Report text available as:

(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?


115th Congress    }                                      {      Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                      {     115-122

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



 
   BORDER ENFORCEMENT SECURITY TASK FORCE REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

  May 16, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. McCaul, from the Committee on Homeland Security, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2281]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Homeland Security, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2281) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 
to reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force 
program within the Department of Homeland Security, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     3
Hearings.........................................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Committee Votes..................................................     4
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     4
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures     4
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     5
Duplicative Federal Programs.....................................     5
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     5
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Preemption Clarification.........................................     6
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     6
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     6
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     6
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     7

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Border Enforcement Security Task Force 
Reauthorization Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. MODIFIED INSTRUCTIONS.

  (a) Updated Considerations for the Establishment of Units.--Paragraph 
(2) of section 432(c) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 
240(c)) is amended--
          (1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking 
        ``the Secretary shall consider'' and inserting ``the Secretary 
        shall apply risk-based criteria that takes into 
        consideration''; and
          (2) in subparagraph (A), by inserting before the semicolon 
        the following: ``, including threats posed by transnational 
        criminal organizations'';
          (3) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``and'' after the 
        semicolon;
          (4) in subparagraph (D), by striking the period at the end 
        and inserting ``;''; and
          (5) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
                  ``(E) the extent to which the BEST unit would advance 
                the Department's homeland and border security strategic 
                priorities and related objectives; and
                  ``(F) whether departmental Joint Task Force 
                operations as established pursuant to section 708 and 
                other joint cross-border initiatives would be enhanced, 
                improved, or otherwise assisted by the BEST unit to be 
                established.''.
  (b) Port Security.--Subsection (c) of section 432 of the Homeland 
Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 240) is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
          ``(4) Port security best units.--A BEST unit established 
        pursuant to paragraph (2) with a port security nexus shall be 
        composed of at least one member of each of the following:
                  ``(A) The Coast Guard Investigative Service.
                  ``(B) The geographically-responsible Coast Guard 
                Sector Intelligence Office.''.
  (c) Updated Report Elements.--Subsection (e) of section 432 of the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 240) is amended to read as 
follows:
  ``(e) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this section and annually thereafter for the following 
five years, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that 
includes the following:
          ``(1) A description of the effectiveness of BEST in enhancing 
        border security, disrupting and dismantling transnational 
        criminal organizations, and reducing 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.
          ``(2) An assessment of how BEST enhances information-sharing, 
        including the dissemination of homeland security information, 
        among Federal, State, local, tribal, and foreign law 
        enforcement agencies.
          ``(3) A description of how BEST advances the Department's 
        homeland and border security strategic priorities and 
        effectiveness of BEST in achieving related objectives.
          ``(4) An assessment of BEST's joint operational efforts with 
        departmental Joint Task Force operations established pursuant 
        to section 708 and other joint cross-border initiatives.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 2281, the ``Border Enforcement Security Task Force 
Reauthorization Act of 2017'' reauthorizes the Border 
Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program and makes 
modifications to this border security program, including an 
enhanced focus on mitigating the threats posed by transnational 
criminal organizations.
    This bill updates the considerations for the establishment 
of by requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to 
analyze the extent to which new BEST units would advance the 
Department's homeland and border security strategic priorities, 
related objectives, and whether departmental Joint Task Force 
operations would be enhanced by the creation of an additional 
BEST. This legislation also requires DHS to monitor and report 
the effectiveness of BEST units and their joint operational 
efforts with departmental Joint Task Force operations, 
authorized in Pub. L. 114-328, the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.
    Additionally, under current law, requirements to report to 
Congress were set to expire this year. H.R. 2281 extends the 
requirement by 5 years and requires DHS to track how BEST units 
are integrating with the newly established departmental Joint 
Task Forces and how they are supporting current Department-wide 
strategic priorities.
    This bill also mandates that any BEST unit with a port 
security nexus must include the participation of a U.S. Coast 
Guard Investigative Service Special Agent and a uniformed Coast 
Guard Intelligence Officer from the geographically responsible 
sector intelligence office--increasing intelligence sharing in 
maritime operations.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) have actively 
competed for control of various drug trafficking corridors 
along the U.S. southwest border, which has led to an escalation 
of violence on the Mexican side of the border.
    In 2005, in response to the significant increase in this 
violence, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in partnership with 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as other Federal, 
State, local, and international law enforcement officials 
created the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) 
program.
    BEST criminal investigations focus on TCOs that operate 
drug distribution networks throughout the United States' 
interior and move illicit drug proceeds and weapons southbound.
    To date, a total of 44 BESTs have been initiated across 16 
States and in Puerto Rico. These teams comprise over 1,000 
members who represent over 100 law enforcement agencies who 
have jointly committed to investigate transnational criminal 
activity along the Southwest and Northern Borders and at our 
Nation's major seaports.
    While BESTs have been highly successful with over 13,000 
criminal arrests and large amounts of seized narcotics, 
contraband, weapons, and bulk cash, the current authorization 
does not reflect changes in the border security landscape, 
including the establishment of DHS Joint Task Forces and the 
shift in strategic priorities toward securing our borders and 
dismantling transnational criminal organizations. In addition, 
while the U.S. Coast Guard is a current partner in BEST 
program, not all maritime BEST units have Coast Guard personnel 
assigned them.
    Requiring the Coast Guard to assign personnel to maritime 
BEST units Nation-wide will allow for the dissemination of 
maritime-based intelligence to other participating BEST 
agencies, furthering the interdiction of illicit maritime 
activity within Coast Guard's unique jurisdiction, where other 
Federal, State, or local entities may positioned to act.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 2281 in the 115th Congress.

