Comprehensive Immigration Reform
This week, the Senate will continue to consider its comprehensive immigration reform bill – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) – though an amendment introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) regarding border security may hold up the process. Senator Cornyn’s amendment would add requirements to the bill that would make granting legal permanent residency to current undocumented immigrants contingent upon certain metrics, including fully securing the entire border and apprehending 90 percent of all border crossers. Despite the fact that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated last week that he would reject the immigration bill if it did not include Senator Cornyn’s amendment, many members of the bipartisan Gang of Eight that originally drafted S. 744 have spoken out against the amendment and are working on an alternative package.
Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Program
On Tuesday, June 18, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. This hearing will cover issues related to a letter that Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week regarding his concerns about the TWIC program. Under current rules, a chemical plant is required to send DHS information about any unescorted visitors that will be visiting the plant in order to validate the person’s transportation credentials using an identification card reader set up through the TWIC program. In his letter, Rep. Thompson, a longtime critic of the TWIC program, recommended that DHS allow chemical facilities to use existing verification programs, such as the Trusted Traveler or Global Entry systems instead.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, June 18: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing to discuss the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program at 10:00 am.
- Tuesday, June 18: At 10:00 am, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Continuing Concerns Over BioWatch and the Surveillance of Bioterrorism.”
- Wednesday, June 19: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared” at 10:00 am.
Executive Branch Activity
National Infrastructure Protection Plan
As required by Presidential Policy Directive 21, DHS is working to update the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) to include the following information: identification of a risk management framework to be used to strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure; protocols to synchronize communication and actions within the federal government; and a metrics process to be used to measure the nation’s ability to manage and reduce risks to critical infrastructure. DHS is requesting comments on the updated NIPP by July 8.