ANTI-BORDER CORRUPTION REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 97
(House of Representatives - June 07, 2017)

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[Pages H4676-H4684]
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           ANTI-BORDER CORRUPTION REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2017

  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 374, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 2213) to amend the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 to 
authorize certain polygraph waiver authority, and for other purposes, 
and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 374, the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on 
Homeland Security, printed in the bill, shall be considered as adopted, 
and the bill, as amended, is considered read.
  The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:

                               H.R. 2213

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Anti-Border Corruption 
     Reauthorization Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. HIRING FLEXIBILITY.

       Section 3 of the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 (Public 
     Law 111-376; 6 U.S.C. 221) is amended by striking subsection 
     (b) and inserting the following new subsections:
       ``(b) Waiver Authority.--The Commissioner of U.S. Customs 
     and Border Protection may waive the application of subsection 
     (a)(1) in the following circumstances:
       ``(1) In the case of a current, full-time law enforcement 
     officer employed by a State or local law enforcement agency, 
     if such officer--
       ``(A) has served as a law enforcement officer for not fewer 
     than three years with no break in service;
       ``(B) is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the 
     prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or 
     the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, 
     and has statutory powers for arrest or apprehension;
       ``(C) is not currently under investigation, has not been 
     found to have engaged in criminal activity or serious 
     misconduct, has not resigned from a law enforcement officer 
     position under investigation or in lieu of termination, and 
     has not been dismissed from a law enforcement officer 
     position; and
       ``(D) has, within the past ten years, successfully 
     completed a polygraph examination as a condition of 
     employment with such officer's current law enforcement 
     agency.
       ``(2) In the case of a current, full-time law enforcement 
     officer employed by a Federal law enforcement agency, if such 
     officer--
       ``(A) has served as a law enforcement officer for not fewer 
     than three years with no break in service;
       ``(B) has authority to make arrests, conduct 
     investigations, conduct searches, make seizures, carry 
     firearms, and serve orders, warrants, and other processes;
       ``(C) is not currently under investigation, has not been 
     found to have engaged in criminal activity or serious 
     misconduct, has not resigned from a law enforcement officer 
     position under investigation or in lieu of termination, and 
     has not been dismissed from a law enforcement officer 
     position; and
       ``(D) holds a current Tier 4 background investigation or 
     current Tier 5 background investigation.
       ``(3) In the case of an individual who is a member of the 
     Armed Forces (or a reserve component thereof) or a veteran, 
     if such individual--
       ``(A) has served in the Armed Forces for not fewer than 
     three years;
       ``(B) holds, or has held within the past five years, a 
     Secret, Top Secret, or Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented 
     Information clearance;
       ``(C) holds, or has undergone within the past five years, a 
     current Tier 4 background investigation or current Tier 5 
     background investigation;
       ``(D) received, or is eligible to receive, an honorable 
     discharge from service in the Armed Forces and has not 
     engaged in criminal activity or committed a serious military 
     or civil offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; 
     and
       ``(E) was not granted any waivers to obtain the clearance 
     referred to subparagraph (B).
       ``(c) Termination of Waiver Authority.--The authority to 
     issue a waiver under subsection (b) shall terminate on the 
     date that is five years after the date of the enactment of 
     the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.''.

     SEC. 3. SUPPLEMENTAL COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY AND DEFINITIONS.

       (a) Supplemental Commissioner Authority.--Section 4 of the 
     Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-376) is 
     amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 4. SUPPLEMENTAL COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY.

       ``(a) Non-exemption.--An individual who receives a waiver 
     under subsection (b) of section 3 is not exempt from other 
     hiring requirements relating to suitability for employment 
     and eligibility to hold a national security designated 
     position, as determined by the Commissioner of U.S. Customs 
     and Border Protection.
       ``(b) Background Investigations.--Any individual who 
     receives a waiver under subsection (b) of section 3 who holds 
     a current Tier 4 background investigation shall be subject to 
     a Tier 5 background investigation.
       ``(c) Administration of Polygraph Examination.--The 
     Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is 
     authorized to administer a polygraph examination to an 
     applicant or employee who is eligible for or receives a 
     waiver under subsection (b) of section 3 if information is 
     discovered prior to the completion of a background 
     investigation that results in a determination that a 
     polygraph examination is necessary to make a final 
     determination regarding suitability for employment or 
     continued employment, as the case may be.''.
       (b) Report.--The Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 is 
     amended by adding at the end the following new section:

     ``SEC. 5. REPORTING.

       ``Not later than one year after the date of the enactment 
     of this section and every year for the next four years 
     thereafter, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border 
     Protection shall provide the Committee on Homeland Security 
     of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland 
     Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate information 
     on the number, disaggregated with respect to each of 
     paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subsection (b) of section 3, 
     of waivers requested, granted, and denied, and the reasons 
     for any such denial, and the final outcome of the application 
     for employment at issue. Such information shall also include 
     the number of instances a polygraph examination was 
     administered under the conditions described in subsection (c) 
     of section 4, the result of such examination, and the final 
     outcome of the application for employment at issue.''.
       (c) Definitions.--The Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010, 
     as amended by subsection (b) of this section, is further 
     amended by adding at the end the following new section:

     ``SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

       ``In this Act:
       ``(1) Law enforcement officer.--The term `law enforcement 
     officer' has the meaning given

[[Page H4677]]

     such term in sections 8331(20) and 8401(17) of title 5, 
     United States Code.
       ``(2) Veteran.--The term `veteran' has the meaning given 
     such term in section 101(2) of title 38, United States Code.
       ``(3) Serious military or civil offense.--The term `serious 
     military or civil offense' means an offense for which--
       ``(A) a member of the Armed Forces may be discharged or 
     separated from service in the Armed Forces; and
       ``(B) a punitive discharge is, or would be, authorized for 
     the same or a closely related offense under the Manual for 
     Court-Martial, as pursuant to Army Regulation 635-200 chapter 
     14-12.
       ``(4) Tier 4; tier 5.--The terms `Tier 4' and `Tier 5' with 
     respect to background investigations have the meaning given 
     such terms under the 2012 Federal Investigative Standards.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas (Mr. McCaul) and 
the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Vela) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. McCaul).


                             General Leave

  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous materials on the bill, H.R. 2213.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.


