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112th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report
                                                                112-206
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 497

 
        JAIME ZAPATA BORDER ENFORCEMENT SECURITY TASK FORCE ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

                   COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND

                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                              to accompany

                                H.R. 915

   TO ESTABLISH A BORDER ENFORCEMENT SECURITY TASK FORCE PROGRAM TO 
ENHANCE BORDER SECURITY BY FOSTERING COORDINATED EFFORTS AMONG FEDERAL, 
STATE, AND LOCAL BORDER AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS TO PROTECT UNITED 
    STATES BORDER CITIES AND COMMUNITIES FROM TRANS-NATIONAL CRIME, 
 INCLUDING VIOLENCE ASSOCIATED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING, ARMS SMUGGLING, 
ILLEGAL ALIEN TRAFFICKING AND SMUGGLING, VIOLENCE, AND KIDNAPPING ALONG 
  AND ACROSS THE INTERNATIONAL BORDERS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND FOR 
                             OTHER PURPOSES




                August 28, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

  Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of August 2, 2012
        COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

               JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut, Chairman
CARL LEVIN, Michigan                 SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii              TOM COBURN, Oklahoma
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware           SCOTT P. BROWN, Massachusetts
MARK L. PRYOR, Arkansas              JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana          RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
JON TESTER, Montana                  RAND PAUL, Kentucky
MARK BEGICH, Alaska                  JERRY MORAN, Kansas

                  Michael L. Alexander, Staff Director
       Beth M. Grossman, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel
               Blas Nunez-Neto, Professional Staff Member
               Nicholas A. Rossi, Minority Staff Director
             Christopher J. Burford, Minority CBP Detailee
                  Trina Driessnack Tyrer, Chief Clerk
                                                       Calendar No. 497
112th Congress
                                 SENATE
                                                                 Report
 2d Session                                                     112-206

======================================================================




        JAIME ZAPATA BORDER ENFORCEMENT SECURITY TASK FORCE ACT

                                _______
                                

                August 28, 2012.--Ordered to be printed

  Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of August 2, 2012

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lieberman, from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
                    Affairs, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 915]

    The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H.R. 915) to establish 
a Border Enforcement Security Task Force program to enhance 
border security by fostering coordinated efforts among Federal, 
State, and local border and law enforcement officials to 
protect United States border cities and communities from trans-
national crime, including violence associated with drug 
trafficking, arms smuggling, illegal alien trafficking and 
smuggling, violence, and kidnapping along and across the 
international borders of the United States, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment in the nature of a substitute and recommends 
that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Legislative History..............................................4
 IV. Section-by-Section Analysis......................................4
  V. Estimated Cost of Legislation....................................5
 VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................6
VII.  Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported...........6

                         I. Purpose and Summary

    In order to more effectively target cross-border criminal 
networks, H.R. 915 codifies an existing effort by the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish Border 
Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) units. These units are 
comprised of DHS and other federal, state, and local law 
enforcement personnel, and they coordinate efforts to stop 
illicit networks in areas that are impacted by cross-border 
threats. The bill authorizes the Secretary to establish BEST 
units in jurisdictions that are adversely impacted by cross-
border crime, to direct the assignment of federal personnel to 
the BEST as appropriate, and to provide financial assistance to 
state, local, and tribal law enforcement in order to encourage 
increased participation. It also requires that the Secretary 
submit an annual report to Congress about the effectiveness of 
the BEST program.

