support H.R. 2220 which effectively addresses the serious problems plaguing our border security efforts. President Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, has a solemn responsibility to protect the American people and our homeland. It’s time he starts taking that responsibility seriously, and joins the House Immigration Reform Caucus’ efforts to secure the border,” said Rep. Black.

“Enhancing border security must be a top priority as Congress works towards reforming our broken immigration system,” said Rep. Flores. “The SMART Border Act will assist in creating a strong and secure border by putting boots on the ground and by taking full advantage of available resources and innovative technologies. It will also mandate the full implementation of US VISIT at all points of entry to assist in putting an end visa overstays, which account for 60 percent of the illegal immigrants in our country. By putting forth essential solutions to secure our borders we can ultimately control our immigration system.”