   Permission to Postpone Proceeding on Amendment to H.R. 2213, Anti-
             Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017

  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the question of 
adopting amendment No. 1 to H.R. 2213 may be subject to postponement as 
though under clause 8 of rule XX.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume, 
and in support of the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 
2017.
  Mr. Speaker, the failed immigration policies of the previous 
administration have kept our borders open, weakened our national 
security, and put millions of American lives at risk from an increasing 
number of grave and growing threats. These threats come from drug 
cartels, gang members, human traffickers, and international terrorists 
who seek to do our country harm.
  Fortunately, we now have a partner in the White House who understands 
that we cannot rely on the oceans or other natural boundaries alone to 
separate us from those looking to infiltrate our homeland.
  This morning, I was once again pleased to welcome Secretary Kelly 
before the Committee on Homeland Security and listen to him articulate 
the importance of border security to the Trump administration.
  We know we need a 21st century border to meet 21st century threats. 
Sadly, every few days, we hear a story on the news that reminds us of 
the dangerous consequences of Washington's inability to achieve that 
goal.
  As a former Federal prosecutor and the chief of counterterrorism and 
national security in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas, I have seen 
how people take advantage of our Nation's open borders. Over time, 
those who are determined to come here illegally become agile. They 
adapt to the measures that we take to stop them. It is obvious that we 
need a new approach.
  When it comes to strengthening our borders, additional funds and new 
technology will be necessary. However, our strongest assets are the 
courageous men and women who serve as Border Patrol agents and Customs 
and Border Protection officers. These patriots put their lives on the 
line every single day to protect us while also safeguarding our 
economic relationships that boost American jobs and grow American 
businesses.
  However, we are almost 1,800 Border Patrol agents and 1,000 CBP 
officers short of having the force that we need to keep our borders 
secure. Our forces are stretched thin and our efforts to recruit 
additional officers and agents have slowed due to strict requirements 
for new applicants. Currently, it takes an average of 113 applicants to 
hire just one new officer or agent. This is a major problem that must 
be addressed.
  This legislation offers a solution by providing the CBP Commissioner 
with the flexibility to hire State and local law enforcement officers 
who have already served for 3 years without a break in service, are not 
under investigation or have been found guilty of misconduct, and have 
previously passed a law enforcement polygraph exam.
  It also provides the CBP Commissioner with the authority to hire 
members and veterans of the armed services who have held security 
clearances and who have already completed a robust background check.
  To put it simply, this bill will make it easier for some of America's 
finest law enforcement officers and soldiers to help protect our 
borders.
  As drugs continue to creep into our neighborhoods and wreak havoc on 
our communities and terrorists advance their plans to attack our 
country and disrupt our way of life, we must make sure we have an 
adequate force to protect our borders.
  This needs to be a priority. This should not be a partisan issue. In 
fact, Mr. Speaker, this bill passed unanimously out of my committee. 
Members from both parties should come together, as they did at the 
committee level, as Mr. Vela did, and support this effort.
  American families deserve to know that we are doing everything we can 
to keep our homeland safe. This legislation gives us a chance to do 
just that.
  I would like to thank my colleague and chairwoman of the Subcommittee 
on Border and Maritime Security, Congresswoman McSally from Arizona, 
for all of her hard work on this bill. As a Representative from a 
district along our Southern border, she fully understands more than any 
Member the seriousness of this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I reserve 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border 
Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.
  I have forcefully rejected the President's mass deportation efforts 
from the beginning, and I will continue to do so.
  Many of us have appropriately criticized our President for wrongfully 
attributing the criminal actions of a few undocumented individuals to 
the entire undocumented population. Equally here, it would be 
hypocritical to attribute the criminal actions of a few rogue agents to 
the hardworking men and women that protect our Nation every day and who 
uphold the ethical standards that we should expect.
  The Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017 will assist 
CBP in fulfilling its mission to facilitate legitimate trade and travel 
at our ports of entry.
  According to the Joint Economic Committee, the volume of commerce 
crossing our borders has more than tripled in the last 25 years. 
Currently, 1.1 million people and $5.9 billion in goods enter and exit 
the U.S. at 328 U.S. ports of entry every day.
  In fiscal year 2016, CBP officers and agents seized and/or disrupted 
more than 3.3 million pounds of narcotics across the country, including 
approximately 46,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 48,000 pounds of 
heroin, and 440 pounds of fentanyl, keeping these harmful drugs off of 
our streets.
  CBP has struggled with recruiting the officers and agents to fill its 
frontline ranks at our Nation's air, land, and seaports. Currently, 
there are 1,400 unfilled positions within the CBP workforce at our 
Nation's ports of entry. Delays and short staffing at our ports of 
entry costs the United States economy up to $5.8 billion each year.
  Under this bill, the CBP Commissioner may, on a case-by-case basis, 
exempt certain veterans and State and local law enforcement officers 
who meet specific standards, such as holding a security clearance and 
previously passing a polygraph, from having to take the CBP polygraph 
as a part of the hiring process. All other vetting requirements in the 
12-step hiring process for these applicants will still apply.
  This bill simply grants CBP limited authority to waive a single step 
in its robust vetting process for qualifying applicants who hold 
security clearances or who have successfully completed polygraphs.
  I would like to thank Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Thompson, and 
Chairwoman McSally for their work on this bill. I also thank Chairman 
McCaul and Chairwoman McSally by accepting changes offered by the 
minority to improve this bill.

[[Page H4678]]

  Ranking Member Thompson offered an amendment in committee to require 
CBP to report to Congress how many of these waivers are requested, 
granted, and denied; the reasons for these denials; as well as whether 
these applicants are ultimately hired or not.

