Hurd’s SMART Wall Gains Momentum in Border Security Markup

October 4, 2017
Press Release
Amendments prevent physical walls in Big Bend and Lake Amistad

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, two amendments introduced by U.S. Representative Hurd to the Border Security for America Act were adopted by the House Committee on Homeland Security. These amendments protect the unique landscapes of the 23rd Congressional District of Texas while enhancing 21st Century technological solutions to gain operational control of our borders.

The Border Security for America Act is a comprehensive border security approach that addresses the challenges in both rural and urban environments with an increase in 21st Century resources and manpower. The multi-layered bill also provides funds to improve, modernize, and enhance ports of entry so that lawful trade is streamlined and illegal trafficking is detected.

In addition to the inclusion of many features of Rep. Hurd’s SMART Act into the border bill, such as the deployment of radar, LIDAR, sensors, and other innovative technologies, Hurd’s amendments are designed to:

  1. Prevent the deployment of tactical infrastructure, such as physical barriers or walls, in areas where natural terrain features (like the Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend or Lake Amistad in Del Rio) would make the deployment ineffective.
  2. Allow pre-existing park-access agreements between Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and National Park units (such as Big Bend National Park) to take precedence over increased access levels and activities allowed in the bill.

“As I have been saying for years, a wall from sea to shining sea is the least effective and most expensive solution for border security. This is especially true in areas, like Big Bend National Park, where rough terrain, natural barriers, and the remoteness of a location render a wall or other structure impractical and ineffective. While I would like to think that common sense would dictate that the placement of a wall through the Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend or Lake Amistad in Del Rio is a bad idea, my amendment ensures that this point is clearly stated in this the bill, preventing hard-earned taxpayer dollars from being wasted on ineffective features,” said Hurd whose district includes over 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, more than any other Member of Congress.

“In addition, many of the eight national parks in my district already have working agreements with Customs and Border Protection that account for their unique geographical and environmental ecosystems. I am especially proud of the close partnership that already exists between the CBP and Big Bend that respects the scenic nature of the park without sacrificing security operations. In this case, and in the case of many national parks along the border, the existing close coordination with CBP does not need fixing,” added Hurd.