Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, has cosponsored a new bill to help prevent terrorist travel by increasing the presence of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) overseas.
Specifically, the Expanding DHS Overseas Passenger Security Screening and Vetting Operations Act will expand DHS programs that allow DHS to vet and screen travelers before they come to the United States.
“As terrorist threats evolve and raise a persistent risk of attacks on America, the need to improve our traveler vetting and screening operations is increasingly urgent,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “This bill expands our capability to identify and prevent threats before they reach our country so we can better protect and defend the American people.”
The Expanding DHS Overseas Passenger Security Screening and Vetting Operations Act will:
- Require DHS to issue a comprehensive five-year strategy and annual implementation plans to expand overseas operations in a risk-based, coordinated manner.
- Authorize an additional 2,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers and 600 Agriculture Specialists to address existing domestic staffing shortages, such as at U.S. international airports, and expand overseas operations.
- Create an additional layer of security by authorizing a program for CBP to work with foreign authorities and airlines to identify and prevent terrorist travel.
- Expand the Visa Security Program by expanding its overseas presence and direct it to screen visa applicants against multiple government databases.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Reps. Payne Jr., Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), William R. Keating (D-MA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) are original cosponsors of the legislation.