                              {time}  1515

  Additionally, it requires CBP to inform Congress on the number of 
applicants who are granted a waiver but undergo a polygraph examination 
anyway based on information discovered during their background 
investigation. Congress must remain vigilant about how the waiver 
authority is used, and this amendment will ensure we have the 
information to do so.
  Mr. Speaker, in short, the men and women on the front lines of CBP 
need our help. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield as much time as she may consume to 
the gentlewoman from Arizona (Ms. McSally), the sponsor of the bill and 
the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security.
  Ms. McSALLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of my bill, 
H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.
  U.S. Customs and Border Protection has two key missions: securing the 
border and facilitating cross-border commerce that powers the Nation's 
economic growth. In order to accomplish those missions, they need 
enough agents and officers to be able to make arrests, interdict drug 
loads, screen cargo from countries of concern, or move legitimate 
commerce and passengers through an air, land, and sea port of entry.
  U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers are, at the end of the 
day, the most important border security and trade resource we have. 
Unfortunately, they are in short supply these days, which has created a 
national security and economic vulnerability that this Congress must 
address.
  CBP is critically understaffed and remains well below its 
congressionally mandated staffing levels by more than 1,000 CBP 
officers and 1,800 border patrol agents. The manpower shortage is 
getting worse. We are losing ground every single month, and there is no 
end in sight as we continue to lose experienced agents and officers 
through attrition without the ability to efficiently hire new ones. For 
example, CBP has invested $200 million in a port of entry 
infrastructure in Arizona, alone, over the last 8 years, but there is 
simply not enough staff to open up every lane that is available.
  I want to emphasize this point: officer and agent shortages did not 
happen overnight. The U.S. Border Patrol has not met its 
congressionally mandated hiring numbers since fiscal year 2014, and CBP 
has been losing officers to man our ports since early in fiscal year 
2016.
  At the current hiring rate, approximately 113 applicants go through 
the process in order to hire a single officer or agent. That means CBP 
needs to have hundreds of thousands of people apply just to meet their 
current needs. We need more manpower to properly secure our border, 
screen passengers at our Nation's airports who arrive from overseas, 
and facilitate cross-border commerce that powers our economy.
  There are several underlying issues that are responsible for these 
current staffing woes. For starters, it takes more than 292 days for 
these 12 distinct steps, on average, to hire a new officer or agent. 
And even with the newer expedited system that is supposed to condense 
these steps into just several days, it still takes an average of 160 
days to complete the process. Very few people can wait somewhere 
between 6 months to a year for a job. We are losing very experienced 
and already vetted applicants.
  Several years ago, the committee began working directly with the 
previous administration to find solutions to these staffing problems 
and the hiring process. The bill under consideration today represents 
the fruits of that bipartisan work and, as a result, was passed out of 
the Homeland Security Committee unanimously last month.
  My bill allows the Commissioner of CBP to waive the polygraph 
requirement for current State and local law enforcement officers who 
have already passed a polygraph examination, Federal law enforcement 
officers who have already passed a stringent background investigation, 
and veterans with at least 3 consecutive years in the military who have 
held a security clearance and passed a background check.
  These exemptions are purely discretionary, not mandatory. If there is 
something in an applicant's history or background that causes CBP 
concern, they can still use the polygraph exam to resolve those 
questions.
  These small changes will provide CBP with immediate relief so they 
are able to quickly, yet judiciously, hire officers and agents from a 
pool of qualified applicants who already maintain the public's trust 
and put their lives on the line for our security and our safety on a 
daily basis.
  I want to make my position very clear. Everyone who applies to be a 
CBP officer or Border Patrol agent should be thoroughly vetted to 
ensure there are no integrity issues in their background and they are 
not at risk for corruption. That is how the current system operates, 
and nothing in this bill would change that. That is why Congress 
required polygraph examinations and stringent background checks for 
agents in the first place.
  I fully support the use of polygraph examinations to weed out people 
who are unfit to wear the badge or carry a gun, but we can and should 
make these very narrow, sensible, and straightforward allowances to 
permit CBP to hire those who have already been vetted and proven by 
their service in uniform that they are suitable to become agents and 
officers.
  The National Treasury Employees Union, who represent the officers who 
are stationed at the ports of entry; the Non Commissioned Officers 
Association, who represent many of our veterans; the Fraternal Order of 
Police; the Border Trade Alliance; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and 
the Department of Homeland Security all support this bill. Indeed, this 
is a rare bill that has united both management and labor.
  I include these letters of support in the Record.

                                             The National Treasury


                                              Employees Union,

                                                     June 5, 2017.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the Customs and Border 
     Protection (CBP) Officers at the Department of Homeland 
     Security who are stationed at 328 land, sea and air ports of 
     entry represented by the National Treasury Employees Union 
     (NTEU), I ask you to vote YES on H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border 
     Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017. This legislation 
     would expand the applicant pool for vacant CBP Officer 
     positions by allowing the CBP Commissioner to waive polygraph 
     requirements for certain categories of job applicants.
       NTEU continues to have significant concerns about the slow 
     pace of hiring at CBP. CBP has struggled to fill 2,000 
     Officer positions that Congress authorized in 2014. A major 
     impediment to fulfilling CBP's hiring goal is that CBP is the 
     only federal agency with a congressional mandate that all 
     front-line officer applicants receive a polygraph test. Two 
     out of three applicants fail its polygraph--about 65 
     percent--more than double the average rate of eight law 
     enforcement agencies according to data provided to the 
     Associated Press. The eight law enforcement agencies that 
     supplied this information showed an average failure rate of 
     28 percent. As an example, the U.S. Drug Enforcement 
     Administration failed 36 percent of applicants in the past 
     two years.
       NTEU does not seek to reduce the standards used by CBP in 
     their hiring process, but believes that there is a problem 
     with how the polygraph is currently administered. We have 
     asked CBP to review its current polygraph policy to 
     understand why CBP is failing applicants at a much higher 
     rate than individuals applying to work at other federal law 
     enforcement agencies. H.R. 2213 expands the authority to 
     waive polygraph examinations for certain veterans and law 
     enforcement officers, while also safeguarding CBP's right to 
     administer the polygraph for these exempted applicants if a 
     need arises.
       Improving the current polygraph program should help in 
     expediting the CBP Officer hiring process so that the 
     existing 1,400 vacancies can be filled allowing CBP to move 
     forward with funding and hiring the 2,107 additional Officers 
     required by CBP's Workforce Staffing Model. NTEU also 
     recommends that CBP allow immediate polygraph re-testing 
     opportunities to those with a No Opinion or Inconclusive 
     result, including those with a No Opinion Counter Measures 
     finding.
       NTEU asks you to vote YES on H.R. 2213.
           Sincerely,
                                               Anthony M. Reardon,
                                               National President.

[[Page H4679]]

     
                                  ____
                                         Non Commissioned Officers


                                                  Association,

                                                     June 6, 2017.
     Hon. Ron Johnson,
     Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
         Affairs, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Johnson: On behalf of the Non-Commissioned 
     Officers Association (NCOA), a Veteran Service Organization 
     of over 55,000 members, I am writing to offer support for the 
     ``Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017,'' which 
     was ordered reported as S. 595 by the Senate Homeland 
     Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017, 
     and reported as H.R. 2213 by the House Homeland Security 
     Committee on May 16, 2017. NCOA supports the goal of 
     increasing border security through easing polygraph 
     requirements for Veterans who have already taken a polygraph 
     and are interested in serving the border security mission.
       NCOA has been working with CBP to help fulfill its hiring 
     and recruiting mission. CBP is faced with numerous 
     challenges--many of which can be assisted by looking to our 
     nation's transitioning Veterans. NCOA has had an extensive 
     and national transition program for our NCOs for decades and 
     believe that our Veterans are qualified, trained, and 
     committed to the mission of protecting our nation.
       NCOA supports amendments to the Anti-Border Corruption Act 
     of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-376), which fosters integrity in the 
     workplace by requiring that all CBP applicants for law 
     enforcement positions receive a polygraph examination before 
     being offered employment. The amendments proposed by S. 595 
     and H.R. 2213 would enable CBP to develop a risk-based 
     approach to extend polygraph waiver eligibility to an 
     applicant who falls under one of three categories and 
     satisfies specific criteria including but not limited to:
       1. A Current State or Local Law Enforcement Officer with a 
     successfully completed polygraph examination with the 
     applicant's law enforcement agency, at least three 
     consecutive years employed as a fully authorized law 
     enforcement officer, and no history of criminal activity or 
     serious misconduct;
       2. A Current Federal Law Enforcement Officer with at least 
     three consecutive years employed as a fully authorized 
     federal law enforcement officer, a current/in-scope Tier 4 
     Background Investigation or a Tier 5 Single Scope Background 
     Investigation, and no history of criminal activity or serious 
     misconduct; or
       3. A Transitioning Military Service Member, Veteran, or 
     Member of the Reserves or National Guard who has at least 
     four years of service in the military, no history of criminal 
     activity or serious misconduct, and who holds or has held 
     (within the past five years) a Secret, Top Secret, or Top 
     Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance and was 
     not granted any waivers to obtain that clearance.
       NCOA believes the flexibility to waive the polygraph for 
     the Veteran categories outlined in the amendment makes sense 
     and would potentially expedite their onboarding to a position 
     in border patrol. Currently, the onboarding process simply 
     takes too long and CBP loses great candidates, and Veterans 
     go elsewhere.
       We also strongly disagree with objections to this small 
     alteration to the polygraph policies--we are talking about 
     Veterans and others who have already committed their lives to 
     protecting the nation and its citizens and to say otherwise 
     is pure fallacy and dirty politics.
       Thank you for your attention and for your efforts to help 
     secure our borders and enable transitioning Veterans to find 
     meaningful employment.
           Respectfully,

