Newly seated Rep. John Katko wants the nation’s northern border to get the same attention as the one down south.
Katko, R-24 of Syracuse, introduced legislation last week to require the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a northern border threat analysis. The bill is Katko’s first since he took office earlier this month.
“As a former federal prosecutor on both the northern border in New York and the southern border in El Paso, Texas, I’ve seen first-hand the issues our nation faces countering drug trafficking and potential terrorist acts,” Katko said in a press release. “While great attention is justifiably given to the challenges of securing our southern border, ensuring the safety of our vast northern border is critical to our nation’s security.”
Katko’s district includes the Lake Ontario shoreline in Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties, which is part of the international border with Canada. The area includes two nuclear plants, R.E. Ginna in Ontario and Nine Mile Point near Syracuse, along with the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, the Port of Oswego and Hancock International Airport.
Katko said he also added an amendment to a bill passed last week by the House Committee on Homeland Security, of which he is a member. The amendment to the Secure Our Borders First Act authorizes the deployment of the same type of technology and resources on the northern border as it does for the southern border.
The Secure Our Borders First Act also includes the language from Katko’s stand-alone bill.
“I’m committed to enacting tough border security to ensure the safety of upstate New York and the sovereignty of our nation,” Katko said. “Requiring timely assessment of the threats posed by illegal entry on both the northern and southern border, and adequately responding to those threats, is crucial to making that happen.”
The Secure our Borders First Act would allocate $10 billion for border security. It has come under fire from both sides of the aisle, with some Democrats arguing that it does not offer real solutions and some Republicans arguing that it represents a prelude to amnesty.