Sunday, September 15, 2019

Senate Approves $600 Million for Border Security

Yesterday, the Senate approved a measure that will bolster border security with 1,500 new enforcement agents and increase the number of deployed unmanned aerial drones.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-MO) passed by voice vote just before the senate is to take a month-long recess.

Democrats secured the funding to come from increases in fees assessed on foreign-based personnel companies that use U.S. visa programs, such as the H-1B visa program to bring in temporary skilled workers into the United States.  Initially, Sen. John McCain called for funding to come from unspent federal stimulus dollars, which Democrats balked at.  The Arizona senator also called for harsher penalties in the bill for immigrants caught at certain areas of the border with prison terms of up to six months.

The proposal by the Democrats was seen by many as a necessary step towards comprehensive immigration reform bill by addressing the issue of border security.

“I believe we have a lot more to do, but this will contribute to our effort to get our border secured,” Schumer said.

President Obama had previously called on Congress to increase funding for security at the border.  Last week the House also passed similar legislation with a $701 million emergency spending bill for border security.

“Now our attention must turn to comprehensive reform, which is the only way to fully address the problem of illegal immigration,” Schumer said.

Salon

Washington Independent