                                                Jon Ostrowski,

                                     BMCS (ret.) U.S. Coast Guard,
     Executive Director, NCOA.
                                  ____

                                          National Fraternal Order


                                                    of Police,

                                     Washington, DC, June 7, 2017.
     Hon. Paul D. Ryan,
     Speaker of the House, House of Representatives, Washington, 
         DC.
     Hon. Kevin O. McCarthy,
     Majority Leader, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Nancy P. Pelosi,
     Minority Leader, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Steny H. Hoyer,
     Minority Whip, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Speaker and Representatives McCarthy, Pelosi and 
     Hoyer: I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal 
     Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 2213, 
     the ``Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act,'' and to 
     urge the House to pass it.
       The pace of hiring at the Customs and Border Protection in 
     the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been problematic 
     for several years. This legislation would expand the 
     applicant front line officers pool to fill vacant officer 
     positions at CBP by allowing the Commissioner to waive the 
     polygraph requirements in certain cases. The CBP is one of 
     the few Federal agencies that requires all its front-line 
     officers to pass a polygraph--a test that two of three 
     applicants will fail. This rate of failure is considerably 
     higher than other Federal law enforcement agencies and the 
     FOP strongly recommends that how these tests are administered 
     be reviewed to determine why this is the case.
       The bill will give the CBP greater flexibility by allowing 
     the polygraph test to be waived for certain veterans and law 
     enforcement officers. This will enable the CBP to fill its 
     positions without compromising the integrity of their hiring 
     process.
       On behalf of the more than 330,000 members of the Fraternal 
     Order of Police, we are pleased to support this legislation 
     and look forward to its passage in the House. If I can be of 
     any further assistance on this or any other issue, please do 
     not hesitate to contact me or my Senior Advisor Jim Pasco in 
     my Washington, D.C. office.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Chuck Canterbury,
     National President.
                                  ____



                                        Border Trade Alliance,

                                     Washington, DC, June 7, 2017.
     Hon. Martha McSally,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative McSally: The Border Trade Alliance 
     (BTA) supports your legislation, H.R. 2213, The Anti-Border 
     Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017, which contains 
     important reforms to the polygraph examination process 
     employed in the recruitment of Customs and Border Protection 
     officers.
       For over 30 years, the BTA has sought to support public 
     policies that encourage robust cross-border trade while 
     ensuring our ports of entry have the resources necessary to 
     process that trade securely and efficiently. Adequate port 
     staffing is critical to realizing those goals.
       We share your belief that CBP's ability to recruit new 
     officers into its ranks is hamstrung by a polygraph screening 
     that is overly burdensome and not properly aligned with the 
     needs of today's CBP.
       CBP's failure to meet Congress' calls for hiring 2,000 new 
     officers must be addressed swiftly, or our borders will 
     continue to be characterized by long delays and congestion.
       Your bill wisely seeks to streamline the recruitment 
     process by waving the existing polygraph exam process for 
     current state or local law enforcement officers in good 
     standing if they have already completed a polygraph 
     examination as a condition of their employment or, in the 
     case of federal law enforcement officials, have already 
     completed a Tier 4 or 5 background investigation. In the case 
     of members of the military or veterans, your bill allows the 
     polygraph exam to be waived for individuals who have received 
     high level security clearances. Finally, your legislation 
     contains an added level of security by permitting CBP to 
     administer a polygraph exam in those cases where a background 
     investigation indicates a polygraph examination is necessary 
     to make a final determination regarding an applicant's 
     suitability for employment or an employee's continued 
     employment.
       The reforms contained in your legislation are important as 
     we seek new ways to attract talented, qualified individuals 
     into CBP careers with as few redundant, bureaucratic hurdles 
     as possible, while still strengthening border security and 
     ensuring the highest degree of confidence in new recruits.
       The Border Trade Alliance is proud to support your 
     legislation and we commend you for working in a bipartisan 
     fashion. Our organization stands ready to assist you in your 
     efforts to advance this bill through to passage.
           Sincerely,
     Russell L. Jones,
       Chairman.
     Britton Clarke,
       President.
                                  ____

                                        Chamber of Commerce of the


                                     United States of America,

                                      Washington, DC, May 4, 2017.
     Hon. Michael McCaul,
     Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Bennie Thompson,
     Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Thompson: The U.S. 
     Chamber of Commerce supports H.R. 2213, the ``Anti-Border 
     Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.'' This legislation is 
     a positive development for national security, veterans' 
     employment, and facilitating trade and travel as it addresses 
     the shortage of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 
     officers at our borders.
       Over the past several years, attempts have been made to 
     increase the ranks of CBP officers. It is clear from CBP's 
     own staffing model that additional resources are needed to 
     adequately secure the homeland and facilitate legitimate 
     trade and travel. This legislation would provide the 
     flexibility to expedite the hiring process for qualified 
     individuals who have already proven themselves through 
     service in local law enforcement or the military.
       To meet the staffing levels set by Congress, this 
     legislation is critical and would help on both the national 
     security and economic fronts. A recent study found that every 
     batch of 33 CBP officers hired could lead to an increase in 
     GDP of $61.8 million and employment gains of 1,053 jobs in 
     the U.S.
       The Chamber appreciates the Committee's continued 
     engagement to ensure that our borders have the appropriate 
     resources and looks forward to advancing this bipartisan 
     legislation.
           Sincerely,
                                                  Neil L. Bradley.

[[Page H4680]]

