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Monday, July 22nd, 2024

Border Security and Enforcement Block Grant Act proposes federal grant funding for physical border barriers

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Through new legislation, U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Mike Turner (R-OH) recently placed themselves at odds with the Biden administration by seeking to enable federal grant funding for states to create physical barriers at the southern border.

A hallmark of the previous Trump administration, such physical barriers have become a flashpoint for debates over the border in recent years, and their efficacy hotly contested. For example, Texas and the Biden administration have been locked in a legal battle for months over the former’s new laws seeking to undermine federal authority over the border and allow state arrests of illegal border crossers, as well as the deployment of National Guard troops, concertina wire and floating barriers along the Rio Grande.

However, with the Border Security and Enforcement Block Grant Act of 2024 (H.R. 8256), Republican lawmakers seek to improve national security by helping states like Texas to build, maintain, improve and repair physical border barriers.

“The Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border has led to terrorism threat levels unlike anything we’ve seen since 9/11, with ‘blinking red lights everywhere,’ to quote FBI Director Wray,” McCaul, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said. “As a lifelong Texan, a former federal prosecutor, and a national security chairman, I take that warning extremely seriously. Our bill would provide states with the resources to do what President Biden should have done long ago: close the holes along the border and stop the constant flow of threats into the interior.”

Since January 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that more than 9 million immigrants have attempted to enter the U.S. illegally. Of these people, nearly 2 million evaded capture.

“The legislation that Chairman McCaul and I have introduced would inhibit the flow of illegal migration by providing southwestern states with federal grant funding to construct or repair existing physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border,” Turner said. “The United States is facing its greatest risk of a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, and the porous state of the southern border represents a significant threat to our country’s security posture. To make certain that our communities are protected against violent criminals and illicit drugs like fentanyl, we must secure the border.”

The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Appropriations.