                        Committee Consideration

    The Committee met on May 3, 2017, to consider H.R. 2281, 
and ordered the measure to be reported to the House with a 
favorable recommendation, as amended, by voice vote. The 
Committee took the following actions:
    The Committee agreed to H.R. 2281, as amended, by voice 
vote.
    The following amendments were offered:
 An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Mr. 
Rutherford (#1); was AGREED TO by voice vote.
     Page 3, line 3, redesignate subsection (b) as subsection (c).
     Page 3, beginning line 3, insert a new subsection entitled ``(b) 
Port Security.''

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report legislation and amendments 
thereto.
    No recorded votes were requested during consideration of 
H.R. 2281.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of Rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee has held oversight 
hearings and made findings that are reflected in this report.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of Rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 
2281, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force 
Reauthorization Act of 2017, would result in no new or 
increased budget authority, entitlement authority, or tax 
expenditures or revenues.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 12, 2017.
Hon. Michael McCaul,
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2281, the Border 
Enforcement Security Task Force Reauthorization Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2281--Border Enforcement Security Task Force Reauthorization Act 
        of 2017

    H.R. 2281 would require the Department of Homeland Security 
(DHS), for five years after the bill's enactment, to submit an 
annual report to the Congress on a DHS task force working to 
improve border security. The report would include an evaluation 
of the task force's effectiveness in enhancing border security, 
reducing crime, and improving the sharing of information among 
law enforcement agencies. Based on the cost of similar 
activities, CBO estimates that the report would cost less than 
$500,000 annually; such spending would be subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending 
or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. 
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2281 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2281 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.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 2281 contains the following 
general performance goals and objectives, including outcome 
related goals and objectives authorized.
    The general performance goal or objective of this bill is 
to align BEST strategic priorities with those of DHS and track 
the integration of the BESTs with the newly authorized DHS 
Joint Task Forces.

                      Duplicative Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of rule XIII, the Committee finds 
that H.R. 2281 does not contain any provision that establishes 
or reauthorizes a program known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program.

   Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
                                Benefits

    In compliance with rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of the rule 
XXI.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                        Preemption Clarification

    In compliance with section 423 of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, requiring the report of any Committee on a bill or 
joint resolution to include a statement on the extent to which 
the bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt State, 
local, or Tribal law, the Committee finds that H.R. 2281 does 
not preempt any State, local, or Tribal law.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H.R. 2281 would require no 
directed rule makings.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1.   Short Title.