     
                                  ____
                                                U.S. Department of


                                            Homeland Security,

                                     Washington, DC, June 2, 2017.
     Hon. Michael McCaul,
     Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman McCaul: On behalf of the Department of 
     Homeland Security (DHS), I am writing to offer support for 
     the ``Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017,'' 
     which was ordered reported as S. 595 by the Senate Homeland 
     Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017, 
     and reported as H.R. 2213 by the House Homeland Security 
     Committee on May 16, 2017. DHS supports the goal of 
     increasing border security through balanced investments in 
     infrastructure, technology, and personnel.
       CBP has worked aggressively during the past two years to 
     implement its multifaceted recruitment strategy and execute 
     large-scale improvements to its frontline hiring process. 
     While these efforts have led to considerable progress in many 
     areas, CBP is examining every aspect of its pre-employment 
     hiring process to identify areas in which additional 
     improvements can be made. CBP's challenges in recruitment 
     are, to a great extent, contingent on our rigorous hiring 
     process, which is designed to ensure only those individuals 
     who meet the qualifications of CBP's frontline positions and 
     have the highest degree of integrity are recruited to serve 
     as agents and officers safeguarding our borders and ports of 
     entry. While many modifications to streamline the pre-
     employment hiring process are being considered, CBP will not 
     lower its high standards for any of its frontline personnel.
       DHS supports amendments to the Anti-Border Corruption Act 
     of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-376), which fosters integrity in the 
     workplace by requiring that all CBP applicants for law 
     enforcement positions receive a polygraph examination before 
     being offered employment. The amendments proposed by S. 595 
     and H.R. 2213 would enable CBP to develop a risk-based 
     approach to extend polygraph waiver eligibility to an 
     applicant who falls under one of three categories and 
     satisfies specific criteria including but not limited to:
       1. A Current State or Local Law Enforcement Officer with a 
     successfully completed polygraph examination with the 
     applicant's law enforcement agency, at least three 
     consecutive years employed as a fully authorized law 
     enforcement officer, and no history of criminal activity or 
     serious misconduct;
       2. A Current Federal Law Enforcement Officer with at least 
     three consecutive years employed as a fully authorized 
     federal law enforcement officer, a current/in-scope Tier 4 
     Background Investigation or a Tier 5 Single Scope Background 
     Investigation, and no history of criminal activity or serious 
     misconduct; or
       3. A Transitioning Military Service Member, Veteran, or 
     Member of the Reserves or National Guard who has at least 
     four years of service in the military, no history of criminal 
     activity or serious misconduct, and who holds or has held 
     (within the past five years) a Secret, Top Secret, or Top 
     Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance and was 
     not granted any waivers to obtain that clearance.
       DHS values the demonstrated commitment and trustworthiness 
     that these applicants bring to the mission, and the quality 
     of vetting already performed at the state, local and Federal 
     levels for these individuals in sensitive positions. Waivers 
     will not be granted lightly as each criterion will be 
     carefully vetted and reviewed to ensure verification.
       DHS believes the flexibility to waive the polygraph for 
     individuals in these limited populations would potentially 
     expedite their onboarding and allow CBP to direct more 
     resources toward the processing of other groups of 
     applicants, preventing potential bottlenecks in the hiring 
     pipeline. Additionally, the bills would retain the 
     requirement for these specific applicants, like all CBP law 
     enforcement applicants, to undergo a Tier 5 background 
     investigation. Should derogatory information be detected 
     during an applicant's background investigation, CBP may then 
     choose to administer a polygraph examination.
       DHS believes this approach enables CBP to weigh pre-
     employment risks and implement mitigation measures in order 
     to improve its hiring capacity without lowering standards. By 
     affording CBP the flexibility to waive the polygraph 
     examination for eligible individuals in one of these 
     categories, DHS believes CBP will be able to boost applicant 
     numbers and the number of persons entering the academy to 
     begin training. Additionally, retaining the requirement for 
     all law enforcement applicants to undergo a Tier 5 background 
     investigation (the highest level), coupled with random drug 
     testing, periodic reinvestigation, and the continuous 
     evaluation of employees for criminal conduct, will assist in 
     mitigating any potential risk.
       The Office of Management and Budget advises that, from the 
     standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no 
     objection to the presentation of this letter to Congress.
       I appreciate your support of DHS, and I look forward to 
     working with you on this polygraph waiver legislation and 
     future homeland security issues. I have sent identical 
     letters of support to the Ranking Member of the Senate 
     Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the 
     Chair and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Homeland 
     Security and its Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, 
     whose Chairwoman introduced H.R. 2213, and Senator Flake who 
     introduced S. 595.
           Respectfully,
                                                 Benjamin Cassidy,
                      Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs.

  Ms. McSALLY. Let me close with just this example.
  I served in the Air Force for 26 years. In that time, I held a Top 
Secret/SCI clearance with access to compartmentalized programs as well, 
some of the most sensitive information that our government possesses. I 
was entrusted to fly a $12 million aircraft, command a squadron, run 
counterterrorism operations and combat search and rescue operations, 
retiring as a colonel, yet I have never taken a polygraph exam like the 
one required if I wanted to be a Border Patrol line agent after I 
retired, but I was subjected to periodic, very detailed background 
checks, background investigations, now called a tier 5 investigation, 
which is one that every single one of these agents and officers will 
also have to go through. It is a very invasive and thorough 
investigation. They talk to your neighbors, your coworkers, look in 
your financial records, your employers, you name it, to make sure that 
you are qualified.
  So this example is a mismatch of public trust and it doesn't make any 
sense, and we need to give the CBP Commissioner discretion on a narrow 
case-by-case basis to fully vet applicants in the way that makes the 
most sense to fill these positions while preventing corruption.
  I would like to thank Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Thompson, 
and especially my ranking member, Mr. Vela, for his support and work 
with us on this important bill.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Lofgren).
  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I do not at all question the intentions of 
the proponents of this bill. I understand that the entire rationale is 
to expedite hiring because of the vast number of vacancies. I do, 
however, question the wisdom of this approach.
  I think it is worth noting that, currently, two-thirds of the 
applicants for CBP fail the polygraph test; and that is important not 
as a barrier, but because that polygraph test reveals misconduct that 
makes them ineligible.
  Now, the current Department of Homeland Security inspector general, 
John Roth, has expressed strong reservations about polygraph changes, 
the waivers, and, specifically, about these bills. He indicates that we 
need to identify other ways to make hiring more efficient ``without 
sacrificing integrity and effectiveness.'' And, in fact, the DHS OIG is 
currently auditing the CBP polygraph program, as is the GAO.
  If you take a look at the bill, it allows for exemptions of the 
polygraph to certain categories of people, one of which is law 
enforcement officers who have undergone a polygraph examination as a 
condition of employment within the past 10 years. Well, you know, there 
was actually a Freedom of Information request on who flunked the 
polygraph tests in the CBP, and what has come out is that people who 
fall into this exemption admitted conduct that would make them 
ineligible, including child pornography, smuggling of drugs, theft.
  It is fine to say that this would only be used when you knew that 
there wasn't a problem. The problem with that argument is sometimes you 
don't find out what the problem is until you subject the applicant to a 
polygraph or they know that they are about to be subjected to a 
polygraph, in which case, they own up.
  So the Border Patrol is to be honored; they do a great job for us. 
But we know that the Sinaloa drug cartel is trying to recruit 
applicants. The last thing we need is for them to succeed, for our sake 
as well as for our brave men and women in the Border Patrol.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Louisiana (Mr. Higgins).
  Mr. HIGGINS of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of 
H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill is about standing up for Border Patrol cops. 
Border Patrol is woefully undermanned. This bill addresses this serious 
issue. In order to stand strong against jihadist terror and cartel 
organized crime, we

