Southern Border Security Assistance Act

Bill Number: 
S.3273
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Relevant Text: 

Southern Border Security Assistance Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 3273 IS

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3273

To establish a program to provide southern border security assistance grants, to authorize the appointment of additional Federal judges in States along the southern border, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 28, 2010

Mr. CORNYN (for himself and Mrs. HUTCHISON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To establish a program to provide southern border security assistance grants, to authorize the appointment of additional Federal judges in States along the southern border, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Southern Border Security Assistance Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    (a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

      (1) The United States and Mexico have recently experienced a significant increase in violence along the international border between the 2 countries.
      (2) The international border between the United States and Mexico is being used as a gateway for drug cartels and criminal enterprises that are illegally trafficking guns, people, and drugs.

      (3) The partnership between the United States and Mexican governments is critical--

        (A) to address recent border violence; and

        (B) to ensure the continued flow of legitimate cross-border commerce, traffic and trade.

      (4) The national security of the United States is paramount.

      (5) While it is the job of the Federal Government to protect national security by securing our Nation's borders, State, local, and tribal law enforcement entities also provide the first line of defense on the border and are critical first responders to national security or public safety threats.
    (b) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that--

      (1) providing financial assistance for law enforcement initiatives with our Mexican partners is important; and

      (2) in addition to such assistance, Congress must provide immediate resources and equipment to State and local law enforcement entities that are currently responding to border violence and criminal activities on a daily basis.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) LAW ENFORCEMENT ENTITY- The term `law enforcement entity' means an entity that--
        (A) is a State, county, or city agency, a State or local police or sheriff department or association, or a subdivision thereof;

        (B) operates within 100 miles of the international border between the United States and Mexico; and

        (C) employs personnel on a full- or part-time basis to engage in the prevention, detection, or investigation of violations of the criminal laws of the United States.

      (2) SOUTHERN BORDER REGION- The term `Southern Border Region' refers to counties that are located--

        (A) within 100 miles of the international border between the United States and Mexico; and

        (B) in the States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

SEC. 4. BORDER SECURITY ASSISTANCE GRANTS.

    (a) Authority-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with State and local law enforcement entities, is authorized to award border security assistance grants to law enforcement entities located in the Southern Border Region for the purposes described in subsection (b).

      (2) PRIORITY- In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to law enforcement agencies located in a county that is located within 25 miles of the international border between United States and Mexico.

    (b) Purposes- To address drug trafficking, smuggling, and border violence, a grant awarded under subsection (a) shall be used--

      (1) to obtain law enforcement equipment and tools, including secure 2-way communication devices, portable laptops and office computers, license plate readers, unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), manned aircraft, cameras with night viewing capabilities, and any other appropriate law enforcement equipment;
      (2) to hire additional personnel, including administrative support personnel, dispatchers, and jailers, and to provide overtime funding for such personnel;

      (3) to purchase law enforcement vehicles;

      (4) to provide for high performance aircrafts and helicopters for border surveillance and other critical mission applications and operational and maintenance costs associated with such craft;

      (5) to provide for critical power generation systems, infrastructure, and technological upgrades to support State and local data management systems and fusion centers; or

      (6) to provide for specialized training and for direct operating expenses associated with detecting and prosecuting drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other illegal activity or violence that occurs at or near the international border between the United States and Mexico.

    (c) Application-
      (1) REQUIREMENT- A law enforcement entity seeking a grant under subsection (a), or a nonprofit organization or coalition acting as an agent for 1 or more such law enforcement entities, shall submit an application to the Secretary that includes the information described in paragraph (2) at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require.

      (2) CONTENT- An application submitted under paragraph (1) shall include--

        (A) a description of the activities to be carried out with a grant awarded under subsection (a);

        (B) if equipment will be purchased with the grant, a detailed description of the type and quantity of such equipment and of the personnel who will receive such equipment;

        (C) a description of the need of the law enforcement entity for the grant, including a description of the inability of the entity to carry out the proposed activities without the grant; and

        (D) an assurance that the entity will, to the extent practicable, seek, recruit, and hire members of racial and ethnic minority groups and women in the entity's law enforcement positions.
    (d) Review and Award-

      (1) REVIEW- Not later than 90 days after the date an application submitted under subsection (c) is received by the Secretary, the Secretary shall review and approve or reject the application.

      (2) AWARD OF FUNDS- Subject to the availability of appropriations, not later than 45 days after the date an application is approved under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide the grant funds to the applicant.

      (3) PRIORITY- In distributing grant funds under this subsection, priority shall be given to high-intensity areas for drug trafficking, smuggling, and border violence.

SEC. 5. ADDITIONAL DISTRICT JUDGES FOR BORDER STATES.

    (a) In General- The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate--
      (1) 4 additional district judges for the district of Arizona;

      (2) 4 additional district judges for the central district of California;

      (3) 4 additional district judges for the eastern district of California;

      (4) 2 additional district judges for the northern district of California;

      (5) 1 additional district judge for the district of New Mexico;

      (6) 1 additional district judge for the eastern district of Texas;
      (7) 2 additional district judges for the southern district of Texas; and

      (8) 1 additional district judge for the western district of Texas.

    (b) Temporary Judgeships- The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate--

      (1) 1 additional district judge for the district of Arizona;

      (2) 1 additional district judge for the central district of California;

      (3) 1 additional district judge for the northern district of California; and
      (4) 1 additional district judge for the district of New Mexico.

    (c) Vacancies- For each of the judicial districts named in subsection (b), the first vacancy arising on the district court at least 10 years after a judge is first confirmed to fill the temporary district judgeship created in that district pursuant to subsection (b) shall not be filled.

    (d) Existing Judgeships- The existing judgeships for the district of Arizona and the district of New Mexico authorized under section 312(c) of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (Public Law 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758), as of the effective date of this Act, shall be authorized under section 133 of title 28, United States Code, and the incumbents in those offices shall hold the office under section 133 of title 28, United States Code.

    (e) Conforming Amendments- The table contained in section 133(a) of title 28, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in the item relating to the district of Arizona, by striking `12' and inserting `17';

      (2) in the item relating to the central district of California, by striking `27' and inserting `31';
      (3) in the item relating to the eastern district of California, by striking `6' and inserting `10';

      (4) in the item relating to the northern district of California, by striking `14' and inserting `16';

      (5) in the item relating to the district of New Mexico, by striking `6' and inserting `8';

      (6) in the item relating to the eastern district of Texas, by striking `7' and inserting `8';

      (7) in the item relating to the southern district of Texas, by striking `19' and inserting `21'; and

      (8) in the item relating to the western district of Texas, by striking `13' and inserting `14'.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) Grant Funding- There is authorized to be appropriated $300,000,000 for the 2-year period ending on September 30, 2012, for grants issued under section 4.

    (b) Judicial Funding- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General for each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2013 such sums as may be necessary to carry out section 5, including the hiring of necessary attorney and administrative support staff.