President Signs Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act

On January 4, 2011, the President signed HR 4748, the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act of 2010. The Act amends the National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act (PL 109-469) requiring the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in consultation with state, local and tribal governments to submit to Congress a strategy for preventing the illegal trafficking of drugs across the international border between the United States and Canada.

The Act contains a separate section specifically addressing the flow of illegal drugs through cross-border Indian reservations. The Indian-specific section directs the drafters of the strategy to include:

Recommendations for additional assistance, if any, needed by tribal law enforcement agencies relating to the strategy, including an evaluation of Federal technical and financial assistance, infrastructure capacity building, and interoperability deficiencies.

Prior to the law’s enactment, the Director of the ONDCP was charged with producing the National Drug Control Strategy, of which the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy will likely now become a part. According to the ONDCP site:

By law, the Director of ONDCP also evaluates, coordinates, and oversees both the international and domestic anti-drug efforts of executive branch agencies and ensures that such efforts sustain and complement State and local anti-drug activities. The Director advises the President regarding changes in the organization, management, budgeting, and personnel of Federal Agencies that could affect the Nation’s anti-drug efforts.

The Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy is to be submitted 180 days from the enacted date to the Senate committees on the Judiciary, the Armed Services, Homeland Security, Governmental Affairs and Indian Affairs; and likewise submitted to the House committees on the Judiciary, the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Natural Resources. Following submittal of the initial strategy, a revised strategy is to be submitted to the aforementioned committees every two years.

Prior to the President’s signature, the Act was agreed to under suspension of the rules in the House by a margin of 413-0 and agreed to under unanimous consent in the Senate. As of publication, the Public Law number has not yet been assigned.

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