Cornyn Introduces $3.9 Billion Emergency Border Security Measure

In: All News   Posted 08/02/2006

 WASHINGTON—Moving forward with his commitment to seek emergency funding for border security and immigration enforcement, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee, on Wednesday introduced an amendment to provide $3.9 billion in additional resources. The amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill, H.R. 5631, would fund a range of critical border security initiatives such as additional border patrol agents, detention beds, employer verification and strategic barriers that have either been previously authorized but not funded by Congress or called for by President Bush. Cornyn said he hopes the funding will help restore confidence that the federal government will control the border and enforce the law following the mistakes of the 1986 amnesty bill. “One way to build that confidence is for Congress and this administration to fully fund border security and immigration enforcement programs starting with those that the Congress has already authorized and that the President has indicated are necessary to control our broken immigration system.”“I remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform and I will continue to advocate for a bill that provides economic and national security,” Cornyn said. “But I believe that funding for our border security is a necessary and essential step in that direction and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.”Cornyn noted that for too many years Congress authorized additional border patrol agents and detention beds and claimed then to have dealt with our broken borders, but failed to fund the positions and the infrastructure that it authorized. The amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), will also help break the stalemate in the immigration debate, Cornyn said. “It is my hope and desire that funding enforcement programs will increase the credibility of the federal government and will facilitate a successful conference between the House and the Senate.” “This amendment in no way eliminates the need for comprehensive reform, which I believe should be done in one single bill,” Cornyn said. “It is in fact the opposite: this amendment will allow us to find common ground on visa reform and ways to address the 12 million illegal aliens here in the U.S.”Sen. Cornyn has played a key role in the Senate immigration reform debate and continues to work to bolster border security and implement comprehensive immigration reform. He will serve on the conference committee that will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate immigration bills. Sens. Cornyn and Kyl authored a separate bill titled: The Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act (S.1438). The key components of their legislation include enhanced border security and interior enforcement, employer accountability, and reform to bring the current illegal population into compliance with the law. Summary of Cornyn-Kyl Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Border Security and Immigration Reform Amendment to H.R. 5631

  • Border Patrol Agents: $173 million to hire 500 border patrol agents with the necessary support staff, training and education to make our borders safe. The President has said that we need 2,500 additional border patrol agents as soon as possible. Taking into account the 1,000 agents the FY06 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery Act (H.R. 4939) provides and the 1,000 agents included in the Senate-passed FY07 DHS appropriations bill, this amendment would reach the President’s goal.
  • Detention Beds: $45.5 million for 1,300 detention beds. Under the Senate-passed FY07 DHS Appropriations bill, 6,700 beds will be realized. This amendment would meet the authorized level of 8,000 set by the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.
  • Employer Verification System: $400 million for the development and the implementation of the Electronic Verification System, which the President has called on Congress to make mandatory for all 6 million employers.
  • Vehicle and Physical Barriers, Infrastructure Support for Border Patrol Agents: $2.155 billion for physical barriers along the Mexico-U.S. border and 461 miles of vehicle barriers and for infrastructure support for new border patrol agents. Current law authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to install physical barriers along the border, and the President has supported the language in S. 2611 which calls for the construction of 500 miles of vehicle barriers and 370-miles of physical barriers (Title I, Section 106). With the Senate-passed FY2007 DHS appropriations bill providing enough money for 39 miles of vehicle barriers, the amendment would meet the authorized level.
  • US VISIT Entry-Exit: $60 million to accelerate the development of a system to collect, maintain, and share appropriate information through an integrated database which will determine the eligibility of aliens for admission and benefits.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents: $151 million to hire 800 additional agents and the necessary support staff and training for alien smuggling investigations and worksite enforcement of immigration laws. The Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 authorizes 800 additional agents per year.
  • Capital Equipment: $976 million for Coast Guard improvements in vessels, aircraft, and equipment and to replace air assets and engage in air-fleet modernization. This funding was included in the Senate-version of H.R. 4939 but was not included in the conference report.
  • Administration of Justice: $7.8 million for additional U.S. Attorneys and legal support activities to provide support for increased enforcement activities on the border.

 AccountAmount (in billions)500 Border Patrol Agents$0.1731,300 Detention Beds$0.046Employee Verification System$0.400Physical and Vehicle Barriers, Infrastructure Support for Border Patrol Agents$2.155US VISIT Entry-Exit$0.060800 Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents $0.151New Capital Equipment $0.976Administration of Justice $0.008TOTAL$3.968Below is the text of the remarks by Sen. Cornyn on the Senate floor on Wednesday: