Issue Position: Border Security
In 2007, during the immigration bill debate, we listened and heard overwhelmingly from Georgians that they do not trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. Taking immediate action to secure our borders is what Georgians demand and deserve, and it is the best way to restore credibility with the American people. We must secure the borders first and foremost, because that is where the problem originates and where it must be stopped. I voted against the final immigration reform bill because it was not good enough for Georgia and Senators were not given ample time to debate amendments to strengthen the bill. I have rejected proposals to provide amnesty for illegal immigrants and I have called for the creation of a tamper-proof biometric ID card for foreign workers.
I fought to have Senator Isakson's border security first trigger included in the immigration reform bill, and following the immigration debate in 2007, Senator Isakson and I repeatedly called on President Bush to send an emergency supplemental spending bill to Congress to fully fund border security before any other immigration reforms are implemented. We also introduced an amendment to the Homeland Security funding bill asking President Bush to submit an emergency supplemental spending bill to Congress to fund border security, which was approved unanimously by the Senate.
I authored an amendment to the immigration reform bill to preserve and protect Social Security benefits of American workers and to ensure that Congress plays a greater oversight role in totalization agreements. Totalization agreements allow workers who divide their careers between two countries to combine work credits from both countries to qualify for Social Security benefits and this is unfair.
I supported an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill that would provide funds to immediately pay for some of the manpower and technology necessary to secure the U.S. border including the following provisions: Achieving full operational control over 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico land border; Hiring, training and deploying of 23,000 Border Patrol agents; Putting into operation four unmanned aerial vehicles and 105 ground-based radar and camera towers; Constructing 300 miles of permanent vehicle barriers and 700 miles of border fencing; Acquiring 45,000 detention beds to put a permanent end to Catch and Release.'
I was disappointed that the Majority leadership to eliminate $3 billion in critical border security funding in the Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report.
This year I joined a group of Republican senators in introducing a package of 15 conservative immigration bills, including a bill I sponsored to provide state and local law enforcement officials with the necessary tools to be effective partners in the enforcement of our immigration laws. There are so many cases that clearly show that state and local law enforcement are the front lines of combating crimes committed by illegal immigrants. They are critical force multipliers but they are currently underutilized by their federal partners.
This year I also joined a group of Republican Senators in forming the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus. The Caucus is a platform to let Americans know that some members of the Senate are continuing to push for enforcement of immigration laws that are already on the books, to act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for better interior enforcement and border security, to push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation and to work together in the Senate to defeat possible future legislation that offers amnesty.