                II. Background and Need for Legislation

    The BEST program grew from U.S. Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement's (ICE) recognition that the increasing violence in 
Mexico and the growing sophistication of the criminal networks 
operating along the southwest border required an interagency 
response. In 2005, ICE started Operation Black Jack in Laredo, 
Texas, bringing together federal, state, and local law 
enforcement officials in order to pool their legal authorities 
and create more comprehensive investigations into criminal 
activity along the border. According to Marcy Forman, the 
former Director of Investigations at ICE, ``[i]n its first six 
months, its target-driven focus led to the dismantling of a 
murder/kidnapping cell operating on both sides of the border, 
including the seizure of high-powered fully automatic weapons 
and live grenades; the components to make over 100 improvised 
explosive devices (IEDs), such as pipe bombs and grenades; and 
over $1 million in U.S. currency.''\1\ Operation Black Jack's 
success led ICE to expand the program to other Special Agent in 
Charge (SAC) offices and to rename it the Border Enforcement 
and Security Taskforce (BEST).\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Testimony of Marcy Forman, Director, Office of Investigations, 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, before the House 
Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Homeland Security, March 10, 
2009.
    \2\Testimony of Marcy Forman, Director, Office of Investigations, 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, before the House 
Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Homeland Security, March 10, 
2009.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    According to ICE, ``[e]ach BEST concentrates on the 
prevalent threat in its geographic area, including: cross-
border violence; weapons smuggling and trafficking; contraband 
smuggling; money laundering and bulk cash smuggling; human 
smuggling and trafficking; transnational criminal gangs; and 
tunnel detection''\3\ The BEST program incorporates personnel 
from ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Bureau of 
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. 
Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Coast 
Guard (USCG), and key state and local law enforcement 
agencies.\4\ In practice, the makeup of each particular BEST 
depends on the prevalent threat in a given jurisdiction. As a 
result, not all of the agencies listed participate in each 
BEST.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Testimony of Marcy Forman, Director, Office of Investigations, 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, before the House 
Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Homeland Security, March 10, 
2009.
    \4\http://www.ice.gov/best/
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Today, ICE deploys 489 of its personnel to 31 BESTs, 
including twelve on the Southwest border with Mexico, four on 
the Northern border with Canada, fourteen at major seaports, 
and one in Mexico City. During Fiscal Year 2011, BEST offices 
initiated 1,575 cases, made 1,784 criminal arrests, produced 
1,204 indictments, and obtained 918 convictions. During that 
same year, BESTs seized over $25 million in illicit currency, 
37,000 pounds of cocaine, 262,000 pounds of marijuana, 1,400 
pounds of heroin and methamphetamines, and almost 2,000 illegal 
guns.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Information provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 
Office of Congressional Affairs, July 24, 2012.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The BEST program is a crucial tool in our government's 
arsenal against the growing threat posed by the Mexican drug 
cartels and other transnational criminal networks. In January 
2010, the White House completed a comprehensive review of 
transnational organized crime (TOC) that concluded that 
``organized crime has expanded dramatically in size, scope, and 
influence and that it poses a significant threat to national 
and international security.''\6\ As part of this review, the 
White House released a Strategy to Combat Transnational 
Organized Crime that voiced concern over the growing links 
between transnational criminal groups and terrorist entities, 
and the proliferation of facilitators, or ``semi-legitimate 
players such as accountants, attorneys, notaries, bankers, and 
real estate brokers, who cross both the licit and illicit 
worlds and provide services to legitimate customers, criminals, 
and terrorists alike.''\7\ In order to meet this rapidly 
evolving and dangerous threat, the Strategy highlighted the 
importance of marshalling a collaborative, interagency effort 
against transnational organized crime: ``Criminal 
investigations will use an integrated approach that 
incorporates financial, weapons, and TOC-related corruption 
investigations into a comprehensive attack on the entire 
criminal organization . . . The use of multi-agency task forces 
such as the ICE-led Border Enforcement Security Task Forces 
will remain essential to our efforts to investigate and 
interdict TOC threats at our borders.''\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, p. 3, July 19, 
2011. Available at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/
Strategy_to_Combat_Transnational_Organized_Crime _July_2011.pdf]
    \7\Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, p. 8 July 19, 
2011.
    \8\Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, p. 22, July 
19, 2011.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Committee recognizes the important role that the BEST 
program plays in investigating and dismantling criminal 
networks operating along our nation's borders, and believes 
that legislatively authorizing the program will enhance its 
capabilities. The Committee also honors the ultimate sacrifice 
made by ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, who was brutally murdered in 
the line of duty by Mexican drug cartel members in Mexico on 
February 15, 2011 and after whom H.R. 915 is named.
    As passed by the House, H.R. 915 establishes Border 
Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) units within ICE These 
units are to be comprised of agents from ICE, CBP, the Coast 
Guard, and other federal, state, local, and foreign law 
enforcement personnel, in order to coordinate efforts to stop 
illicit networks in areas that are impacted by cross-border 
threats. The House-passed bill authorizes the Secretary to 
establish BEST units in jurisdictions that are adversely 
impacted by cross-border crime, to direct the assignment of 
federal personnel to the BEST as appropriate, and to provide 
financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and foreign law 
enforcement in order to encourage increased participation. It 
also requires that the Secretary submit an annual report to 
Congress about the effectiveness of the BEST program. Lastly, 
it authorizes appropriations of $10 million each year from 
fiscal year 2012 through 2016.
    During consideration of the bill by this Committee, Member 
concerns led the Committee to adopt a substitute that made 
three key changes to House-passed H.R. 915. The Committee 
substitute:
          1. Removed the authorization for appropriations in 
        the bill. The Committee expects that, because this bill 
        authorizes an existing program that is currently being 
        funded, no new funds will be needed to implement the 
        bill;
          2. Inserted a provision requiring the Secretary to 
        ensure that BEST units established under the bill do 
        not duplicate the efforts of other interagency 
        taskforces and centers in a given jurisdiction; and
          3. Removed the authority to provide funding to 
        foreign law enforcement entities.
    The substitute amendment also made a series of minor or 
technical changes to the underlying bill, including placing the 
authorization of the program within the Homeland Security Act, 
charging the Secretary with administering the program, limiting 
the annual reporting requirementto five years, and allowing 
BEST units to include DHS personnel outside of ICE, CBP, and the Coast 
Guard.