[[Page H4681]]

must have an adequate number of boots on the ground.
  Mr. Speaker, I served my community for many, many years as a street 
cop. I know exactly what it is to work patrol under dangerous, 
exhausting conditions. My Border Patrol brothers and sisters of the 
thin blue line are stretched too thin.
  Hear my words: These are high caliber law enforcement professionals, 
but they are well below the staffing levels mandated by Congress.
  This bill is not about lowering standards, as some critics claim. To 
the contrary, this bill allows for a commonsense approach to hire 
experienced, highly qualified patriots to fill the ranks of our front 
lines. This bill allows reasonable degrees of discretion that 
streamline the vetting and hiring process at Customs and Border Patrol.
  I would like to thank Chairwoman McSally for introducing this bill, 
and I urge my colleagues to support the law enforcement community and 
vote in favor of this important legislation.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from 
New Mexico (Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham).
  Ms. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I had the 
benefit, of course, of hearing my colleague, Congresswoman Lofgren, and 
I appreciate my colleagues on the other side because, agreed, we all 
want there to be the right sort of national security protections at the 
border, but we want to make sure that we are maximizing those 
opportunities and recognize that there has been an issue of being able 
to address the shortage of officers. But to address a workforce 
shortage by minimizing the very requirements that not only preserve our 
national security and protect the men and women at our border, I would 
agree, is not the way that we should be proceeding.
  Mr. Speaker, in fact, I rise in opposition to the Anti-Border 
Corruption Reauthorization Act. As a Member from a border State that 
heavily trades with Mexico, I certainly understand the value of having 
sufficient customs officials manning our ports of entry and agents 
protecting our border; but eliminating the critical polygraph 
requirements for certain CBP applicants only undermines our Nation's 
safety, given this agency's historic connection to organized crime, 
drug cartels, and corruption.

  The DHS inspector general has warned that weakening CBP polygraph 
requirements would make our southern border more vulnerable and that we 
should, instead, identify ways to make hiring more efficient without 
sacrificing integrity and effectiveness.
  Mr. Speaker, in fact, I live in a community that the FBI has now 
identified as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, 
Albuquerque, New Mexico, primarily because of the drug cartel. The drug 
trade in our city and in our State is significant, so we understand 
having sufficient officers.
  While I strongly oppose this bill, I am committed to working with my 
colleagues and CBP to identify solutions that won't jeopardize national 
security.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Arrington).
  Mr. ARRINGTON. Mr. Speaker, in the preamble of the Constitution, our 
Founding Fathers explained a more perfect Union required the Federal 
Government to do a few things, and to do them well. At the top of the 
list is the Federal Government's responsibility to provide for the 
common defense and secure our freedom.
  There is no freedom without security. These concepts, these pillars 
upon which this great Nation was founded, must be proactively protected 
every day by men and women across this Nation. A select few of those 
men and women wake up every morning to patrol and protect our sovereign 
Nation's border in the face of drug smuggling, human trafficking, and 
violent criminal activity.

                              {time}  1530

  They work to safeguard our Nation, enforce the rule of law, and 
promote free trade and commerce through our ports of entry. Yet the 
previous administration's policy left our Border Patrol and Customs 
operations hamstrung and significantly understaffed.
  As someone who represents a border State, I have seen and experienced 
those vulnerabilities firsthand.
  To say that our Border Patrol and Customs operations are woefully 
understaffed is woefully understated. We are almost 3,000 officers and 
agents short of the minimum that is mandated by Congress. One reason 
for this understaffing is the unreasonable and protracted hiring 
processes.
  In 2015, it took more than 460 days, on average, and 11 separate 
steps to hire a new officer or agent. This is absolutely absurd, even 
by government standards, and it must be fixed. That is why today I am 
proud to cosponsor H.R. 2213. This legislation provides a more 
commonsense and expeditious process for hiring border personnel.
  We also need enough Customs officers to foster efficient trade for a 
robust economy. A recent study found that every batch of 33 CBP 
officers hired could lead to an increase in GDP of $60 million and an 
employment gain of over 1,000 jobs. For too long, the Federal 
Government has abdicated its chief responsibility of securing our 
borders and protecting our citizens. We must put the safety and 
security of the American people first and give our Border Patrol and 
the CBP the staff they need to do their job.
  Mr. Speaker, therefore, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2213, 
and I applaud Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Vela, and Representative 
McSally for their leadership on this critical issue.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. Gonzalez).
  Mr. GONZALEZ of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2213, 
the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.
  This legislation aims to address a staffing issue that has plagued 
the United States Customs and Border Patrol for many years.
  H.R. 2213 would add the option to waive the polygraph test for a 
select few individuals who have already successfully taken and passed a 
similar polygraph test in the past. These individuals are veterans, 
members of our Armed Forces, or law enforcement officers with clean 
records and years of honorable service.
  A veteran with secret clearance and an honorable discharge, 3 years 
of service, and a tier 5 background check is someone I would hold in 
high regard and exempt from an unnecessary polygraph.
  I would not be in favor of this bill if it was exempting a polygraph 
test to the general public. This is a special group--our veterans and 
our law enforcement.
  This legislation would not change the United States Customs and 
Border Patrol requirements for background checks or interviews. Customs 
and Border Patrol would still have their candidates undergo the regular 
battery of tests and checks. Customs and Border Patrol would still ask 
a candidate who waived the polygraph under these proposed changes to 
take the examination. This bill will not lower the standards for entry. 
Rather, the flexibility it provides would prevent potential bottlenecks 
in the hiring pipelines and eliminate redundancy.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to appease the concerns of several of my 
colleagues and say that this is not about building up a deportation 
force. Mr. Speaker, I would like to reaffirm that this legislation 
exclusively applies to Customs and Border Patrol, and it will not 
change the hiring procedures for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 
This bill is about ensuring the agency hires only the best and the most 
honorable candidates. This bill is about providing employment and 
advancement opportunities for our servicemembers and law enforcement 
and creating job opportunities for those living in our border 
communities and border States.
  Mr. Speaker, I also live in a border community, and I support this 
bill.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Carter), the chairman of the Homeland Security 
Appropriations Subcommittee.
  Mr. CARTER of Texas. Mr. Speaker, this polygraph waiver provision 
that is proposed here is a darn good idea that is a long time overdue 
from happening. The reality is the hiring process of the Border Patrol, 
and, in fact, I would argue almost everything under my jurisdiction in 
Homeland Security, is as slow as molasses in the wintertime. It just 
doesn't move.

[[Page H4682]]

  Meanwhile, we have got skilled law enforcement people applying, 
skilled former veterans with high clearances who are applying for these 
jobs and being stumbled by the lack of polygraph operators available to 
do it.
  This is a choice and a right choice of setting a priority for those 
people who have served, proving their worth, and are asking to be part 
of the defense of our national borders. I support this wholeheartedly. 
I support Chairwoman McSally's concept here. It is great. It starts a 
new way of doing things. We need more than anything else in the Federal 
Government--if a new way of doing things is the right way, we ought to 
be doing it. Nobody is going to keep from checking on people. You can 
still make them take a polygraph if you run across something you don't 
like. But it is a good idea whose time has come. Let's be modern 
Americans and have new ideas and make those new ideas work.
  I commend everyone here in support of this. I am proud to be a 
cosponsor of this bill, and I think, for a change, government is making 
a good start at new ideas.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Gutierrez).
  Mr. GUTIERREZ. Mr. Speaker, I will not mince words. Anyone who votes 
for this bill is voting to support and implement Donald Trump's views 
on immigration, his desire to militarize our southern border, and his 
fantasy of a mass deportation force. You cannot spin it any other way.

