WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), Congresswoman Mayra Flores (TX-34), Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03), and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced the Advanced Border Coordination Act.
Building off the successes of state-run fusion centers, this bipartisan legislation would establish Joint Operation Centers along the southern border to serve as centralized operating hubs tasked with coordinating border operations, information sharing, and workforce training. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has periodically established joint operations hubs to help multiple law enforcement agencies work together to strengthen border security and crack down on transnational criminal activity. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Cortez Masto (NV) earlier this year.
“I’ve visited the southern border and seen the crisis unfolding there firsthand,” said Joyce. “For the safety of our communities and those wishing to come here for a better life, we have to restore the rule of law and secure our borders. This bipartisan bill will help us do just that. As a former prosecutor, I know how successful joint operations centers can be, especially when it comes to detecting drug and human trafficking, and have no doubt they will help us address the national security and humanitarian crisis that has exploded at our southern border. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort and will continue to provide our law enforcement officers with the resources and tools they need to effectively defend and maintain our borders.”
“I came to Congress promising to solve problems confronting our district and this is exactly what my first bill delivers. I’m proud this bill is being introduced and lauded by Members on both sides of the aisle, as a more secure border means safer and more prosperous communities across this land,” said Congresswoman Flores. “It is evident, from what we are witnessing at our southern border, that the only group benefiting from this self-inflicted chaos are criminals, drug and human traffickers, and the cartels. Our bill will put an end to this by bettering our law enforcement coordination and their ability to counter these dangerous groups. I thank my colleagues for joining me in this bipartisan and bicameral effort.”
“In 2019, I traveled to the southern border with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and I came away from that trip acutely aware that our immigration system is broken,” said Rep. Susie Lee. “I also left that trip with a renewed commitment to work with my colleagues to find solutions to fix our broken system. I’ve always fought for common-sense border security measures, and this legislation I’m introducing with my colleagues, Reps. Joyce, Flores, and Pappas,is just that: a common-sense solution. Joint operations hubs have worked to improve federal and local coordination, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation to stand up two new centers to make our communities safer by cracking down on drug, weapon, and human trafficking at the border. I will always fight for comprehensive reforms to fix our broken immigration system and make our borders safer, more secure, and more humane to those seeking refuge.”
“The Advanced Border Coordination Act will create joint centers along the border for federal, state, and local agencies in order to crack down on illegal drug trafficking and better respond to the crisis at the southern border,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “This bipartisan bill will assist law enforcement officials so they can secure our border and keep our communities safe. I remain committed to supporting our law enforcement officials and holding drug traffickers accountable so we can save lives and keep dangerous substances out of our communities.”
The introduction of this bipartisan bill comes amid record-breaking illegal immigration and drug trafficking at the southern border. In June alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials reported 207, 416 illegal border crossings and apprehended six individuals on the terrorist watch list. Meanwhile, communities across the country have suffered the loss of friends and family members due to drug overdoses, including 100,000 last year—a tragedy fueled by the unacceptable amounts of fentanyl and other illegal drugs entering the U.S. via the southern border. In fact, 8,400 pounds of fentanyl has been seized by CBP thus far in fiscal year 2022, double the total amount seized for all of fiscal year 2020. Americans have also witnessed the enormous humanitarian crisis at our southern border, visible in the recent tragedy of 53 migrants killed after traffickers left them stranded in a truck near the Texas-Mexico border.
The Advanced Border Coordination Act would help address these national security threats and humanitarian concerns by:
- Directing DHS to establish at least two joint operations centers along the southern border. These hubs would help law enforcement from multiple Federal, State, local and Tribal agencies coordinate their efforts and better work together.
- Requiring these centralized hubs to serve as resources to improve field operations and intelligence sharing, help detect and deter criminal activity like drug and human trafficking, and support workforce development and training coordination between participating agencies.
- Directing the DHS Secretary to issue an annual report to Congress on the centers’ operational activities and recommendations for coordinated federal actions at the southern border.
Participating agencies would include DHS, the Department of Defense, the Justice department, other federal agencies as the DHS Secretary determines appropriate, and state, local, and tribal agencies that voluntarily choose to participate.