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H.R. 878 (114th): United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 11, 2015.

United States Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act

Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish formally, in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (formerly the U.S. Customs Service), headed by the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Establishes in the CBP:

a Deputy Commissioner; the U.S. Border Patrol; an Office of Air and Marine Operations; an Office of Field Operations, including a National Targeting Center; an Office of Intelligence and Investigative Liaison; an Office of International Affairs; and an Office of Internal Affairs. Requires the CBP Commissioner to establish, and update triennially, certain standard operating procedures for CBP personnel.

Directs the CBP Commissioner to require all CBP agents and officers to participate in a specified amount of continuing education to maintain an understanding of federal legal rulings, court decisions, and departmental policies, procedures, and guidelines.

Requires the CBP Commissioner to ensure that:

adequate access to food and water is provided as soon as possible to individuals apprehended and detained between a U.S. port of entry, and detainee rights are provided at CBP processing centers. Directs the CBP Commissioner to publish wait times at the 20 U.S. airports with the highest volume of international travel and make this information available to the public on the CBP website.

Declares that the Transportation Security Administration shall be maintained as a distinct entity within DHS.

Removes the Office for Domestic Preparedness from within the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security and establishes it simply within DHS.

Transfers all functions of the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security to the DHS Secretary.

Authorizes the DHS Secretary (currently, the Under Secretary) to impose disciplinary action on any employee of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CBP who willfully deceives Congress or agency leadership on any matter.

Directs the CBP Commissioner to report to Congress on:

the CBP Business Transformation Initiative, and supervisor-approved personal searches conducted in the previous year by CBP personnel. Requires the CBP Commissioner to assess CBP's physical infrastructure and technology needs at the 20 busiest land ports of entry.

Prohibits the DHS Secretary from entering into or renewing an agreement with a foreign country government for a CBP administered trusted traveler program unless that government certifies that it:

routinely submits information about lost and stolen passports of its citizens and nationals to INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Document database, or makes such information available to the United States through another comparable means of reporting. Expresses the sense of Congress that the Foreign Language Award Program (FLAP) incentivizes CBP officers and agents to attain and maintain competency in a foreign language.

Declares that no additional appropriations are authorized to carry out this Act. Requires this Act to be carried out using amounts otherwise available.