WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, voted against H.R. 3548, the Border Security for America Act, during committee consideration of the bill. The legislation, introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), would authorize billions of dollars in additional funding to construct the border wall demanded by President Trump. The bill was reported out of committee by a vote of 18-12.

 

“As I have said before, while I believe that border security is integral to our national security, a wall is an ineffective and expensive way to enhance it,” said Congressman Langevin. “We should be focused on comprehensive immigration reform efforts that include legal protections for the DACA recipients that the President has cruelly cast aside. It is deeply disturbing that Republicans chose the next to last day to renew DACA work authorizations to push through one of President Trump’s misguided campaign promises on a purely partisan basis.”

 

During consideration of the bill, Langevin, joined by Congressman William Keating (D-MA), offered an amendment to strike a section of the bill that waives dozens of laws protecting public health, preserving open government, and safeguarding the environment. In particular, the bill as drafted would allow Customs and Border Protection to conduct activities on federal land within 100 miles of the border without regard to fundamental laws, including the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 12-17.

 

“My amendment would have preserved key protections that American families rely on every day in order to have safe drinking water, clean air and protection from flooding,” added Langevin. “These laws provide for vital review of projects before they disturb eco-systems and native animal species, and they allow for the public to participate in their government by commenting on upcoming activities. By rejecting my amendment, Republicans have sent a clear message that they are willing to undermine the decades of work Congress has done to protect Americans and our environment in the service of a political victory for the President.”