Action Alert: Sign-on to Oppose McCaul Border Militarization Bill, HR 399


Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015 threatens the human rights, health, safety & welfare of border communities

A new border militarization bill is making its way through the House of Representives, and could reach the House floor for a vote as early as next week. HR 399, the "Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015," was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), and passed through the House Committee on Homeland Security (which McCaul chairs) last week. If passed, the bill would seriously threaten the human rights and welfare of border residents, and would further undermine an already degraded natural environment.

The bill's progress was reportedly delayed this week due to the snowstorm, but GOP observers also note that Republicans are conflicted on their immigration strategy. More conservatives members apparently feel the border bill would be "less confrontational" in the Senate, undermining the challenge to Obama's executive action during the budget battle coming up this next month. Yesterday, House speaker John Boehner indicated to fellow Republicans that he was considering yet another lawsuit against Obama.

Sign-on Letter Opposing McCaul Border Bill HR 399

The Southern Border Communities Coalition (see SBCC's take on the relationship to snowstorm, left) has initiated a sign-on letter to members of Congress. It spells out the many concerns about the intent and substance of the proposed legislation and calls on members to reject it when it comes up for a vote. The deadline for organizations to sign the letter is COB this Friday, Jan. 30. We urge you to read and sign the letter--just click here.


Help to send a message about this dangerous legislation through social media. If you want to use the SBCC graphic above, you can download it here. On Twitter, please include hashtags #NoHR399,#RevitalizeNotMilitarize, #KnowYourBorder, #borderjustice.

We have seen such proposals before, proposing a "zero tolerance" for undocumented migration across borders that drives greater militarization, fuels hostility towards border crossers, and increases abuse and rights violations of migrants and border community members. This dangerous approach to border management flies in the face of attempts to ensure that borders are not zones of "exception" or "exclusion" when it comes to human rights, as spelled out in a new UN document, "Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Human Rights Protections at International Borders."

Environmental groups have also sounded the alarm about the proposed bill, and yesterday sent this letter, co-signed by some 80 organizations, to House members, saying that, "Under the guise of enhancing border security, Section 3 would further militarize natural areas and communities already glutted with border walls, roads and towers; Section 13 would undermine fundamental environmental and conservation laws and would allow further damage to the fragile border environment and the people and communities dependent on it." They noted that the bill would waive sixteen environmental, historic preservation and conservation laws on Federal public and tribal lands within 100 miles of US borders with both Mexico and Canada.

More news:

  To read the bill and see links to other resources, go to our website at or visit the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

We'll share updates as they become available.

Don't forget to add your organization's signature to the letter opposing HR 399!