  If we want to lower the standards for screening and hiring CBP 
officers, eliminate checks that could help weed out candidates with 
criminal histories or criminal intentions, and water down the integrity 
of this important national security source, this bill is for you.
  But if you care about border security and the integrity of the 
officers, you should join me in voting against the bill.
  To me and a lot of other people watching this debate, this is about 
something else. Remember that man descending the golden escalators at 
Trump Tower announcing his campaign for President by saying Mexicans 
who come to the U.S. are rapists, drug dealers, and murderers? Remember 
him? Do you want to buy into his vision of immigrants as a brown horde 
intent on doing America harm?
  If you are onboard with this, you are also onboard with building a 
wall; onboard with billions to be spent on deporting moms and dads who 
have lived here for decades; going after DREAMers as the Trump 
administration is doing today, deporting DREAMers from the United 
States of America. Where do you want to draw the line on the Trump 
deportation agenda? I say draw the line right here, right now, and 
don't give another inch. There are many ways to secure the Nation, but 
watering down the hiring standards of our men and women in uniform 
should not be one of them. Let's secure the border. Let's have them 
have the same test at the border that you have a DEA agent, FBI agent, 
Secret Service agent. What are we going to do? Not have them take 
polygraph tests? That is going to make America safe. I doubt it.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. Cuellar).
  Mr. CUELLAR. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Representative Vela for 
yielding time to me and also Chairman McCaul and the folks who have 
been working on this particular bill.
  CBP currently has a staffing deficit of 3,000 individuals for the 
uniform components, that is the U.S. Border Patrol, Office of Field 
Operations, Air and Marine Operations, which jeopardizes our national 
and our economic security.
  This legislation does not cover ICE. CBP, Border Patrol, and Air and 
Marine. Nobody else. This has nothing to do with deportation.
  Long before President Trump became a candidate for the office, 
Congress authorized CBP to hire an additional 2,000 officers. That was 
about 4 years ago. Chairman Carter, Michael McCaul, we authorized 2,000 
officers. Up to now, Mr. Speaker, we have not been able to hire those 
2,000 officers because of the polygraph exam.
  In fact, 65 percent of those individuals who applied for CBP are 
rejected, which is twice the amount that you have for other Federal 
officers, FBI, DEA, when they take their polygraph. I am talking about 
polygraph exams.
  Again, this does not cover ICE. What this bill actually does, it will 
strengthen CBP's efforts to secure our border by filling those 
positions. I represent Laredo, the largest inland port, 14,000 traders 
a day. They have been delayed because we don't have enough CBP 
officers, and we need to get them.
  What this bill does, it does not lower the standards. I emphasize, it 
does not lower the standards. It streamlines the background 
investigation for a limited number of veterans, military officers, law 
enforcement. If you are a local law enforcement and you take a 
polygraph exam, then you can ask for this waiver. Or if you are a 
servicemember or a veteran with the highest background investigation, 
you can get a waiver. Or if you are current Federal law enforcement 
with the highest background exam, you can get a waiver. But, again, if 
somebody finds out those vetted individuals still need to take a 
polygraph, then you would take it.
  Finally, the last thing to conclude is, Members, this is not the 
first time we have gotten a waiver.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. VELA. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. CUELLAR. If you look at the National Defense Authorization 
polygraph waiver language, CBP has already gotten requests for waivers. 
In fact, it has already been done. This is not the first time that we 
are doing this. It is already the law. It doesn't bring down the 
standards. It allows us to have more men and women at the border, and 
this is why I ask you to support this legislation.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, and I reserve 
the balance of my time to close.
  Mr. VELA. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I yield myself 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization 
Act of 2017, aims to bring some relief to the tremendous staffing 
shortages at our ports of entry by providing CBP with limited authority 
to waive its polygraph requirement on a case-by-case basis for certain 
veterans and State and local law enforcement officers in its hiring 
process.
  H.R. 2213 is endorsed by the NTEU, the union that represents 
frontline CBP officers.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, in concluding this debate, it is important to note this 
bill is a bipartisan effort, passing unanimously out of my committee. 
It is supported by Ranking Member Thompson, Congressman Vela, and we 
thank you for that, and others. Again, it passed out unanimously.

  I was pleased to see also a Dear Colleague letter sent by my 
Democratic counterparts on the Homeland Security Committee urging the 
passage of this bill. This only further underscores the bipartisan 
nature of this effort.
  It is also supported, Mr. Speaker, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 
the Border Trade Alliance, the CBP officers' union, and the Fraternal 
Order of Police, among others.
  The issue is very clear. Not passing this bill will continue to keep 
American families at risk from dangers of human traffickers, drug 
smugglers, and international terrorists. Right now, we simply don't 
have an adequate number of Border Patrol agents and CBP officers to 
safeguard our Nation's border. We need to fix that. That is what this 
legislation does. It will allow us to bolster our forces with talented 
law enforcement officials and military personnel who have been 
previously vetted and have already demonstrated their commitment and 
patriotism to their fellow Americans.

                              {time}  1545

  As I have stated before, while new infrastructure and technology will 
be important in protecting this Nation, the brave men and women who 
confront threats to our homeland are our greatest assets.
  Once again, I thank Congresswoman McSally, Ranking Members Vela and

[[Page H4683]]

Thompson, and all those who supported this bill. It will help 
strengthen our borders.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I will be unable to vote today on H.R. 
2213, the Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act. If I would be 
present, I would vote against the bill.
  While this bill purports to fast track the hiring of Customs and 
Border Patrol (CBP) agents in order to ensure our national security, it 
would actually water down hiring practices and allow potential 
vulnerabilities in the country's largest law enforcement agency. H.R. 
2213 would allow certain CBP applicants to bypass polygraph testing.
  In 2010 Congress passed the Anti-Border Corruption Act, which 
mandated CBP applicants pass a polygraph test as part of their hiring 
process. This bill was an essential step after an influx of corruption 
cases were revealed within the agency--ranging from drug trafficking to 
accepting bribes. Decreasing hiring standards as proposed by H.R. 2213 
would do exactly what the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010 fixed.
  Instead of finding common-sense ways to expedite the hiring process 
without compromising the integrity of the agency, H.R. 2213 
irresponsibly cuts corners in an attempt to keep President Trump's 
campaign promises of quickly increasing border patrol agents.
  I am absolutely committed to regaining control of our country's 
borders and have continually fought to restrict individuals who would 
do our citizens harm--both through terrorist attacks or drug 
smuggling--from entering the United States. This ill-conceived 
legislation does nothing to ensure increased border security.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.