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``Border Enforcement Security Task Force Reauthorization Act of 
2017''.

Sec. 2.   Modified Instructions.

    This section updates the consideration for the 
establishment of BEST Units and sets for their criteria. This 
section also analyzes the extent to which the BEST units would 
advance the Department's homeland and border security strategic 
priorities, related objectives, and whether departmental Joint 
Task Force operations as established pursuant to joint cross-
border initiatives. Updated annual reporting requirements are 
also established in this section to track how BEST is 
integrating with Joint Task Forces and how they are supporting 
current Department-wide strategic priorities.
    The Committee believes that BESTs are an invaluable program 
for sharing information among Federal, State and local partners 
to secure our borders. Moreover, BESTs serve as an important 
mechanism within DHS to quickly intercept, dismantle, and 
disrupt transnational criminal organizations operating along 
the borders of the United States. While the Committee is highly 
supportive of the work of BESTs, we want to ensure that BESTs 
receive clear guidance on their strategic priorities and track 
the integration of BESTs with the new Joint Task Forces to 
reduce duplication of efforts and strengthen interagency 
cooperation through both mechanisms.
    Additionally, this section mandates that any BEST with a 
port security nexus must include the participation of a Coast 
Guard Investigative Service Special Agent and a uniformed Coast 
Guard Intelligence Officer from the geographically responsible 
Sector intelligence office.
    The Committee believes that the Coast Guard is unique in 
that they are in contact with local mariners and port operators 
each and every day under their broad Federal authorities, 
giving them critical situational awareness of the maritime 
domain. The USCG is the only DHS component that is an 
independent member of the Intelligence Community. This unique 
trait positions the Coast Guard to make significant 
contributions to the work of the BESTs.
    The Committee believes that by utilizing both plain-clothes 
investigators and uniformed intelligence officers, BESTs will 
be able to partner with the Coast Guard in ongoing criminal 
investigations and the generation of actionable maritime 
intelligence. Better yet, the Coast Guard will be able to 
disseminate the intelligence of other participating BEST 
agencies to their men and women on the water, furthering the 
interdiction of illicit maritime activity within Coast Guard's 
unique jurisdiction, where other Federal, State, or local 
entities may not be able to act.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 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--BORDER, MARITIME, AND TRANSPORTATION SECURITY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subtitle C--Miscellaneous Provisions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


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] the Secretary shall apply 
        risk-based criteria that takes into consideration--
                  (A) whether the area in which the BEST unit 
                would be established is significantly impacted 
                by cross-border threats, including threats 
                posed by transnational criminal organizations;
                  (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[.];
                  (E) the extent to which the BEST unit would 
                advance the Department's homeland and border 
                security strategic priorities and related 
                objectives; and
                  (F) whether departmental Joint Task Force 
                operations as established pursuant to section 
                708 and other joint cross-border initiatives 
                would be enhanced, improved, or otherwise 
                assisted by the BEST unit to 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.
          (4) Port security best units.--A BEST unit 
        established pursuant to paragraph (2) with a port 
        security nexus shall be composed of at least one member 
        of each of the following:
                  (A) The Coast Guard Investigative Service.
                  (B) The geographically-responsible Coast 
                Guard Sector Intelligence Office.
  (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.]
  (e) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this section and annually thereafter for the 
following five years, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a 
report that includes the following:
          (1) A description of the effectiveness of BEST in 
        enhancing border security, disrupting and dismantling 
        transnational criminal organizations, and reducing 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.
          (2) An assessment of how BEST enhances information-
        sharing, including the dissemination of homeland 
        security information, among Federal, State, local, 
        tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies.
          (3) A description of how BEST advances the 
        Department's homeland and border security strategic 
        priorities and effectiveness of BEST in achieving 
        related objectives.
          (4) An assessment of BEST's joint operational efforts 
        with departmental Joint Task Force operations 
        established pursuant to section 708 and other joint 
        cross-border initiatives.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]