Through the Securing America's Ports Act (H.R. 5273), signed by former President Donald Trump on January 5, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directed to develop and implement a plan for all vehicles, trucks and freight trains crossing into the United States from Mexico or Canada to be screened and inspected at land ports of entry with X-rays, or scaled non-intrusive inspection systems (LS NII).
According to a document summarizing this bill, HR 5273 would require Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to use LS NII systems at 100% of such ports of entry.
To this end, the legislation requires DHS to submit to Congress current scanning rates and cost estimates for acquiring, operating, and maintaining those systems.
It is worth noting that currently, at U.S. land ports of entry, CBP scans approximately 1 to 2 percent of passenger vehicles, and 15 to 17 percent of commercial trucks with non-intrusive inspection systems. Most of the scanning efforts are focused at ports of entry along the border with Mexico where the volume of vehicle traffic is considerably higher than along the northern border, the document detailed.
According to information from The San Diego Union Tribune, the DHS has 180 days from the signing of the law to submit its report to Congress, so the report should be submitted approximately in mid-June.
For his part, Thad Bingel, a former CBP leader, told The San Diego Union Tribune that the agency is likely to treat the goal as "aspirational" rather than a literal short-term goal.
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