House passes authorization bill for CBP

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that authorized the DHS's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the first time.

The United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act, H.R. 3846, provided authorization of maritime, border and transportation security responsibilities and functions in the DHS, as well as the establishment of CBP. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security Chairman Candice Miller (R-Mich.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) co-sponsored the bill, according to a press release from Miller's office.

Miller said that despite having more than 44,000 law enforcement officers, CBP has never been formally authorized by Congress.

"Since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002, the agency, which has significantly grown and evolved over the years, has never been formally authorized by Congress," Miller said. "Today, the House passed legislation that provides the necessary statutory authorization that will protect the agency's mission by providing our officers and agents proper authorities to carry out their important work."

One of the duties of CBP is to deter and prevent illegal entry of terrorists, terrorist weapons and contraband into the U.S.

"Authorizing the (DHS) and its components like CBP remains my top priority for the Homeland Security Committee," McCaul said. "Next Congress, I intend to lead the first ever DHS authorization through regular order in partnership with my fellow chairmen."