Congresswoman Candice S. Miller
Michigan’s 10th Congressional District
House Homeland Security Committee
Chairman – Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
For Immediate Release
February 3, 2011
Contact: Erin Sayago
Miller: Bolstering Homeland Security – Eliminating Vulnerabilities on Our Borders
Harrison Township, MI – U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today announced her scheduled hearing to examine how the Border Patrol measures operational control of the borders and ways to improve coordination efforts needed to maintain operational security. The hearing is scheduled for February 15th at 10:00am in 311 Cannon.
“The recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicates we have very little operational control of our northern border. This GAO report highlights what I have been saying for years – that the northern border is not secure, and DHS has to realize that we have two borders that need our attention. I have long been an advocate of northern border security, and have always sought to bolster our homeland security resources along the northern tier of the nation,” said Miller. “The northern tier faces security challenges which are every bit as troubling as those facing our southern border, and we cannot let one falter at the expense of the other.”
“I understand the grave challenges we face on our borders, which is why I have already scheduled my first hearing on February 15th which will examine the Border Patrol’s measure of operational control, as well as where we need to increase manpower and technology to secure our border’s vulnerabilities,” Miller said.
Today, February 3rd, Miller visited the soon to be open Operational Integration Center (OIC) of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (SANGB) in Michigan. The OIC will be used to coordinate security efforts of all federal, state and local law enforcement and security partners.
“We have obviously made progress in our area of the northern border and have gained more situational awareness of who is crossing in our area. However, we are lacking a vast amount of operational control needed to secure our border,” said Miller. “We have a lot of work to do and I am committed to ensure that the men and women who are working diligently to protect our nation have the resources needed to get the job done.”
While at SANGB, Miller reviewed and toured the Remote Video Surveillance System sites, 11 in total, day and night cameras used by Border Patrol to detect illegal movement. SANGB is also home to CBP’s Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch, which became operational in August of 2008. This Branch was the last of five planned new air and marine facilities that make up the Northern Border Air Wing, as mandated by Congress after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
- The U.S Border Patrol’s latest strategy document, produced in 2004, outlined the Border Patrol’s strategic goal: to establish and maintain operational control of the entire border of the United States. However, to date, the Border Patrol has succeeded in completely securing only 1,107 miles of the 8,607 miles of land and water border on both the northern and southern borders.
- The GAO report summarizes the immense security challenges we face on the northern border. The report found that in comparison to the southern border, there is a higher risk of terrorist activity along the northern border. Findings also include that the Border Patrol was aware of all illegal border crossings on only 25 percent of the northern border (1,007 out of 4,000 miles), and that the Border Patrol has reached an acceptable level of security on 32 of the nearly 4,000 northern border miles in fiscal year 2010.