Mar 26, 2014

Washington, DC (March 26, 2014) – Today, Republican U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) and Democrat U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) introduced H.R. 4303 the Border Enforcement, Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act of 2014.

“Today’s bill is a direct response to the needs of our constituents, and is a resounding statement that the two parties can successfully work together on immigration reform,” said Pearce.  “This proposal will help bring accountability, transparency, and cooperation to border patrol efforts.  This bill helps ensure proper training for all agents and officers, as well as providing mechanisms for greater interaction with the communities in which they serve and protect.  Congressman O’Rourke and I continue to show that working on simple, one-step proposals this Congress can fundamentally reform our nations broken immigration system.  Together, we can find the clear solutions our country and our communities need."

H.R. 4303  creates new channels for individuals to resolve issues with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including an “Ombudsman for Border and Immigration Related Concerns,” so that local residents have an opportunity to voice concerns and ideas.  It also proposes improved training for CBP to keep officers safe and enhance their relationships with the local communities they protect.  The proposal is the result of a wide variety of constituents—ranchers, immigrants, commuters, and others—who approached the Congressmen with personal stories and ideas for improving CPB operation and community interaction.

Pearce and O’Rourke announced their plans to introduce this legislation last month to a crowd of hundreds in Anthony, New Mexico.  Since then, they have worked closely with numerous related organizations and constituents to craft their bipartisan bill, which is the second the two border Congressman have proposed together.  The American Families United Act, introduced by Pearce and O’Rourke last fall, restores discretionary authority to review specific cases for a small number of American citizens who are separated from their families due to minor or technical issues.

The full text of today’s Border Enforcement, Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act can be found here.