                        III. Legislative History

    H.R. 915 was introduced on March 3, 2011, in the House of 
Representatives by Representative Cuellar, with Representative 
McCaul as an original cosponsor. The bill was reported by the 
House Committee on Homeland Security on November 4, 2011, and 
passed the House on a motion to suspend the rules by a vote of 
391-2 on May 30, 2012.
    On June 4, 2012, H.R. 915 was received in the Senate and 
referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
Affairs. During a business meeting that began on June 27, 2012 
and concluded on June 29, 2012, H.R. 915 was amended by a 
Lieberman-Collins Substitute Amendment, which was adopted by 
voice vote with Senators Lieberman, Akaka, Carper, Collins, 
Johnson, and Portman present. H.R. 915, as so amended, was then 
ordered reported favorably by voice vote, en bloc with other 
measures, with the following Senators present: Lieberman, 
Levin, Akaka, Carper, Pryor, Landrieu, Tester, Begich Collins, 
Brown, McCain, Johnson, Portman, and Moran.

              IV. Section-by-Section Analysis, as Amended


Section 1: Short title

    This section provides that bill may be cited as the ``Jaime 
Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act.''

Section 2: Findings and declaration of purposes

    (a) Findings.--This section lays out a series of findings, 
including that Mexico's northern border with the United States 
has experienced a dramatic surge in border crime and violence 
in recent years and that the BEST initiative has been formed by 
DHS to address cross-border threats.

Section 3: Border Enforcement Security Task Force

    This section amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 
establishing the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) 
within the Department of Homeland Security.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of the BEST program is to 
establish interagency units to address and reduce border 
security threats and violence by facilitating collaboration 
among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement 
agencies and enhancing information sharing.
    (c) Composition.--BEST units may be comprised of personnel 
from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 
United States Customs and Border Protection; the United States 
Coast Guard, other DHS agencies, other Federal agencies, State, 
local and tribal law enforcement agencies; and, where 
appropriate, foreign law enforcement partners.
    The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to 
establish BEST units in jurisdictions where such units can 
contribute to the program's missions, considering a number of 
factors including whether the jurisdiction is impacted by cross 
border threats and the availability of law enforcement 
resources to participate in the BEST. The Secretary is directed 
to ensure that the creation of a new BEST or the expansion of 
an existing BEST does not duplicate the efforts of other 
existing interagency centers or taskforces.
    (d) Operation.--After determining the jurisdictions in 
which to establish BEST units, the Secretary is authorized to 
direct the assignment of federal personnel, and to take other 
actions to assist federal, state, local, and tribal entities to 
participate in BEST including providing financial assistance 
for operational, administrative, and technological costs.
    (e) Report.--Within 180 days after enactment, and annually 
for five years thereafter, the Secretary of Homeland Security 
is required to submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness 
of the BEST program in enhancing border security and reducing 
all forms of smuggling in the border region.

