Over 150 Organizations Send Joint Letter to Congress in Opposition to HR 399 Border Bill


A broad cross-section of organizations nationwide has signed a letter opposing HR 399, the "borders first" bill authored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). The bill itself, which was marked-up and passed by the House Homeland Security Committee (which McCaul chairs), has been delayed before consideration by the Rules Committee. Republicans are reportedly in disagreement on moving the bill forward lest it inerfere with their efforts to derail President Obama's executive action decisions.


Over 150 Border, Immigration, Faith, Labor, Environmental, Privacy, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Organization Oppose H.R. 399, the “Secure Our Borders First Act” (Feb. 1, 2015)

As border, immigration, faith, labor, environmental, privacy, civil rights, and human rights advocates, we write to urge you to oppose H.R. 399, the “Secure Our Borders First Act.” Instead of contributing to immigration reform, this bill would devastatingly militarize border communities, harm trade and tourism, despoil the environment where tens of millions of northern and southern border residents live, and imperil their privacy through constant, intrusive drone surveillance.

Just seven months ago, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul argued that border security “demands a plan, verified by outside experts, before one dollar is spent on new resources.” A bipartisan border-security bill doing just that passed out of his Homeland Security Committee unanimously. Now, H.R. 399 tests credulity by requiring a 100% perfect apprehension rate for unauthorized migrants at exorbitant cost and without a plan in place.

While our organizations all bring their own unique priorities and concerns, and don’t all rely on every argument in this letter, we come together in united opposition to H.R. 399. The bill proposes unfunded spending of $10 billion, which appears to be only a down payment on future extravagance, as the Congressional Budget Office warns that “CBO expects that [the Department of Homeland Security] will be unable to meet [the bill’s] deadlines for nearly all construction projects.” These additional billions are to be spent without including any oversight or accountability measures for the nation’s largest law enforcement agency – one of its most troubled – Customs and Border Protection (CBP)...

Read entire letter here.