HALL APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF BORDER SECURITY LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. ...Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Rockwall) voted on three bills today aimed at improving border security in America. These bills are part of the House leadership's 10-point agenda to secure the border.
"I am pleased that the House moved quickly following the border security hearings in August to address this vital homeland security issue," Hall said. "Coupled with the passage last week of the Secure Fence Act that authorizes more border fencing and improved surveillance technology, these bills will help increase border security and crack down on illegal immigration."
One of the three bills sets criminal penalties for constructing tunnels under the U.S. border and doubles the penalties for smuggling illegal immigrants, drugs, and weapons through an illegal tunnel. The second bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to detain illegal immigrants for more than 6 months, expedites removal of criminal aliens, and toughens laws against alien gang members. The final bill reaffirms the authority of state and local law enforcement to investigate, apprehend, arrest, detain, and transfer illegal immigrants to federal custody, increases the number of prosecutors to try alien smuggling cases, and imposes a "catch and return" policy that closes the loophole that releases illegal immigrants back into the general population while they await deportation proceedings.
"I would prefer that we enclose all immigration provisions into one billbut no conference committee has been appointed to date. Absent that, we need to secure our borders now," Hall explained. "I proudly voted for a large border security package last December, and I have been anxiously awaiting a final immigration bill for months. I am hopeful that these important measures will be included in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill so that they can be quickly signed into law," Hall said.