The U.S. House of Representatives advanced a bill this week to improve border security and prevent potential terrorists and dangerous criminals from entering the country.
The Biometric Identification Migration Alert Program (BITMAP) Authorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 6439) would fully authorize BITMAP — a program led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations established in 2011. BITMAP allows partner-country law enforcement officers to collect and share biometric and biographic data on special interest individuals to identify potential threats utilize illicit pathways to enter the United States.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Bill Keating (D-MA), passed by a vote of 272-119.
“The terror attacks on 9/11 made clear that we needed to strengthen information sharing among our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also with our international partners,” McCaul said. “As terror threats evolve over time, our adversaries have become more agile—desperate to avoid detection and sneak into our country. To combat this threat, we must leverage international partnerships and the most advanced technology to our advantage. ICE’s BITMAP program shares valuable data from law enforcement officers in participating countries with our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”
McCaul said it’s critical for DHS and its partners to have every tool possible to fight these threats.
The House also advanced PreCheck Act of 2018 (H.R. 6265), introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), which ensures that only travelers who are members of a trusted traveler program use Transportation Security Administration security screening lanes.
Further, the House approved the United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act (H.R. 6400), introduced by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), which requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a threat and operational analysis of ports of entry.