House Republicans on Monday named Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) to chair the Appropriations Committee Homeland Security Subcommittee, an appointment that keeps border security as a priority but also puts in charge a chairman that recognizes other challenges faced by the Department of Homeland Security and the need to tackle the politically thorny issue of immigration reform.

Joyce, who was elected to the House in 2012, is a new member of the subcommittee. In the previous Congress, he was the ranking member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Republicans are making security along the southern border the centerpiece of their oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. Joyce, in a statement on Tuesday, highlighted border security but also pointed to the department’s broad mission set.

“The Appropriations Committee plays an important oversight role and with Republicans back in charge of the House, the Department of Homeland Security and its duties in securing our nation will no longer be overlooked,” Joyce stated. “Each day, our brave Customs and Border Protection agents are faced with increased challenges to secure our nation’s borders, stop illegal crossings, and prevent illicit substances, such as fentanyl, from flowing into our country. While we must increase focus on securing our Southern Border, we must also address the critical needs of every DHS component responsible for protecting the American people, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure the department receives the necessary funds and oversight to keep our homeland safe and effectively carry out its mission.”

The fentanyl crisis has hit Ohio hard and was an important issue for Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who retired from the Senate after the last Congress. In the 117th Congress, the House unanimously passed Joyce’s bipartisan The PREVENT Act, which directs CBP to provide their frontline personnel with containment devices to prevent secondary exposure to fentanyl, a lethal drug, during seizures.

CBP in fiscal year 2023 plans to begin its first significant deployments of new imaging systems that would be installed in pre-primary inspection lanes at land border ports of entry to increase the number of passenger and cargo vehicles being scanned for contraband, drugs and other illicit items and threats.

Joyce also introduced the bipartisan Advanced Border Coordination Act that would establish joint operations centers along the southern border that would coordinate border operations, information sharing and workforce training.

In April 2022, when the Advanced Border Coordination Act was introduced, Joyce said the joint operations centers would “restore the rule of law and secure our borders.” He also said that based on his experience as a former prosecutor, the centers will help in detecting drug and human trafficking.

On his congressional website, Joyce says his position on immigration is that the system is broken and that immigration and the need to enforce related laws can coexist. Bipartisan immigration reform is needed, Joyce says.

“Immigration reform is a tough and complex issue, but having been to the southern border to assess the growing crisis there myself, I know Congress must overcome party lines and take action,” Joyce says. “With illegal immigration at a record high, Republicans and Democrats need to work together to come up with solutions that will increase border security, combat the flow of lethal drugs into our country, and fix our broken immigration system.”

Joyce’s 14th congressional district in Northeast Ohio fronts a portion of southern Lake Erie. This lakefront area likely give Joyce a “working knowledge” of the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection’s trade office, one industry official told Defense Daily.

Rep. Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.), who was the ranking member on the last Congress on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, has been appointed the chairman of the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.