Slotkin Bill Seeks To Enhance Smart Border Security
September 10, 2020
By Jon King / email@example.com
A bill introduced today by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin seeks to enhance the technology needed to effectively secure the nation’s borders.
The 8th District Democrat, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced the bipartisan bill today smart and effective means to secure our Northern and Southern borders through Integrating New Technologies to Empower Law Enforcement (INTEL) at Our Borders Act, which requires the Department of Homeland Security to create a comprehensive strategy to integrate advanced technologies as part of the nation’s border security strategy.
The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing border personnel, was among the groups that offered a strong endorsement of Slotkin’s bill, which she was pleased to receive. "I was particularly appreciative because we're living in pretty polarized and politicized times. They're big supporters of President Trump and we don't agree on everything , but they came out in strong support of our bill and its a reminder that it is possible to find common ground when it comes to something like national security."
The bill, which Slotkin said she began working on following her trips last year both to the northern and southern borders, will require the Department of Homeland Security to assess how it currently uses emerging technologies for border security and how those technologies can address existing gaps in situational awareness.
Joining Slotkin in co-sponsoring the legislation are two Republicans; Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Van Taylor of Texas and fellow Democrat Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico. Slotkin says it was important to get bipartisan consensus on the measure as a way to demonstrate that no one party has a monopoly on how border security should be handled. "There's this false choice that's been presented in the media that you only care about border security or you only care about humanitarian issues and I just completely reject that false choice. I think our military every single day has to provide very clear security but they have to do it in a humane and decent way. They are trained to do that."
The bill will go to the Homeland Security Committee for further discussion, and while Slotkin says she’s doubtful it can get passed before November’s election, she hopes to get it through the committee process and up for a vote as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the campaign for the man who seeks to unseat Slotkin in November has scoffed at her commitment to border security. In a statement to WHMI, Republican candidate Paul Junge’s spokesman Rob Wagener noted Slotkin had voted for the House HEROES Act in May that would have made taxpaying immigrants and their families eligible for federal stimulus funds regardless of their legal status. “Elissa Slotkin voted to give $1,200 coronavirus checks to illegal immigrants, allow our tax dollars to pay for lawyers for people who illegally cross our border, and provide work authorizations to illegal immigrants while America’s unemployment rate skyrocketed, so she’s not serious about securing our borders. Paul Junge will work to secure the border and put America’s hardworking taxpayers first.”
In response, Gordon Trowbridge, Senior Adviser for Communications with Elissa Slotkin for Congress, said that the, “Junge campaign is once again making misleading statements about Rep. Slotkin's record” and that, “In fact, she voted for a bipartisan amendment to strip that provision from the HEROES Act...He also says she voted to ‘allow our tax dollars to pay for lawyers for people who illegally cross our border.’ In fact, she voted for another bipartisan amendment that would have shifted funding from legal aid for undocumented immigrants to a law enforcement grant program.”
The $3 trillion HEROES Act would also have provided funding for state and local governments, coronavirus testing, and a new round of direct payments to Americans. After passing the Democrat-controlled House in May, the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to put it to a vote.