TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the Senate-passed version of H.R. 3401, the “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act of 2019,” and will consider including votes on this legislation in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
This legislation would allow the federal government to better respond to the border migration crisis and helps ensure that commerce is not unduly affected. The situation at the southern border grows increasingly desperate with each passing day. We urge the House to pass this legislation expeditiously so it can be signed into law.
H.R. 3401 is a necessary, but in no way sufficient, step towards addressing the current crisis at America’s southern border. The Chamber believes that it is important to ensure that migrants detained at the border are treated with care and compassion. Furthermore, it is important that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal government agencies operating in the area have the needed resources to properly carry out their missions.
In particular, CBP’s operations have been incredibly strained by its response to the influx of migrants entering the U.S. through the southern border. The agency reassigned officers and resources across the country to support the effort to address this migration surge. This response has had an effect on commerce between the U.S. and Mexico. For example, in April a severe tightening of inspection capacity at the border dramatically increased wait times for freight and people crossing the border.
H.R. 3401 would ensure that CBP can effectively maintain its operational capabilities through the remainder of the fiscal year, which includes funding for inspector training, freight services, and the border inspection and processing that is crucial to ensuring the secure and efficient movement of goods and people across our southern border.
Much work remains to fix America’s broken immigration system and the Chamber remains committed to working with Congress to address those issues. However, Congress must confront the current exigency of ensuring that government agencies tasked with securing the borders have the resources to maintain their operations.