                    V. Estimated Cost of Legislation

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 26, 2012.
Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 915, the Jaime 
Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 915--Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act

    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 915 would cost about 
$1 million annually, assuming the availability of appropriated 
funds. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    H.R. 915 would authorize a program known as the Border 
Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) within the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS). Under the BEST program (which is 
currently administered by DHS), personnel from federal, state, 
local, tribal, and foreign law-enforcement agencies share 
information and carry out law-enforcement operations to combat 
criminal activity near the United States borders. DHS expects 
to spend about $1 million in fiscal year 2012 from appropriated 
funds to oversee the program, and CBO estimates that DHS's 
continued oversight of the program would require appropriations 
of about that much each year.
    H.R. 915 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    On September 29, 2011, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 915 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Homeland 
Security on September 21, 2011. The act would authorize the 
appropriation of $10 million annually over the 2012-2016 period 
for the BEST program, and CBO estimated that implementing H.R. 
915 would cost $48 million over the 2012-2016 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts. The Senate committee 
version of the legislation contains no specified authorization 
level.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                  VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirements of paragraph 11(b) of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee has 
considered the regulatory impact of this bill and determined 
that the bill will have no regulatory impact within the meaning 
of the Rule. The Congressional Budget Office states that the 
bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates 
as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not 
affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.

        V. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
H.R. 915 as reported are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in brackets, new matter is 
printed in italic, and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



TITLE IV--DIRECTORATE OF BORDER AND TRANSPORTATION SECURITY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subtitle C--Miscellaneous Provisions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 431. OFFICE OF CARGO SECURITY POLICY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 432. BORDER ENFORCEMENT SECURITY TASK FORCE

    (a) Establishment.--There is established within the 
Department a program to be known as the Border Enforcement 
Security Task Force (referred to in this section as `BEST').
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of BEST is to establish units to 
enhance border security by addressing and reducing border 
security threats and violence by--
          (1) facilitating collaboration among Federal, State, 
        local, tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies to 
        execute coordinated activities in furtherance of border 
        security, and homeland security; and
          (2) enhancing information-sharing, including the 
        dissemination of homeland security information among 
        such agencies.
    (c) Composition and Establishment of Units.--
          (1) Composition.--BEST units may be comprised of 
        personnel from--
                  (A) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
                  (B) U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
                  (C) the United States Coast Guard;
                  (D) other Department personnel, as 
                appropriate;
                  (E) other Federal agencies, as appropriate;
                  (F) appropriate State law enforcement 
                agencies;
                  (G) foreign law enforcement agencies, as 
                appropriate;
                  (H) local law enforcement agencies from 
                affected border cities and communities; and
                  (I) appropriate tribal law enforcement 
                agencies.
          (2) Establishment of units.--The Secretary is 
        authorized to establish BEST units in jurisdictions in 
        which such units can contribute to BEST missions, as 
        appropriate. Before establishing a BEST unit, the 
        Secretary shall consider--
                  (A) whether the area in which the BEST unit 
                would be established is significantly impacted 
                by cross-border threats;
                  (B) the availability of Federal, State, 
                local, tribal, and foreign law enforcement 
                resources to participate in the BEST unit;
                  (C) the extent to which border security 
                threats are having a significant harmful impact 
                in the jurisdiction in which the BEST unit is 
                to be established, and other jurisdictions in 
                the country; and
                  (D) whether or not an Integrated Border 
                Enforcement Team already exists in the area in 
                which the BEST unit would be established.
          (3) Duplication of efforts.--In determining whether 
        to establish a new BEST unit or to expand an existing 
        BEST unit in a given jurisdiction, the Secretary shall 
        ensure that the BEST unit under consideration does not 
        duplicate the efforts of other existing interagency 
        task forces or centers within that jurisdiction.
    (d) Operation.--After determining the jurisdictions in 
which to establish BEST units under subsection (c)(2), and in 
order to provide Federal assistance to such jurisdictions, the 
Secretary may--
          (1) direct the assignment of Federal personnel to 
        BEST, subject to the approval of the head of the 
        department or agency that employs such personnel; and
          (2) take other actions to assist Federal, State, 
        local, and tribal entities to participate in BEST, 
        including providing financial assistance, as 
        appropriate, for operational, administrative, and 
        technological costs associated with the participation 
        of Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement 
        agencies in BEST.
    (e) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date on 
which BEST is established under this section, and annually 
thereafter for the following 5 years, the Secretary shall 
submit a report to Congress that describes the effectiveness of 
BEST in enhancing border security and reducing the drug 
trafficking, arms smuggling, illegal alien trafficking and 
smuggling, violence, and kidnapping along and across the 
international borders of the United States, as measured by 
crime statistics, including violent deaths, incidents of 
violence, and drug-related arrests.''.