  Amendment No. 1 Offered by Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico

  Ms. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I have an 
amendment at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 9, after line 4, insert the following:

     SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take 
     effect on the later of the following dates:
       (1) The date on which all of the following have been 
     completed:
       (A) The Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection 
     has conducted an evaluation and pilot program of the Test for 
     Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption (TES-C).
       (B) The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland 
     Security has certified such evaluation and pilot program.
       (C) The Commissioner submits to Congress a report on such 
     evaluation and pilot program.
       (2) The date on which the Inspector General of the 
     Department of Homeland Security completes a risk assessment 
     of the population of individuals who could receive waivers 
     under section 3(b) of the Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010, 
     as amended by this Act, and submits to Congress certification 
     that providing waivers to such individuals would not endanger 
     national security, undermine workforce integrity, or increase 
     corruption.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 374, the 
gentlewoman from New Mexico (Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham) and a Member 
opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from New Mexico.
  Ms. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, this is, in 
fact, a national security issue. No other Federal law enforcement 
agency in the country--not the FBI, DEA, ATF, or Secret Service--makes 
any exceptions to their polygraph exam.
  I understand that the CBP has a staffing shortage, but watering down 
vetting standards is dangerous and could lead to more corruption at the 
largest law enforcement agency in the country. In fact, 2,170 CBP 
personnel were arrested for sexual assault, excessive force, conspiring 
with international drug trafficking organizations, and other offenses 
between 2005 and 2012.
  In response, Congress enacted legislation to require every applicant 
to undergo a polygraph exam--no exceptions. DHS' own Integrity Advisory 
Panel and the GAO have both recommended that the current polygraph 
testing be expanded, not reduced, given the higher rates of corruption 
at CBP than any other Federal law enforcement agency.
  This bill takes us backward, and some current and former DHS 
officials have expressed concerns that the bill could expose the agency 
to corrupt individuals who could undermine the integrity of the 
workforce.
  DHS Inspector General John Roth warned that the proposed legislation 
``could put CBP at significant risk and that while it may sound 
reasonable to say you could waive requirements from former military 
personnel because they have passed a polygraph, Border Patrol agents 
work in a different environment that is not as controlled as the 
military.''
  Former CBP head of Internal Affairs has stated that ``very few 
members of the military take polygraphs or have comprehensive 
background checks, and the quality of State or local law enforcement 
polygraphs varies widely.''
  My amendment would delay the implementation of the bill until, one, 
CBP completes its ongoing pilot program of an alternative polygraph 
test that may help speed up hiring while maintaining vetting standards; 
and, two, the DHS inspector general determines that the bill would not 
endanger our national security, undermine workforce integrity, or, in 
fact, increase corruption.
  I recognize that CBP is managing hiring and staffing issues. Passing 
this bill without knowing its potential risks or consequences is not 
only shortsighted, but I think it is irresponsible. We shouldn't 
blindly experiment with our Nation's security given that drugs, 
weapons, and human trafficking, as well as terrorism, are all threats 
we are facing at the border.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in voting ``yes'' for my amendment to 
help safeguard national security and protect the integrity of the CBP 
and its officers.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Schneider), my friend and colleague.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New Mexico 
for yielding. I appreciate her leadership on this issue, and, as a 
cosponsor, I rise in strong support of this amendment.
  Our Customs and Border Patrol officers face a difficult mission in an 
extremely challenging environment. Polygraph testing is an important 
tool to ensure those charged with patrolling our border are not 
corruptible by drug traffickers or other criminal elements.
  I am sympathetic to the hiring and staffing challenges facing this 
agency, but we cannot cut corners or jeopardize the security of our 
border.
  This amendment delays the implementation of this legislation until 
CBP can complete its ongoing test of an alternative, more efficient 
polygraph test.
  This amendment also requires DHS determine these changes in the 
underlying bill to our polygraph procedures do not endanger our 
national security.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment to 
ensure we do not create unnecessary risks to the security of our 
border.
  Ms. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 
minute to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lofgren), my colleague.
  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I think this is a good solution to the 
dilemma that faces us. We do have a hiring deficit in the Border 
Patrol, but we cannot give up on the need to fully vet these people.
  The independent inspector said that the polygraphs had stopped dozens 
of applicants who have admitted to participation in human trafficking, 
defrauding the government, and have links with cartels intent to 
infiltrate CBP.
  There has been, actually, a release from the Freedom of Information 
Act of people who would be eligible for the exemption who admitted, 
under the polygraph, to sexual assault, to child pornography, to taking 
classified information from Afghanistan, to taking classified 
information from Iraq, a sheriff's employee who engaged in theft, and a 
police officer who was a smuggler. The Border Patrol cannot afford 
this.
  I think the gentlewoman's amendment actually preserves what we want, 
and I would highly recommend that we approve it.
  Ms. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 
minutes.

[[Page H4684]]

  

  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Lujan Grisham 
amendment.
  Let me say, first, that the Secretary of Homeland Security testified 
before my committee this morning, a decorated four-star general serving 
in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the head of SOUTHCOM. This man knows the 
border. Secretary Kelly supports this legislation.
  I find it a bit offensive that decorated veterans who have already 
received clearances somehow would present a threat to the security of 
the United States, so I reject that argument.

  This amendment strikes me as an unnecessary and harmful delay tactic 
that would prevent CBP from implementing the much-needed flexibility 
provided for in the underlying bill.
  If the delays called for in this amendment were put in place, CBP 
would have to sit and wait until certain unnecessary obstacles were 
overcome, some of which are completely out of their control. All the 
while, they would continue to hemorrhage officers and agents, 
threatening the Nation's border security and the flow of commerce in 
and out of the country. This could put our national security at risk 
and would be, further, detrimental to the flow of legitimate trade and 
travel.
  CBP has missed hiring targets for Border Patrol agents for 4 years 
and CBP officers for almost 18 months. We need additional officers and 
agents now, simply to meet the congressionally mandated CBP staffing 
levels that have been put in place for a year. We cannot wait for more 
reports and evaluations.
  Sadly, this amendment looks to me like an attempt by opponents of the 
bill to prevent the important provisions of this bill from going into 
effect in a timely manner, thus preventing the hiring of already 
trusted and vetted individuals who have served their Nation and the 
military with honor and distinction.
  It is also important to underscore two points here: one, that all 
applicants will continue to be fully vetted, including a rigorous tier 
5 background investigation, which is equivalent to the investigation 
performed for all servicemembers who hold a top secret clearance; and 
second, the authority granted under this bill is discretionary. If the 
CBP Commissioner wishes to require a polygraph examination for any 
applicant for any reason, he can and should still do so.
  Mr. Speaker, we cannot afford to wait any longer. As the Speaker 
knows, who is briefed on the threats, as do I, in a classified setting, 
the threats are real. This Nation is at risk, and we cannot afford to 
wait.
  So, for these reasons, I oppose the amendment, and I urge my 
colleagues to reject it.
  Let me just close, again, by saying I oppose the amendment. The men 
and women wearing the uniform on the front lines of our ports and 
borders need relief now, and any delay tactics should be rejected. 
Therefore, I urge opposition, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the previous question 
is ordered on the bill, as amended, and on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from New Mexico (Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham).
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New 
Mexico (Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham).
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, and the 
order of the House of today, further proceedings on this question will 
be postponed.

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