Tonawanda News

Local News

June 1, 2012

U.S.-Canada border security bill passed

Tonawanda News — Congress on Thursday passed a bill aimed to address security concerns along the nation’s northern border, including a key amendment introduced by Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-Amherst.

A 2010 report detailed a disturbing fact: Just 32 miles of the country’s 4,000-mile-long border included an acceptable level of security.

The 2011 Secure Border Border Act passed the House unanimously on Thursday, and awaits discussion in the Senate.

In broad strokes, the legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to compile a strategy to address security issues along the northern border, taking into account available pe

rsonell and technology.

No such plan currently exists, and though the Southwest border is regularly the subject of national debate, officials say the norther border is a far greater security risk.

Hochul,

aides say, added a provision to the bill requiring that standards for communication and coordination established by the Government Accountability Office in recent years be finally implemented in the bill, should it be signed into law.

The standards detail improvements in regulations designed to help entities like the U.S. Border Patrol, customs, U.S. Coast Guard and others to better coordinate efforts and reduce redundancy relating to border security.

“Our northern border remains at risk,” Hochul said. “That needs to change to ensure the highest level of security for our nation’s borders and ports of entry. Our government needs to make the most of the resources we have available. We can no longer afford to duplicate border protection efforts on one mile of the border when the next

mile goes unprotected.”

Hochul sits on the House homeland security committee.

Contact city editor Neale Gulley at 693-1000, ext. 4114

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