A draft copy of the bill, the Secure Border Act of 2011, was obtained Wednesday by The Detroit News. It would require DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and her agency, within 180 days of its passage, to identify how to bring the northern and southern borders under full "operational control" — meaning authorities have clear ways of patrolling and controlling passage over a border — within five years.
Achieving full operational control of the borders would likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more, if current projections are any indication.
Among the potential solutions are increased levels of fencing and boosted patrols on the southern border, while the U.S.-Canada border would be a prime candidate for a beefed-up Coast Guard presence in the Great Lakes, watch towers like those deployed along the St. Clair River and unmanned aerial drones in use in states like Arizona.
Both borders are far below that 100 percent goal. Forty-four percent of the U.S.-Mexican border is estimated to be under operational control; the U.S.-Canadian border is less than 2 percent controlled.
Rep. Miller chairs the Subcommittee on Maritime and Border Security in the U.S. House of Representatives.