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Border Security

As a matter of national security, we must secure our borders. Even here in East Tennessee we see the ill effects of an unsecured border, as the opioid epidemic has devastated many households aided by the flow of illicit drugs across our borders. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Border Security Caucus, I will advocate for strong border security measures, including resuming construction of Trump’s wall on our southern border, and strongly oppose efforts to weaken our border security by the Biden Administration.

To this effort, I have co-sponsored the following legislation:

H.R. 2076, the COVID-19 Border Protection (CBP) Act. This legislation would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a strategy to ensure no individual in custody is released into the community during a public health emergency related to coronavirus if the individual may have a communicable disease relating to any public health emergency.

H.R. 2321, the Irregular Migration Surge Border Response Resilience Act. This legislation directs the DHS Secretary to establish a plan to respond to irregular migration surges at the border and to establish an irregular migration surge border response.

H.R. 471, the Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread upon Entry (PAUSE) from COVID-19 Act. This legislation prevents new COVID-19 positive individuals from entering via our land and sea borders with Canada and Mexico. It preserves existing border health protections intended to safeguard the citizens of our country and states that the protection order cannot be removed until all state and federal lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and other mandates end along with state or federally declared public health emergencies and the travel risk level for Canada and Mexico is reduced to Level 1.

H.R. 58, the Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act. This legislation would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to establish a fund where funds may only be used for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining the barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico. It would also require the construction of physical barriers and roads along the entire U.S. border with Mexico, rather than the 700 miles required by current law. Additionally, on March 23, 2021, I joined many of my congressional colleagues in adding my name to a letter addressed to the Comptroller General of the U.S. Government & Accountability Office (GAO) requesting GAO’s investigation and legal opinion on the actions of the Biden Administration to suspend southern border wall construction and to order a freeze of funds provided by Congress for that purpose, which my colleagues and I believe violated the Impoundment Control Act.

H.R. 1091, the Stopping Border Surges Act. This legislation would close loopholes in immigration laws that serve as incentives to aliens to attempt to enter the United States unlawfully.

H.R. 398, the No Asylum for Criminals Act. This legislation would prohibit anyone with a criminal record from being eligible for seeking asylum in the U.S. This would not only make America safer by keeping dangerous criminals out, but it would also alleviate some of the backlog that is overburdening our asylum system.

H.R. 758, the Vaccinate Americans Not Terrorists Act. This legislation would limit the availability of COVID–19 vaccines for certain individuals detained at U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, and Cuba.

H.R. 2209, the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act. This legislation would help continue to address the opioid epidemic. In 2018, the Drug Enforcement Agency DEA used its emergency scheduling authority to place fentanyl onto Schedule I of the list of controlled substances and this legislation would make that permanent. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs even though users may be unaware of it. Mexican cartels are increasingly responsible for producing and supplying fentanyl and China remains a key source of supply for the precursor chemicals that Mexican cartels use to produce the large amounts of fentanyl being smuggled into the United States. We must increase penalties and secure our border to STOP these traffickers.