U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) today cosponsored two amendments to the Fiscal Year 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to increase the federal government's commitment to secure our nation's southern border. The first amendment, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), would vastly increase the number of Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, counterdrug enforcement and firearm trafficking personnel, in addition to providing needed funds for unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters. A second amendment by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would provide for at least 6,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the southern border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel in their efforts. Both of these amendments are deficit-neutral and fully paid for by redirecting funds from the $787 billion stimulus that have not yet been obligated.
Senator Gregg stated, "Securing the southern border with Mexico is absolutely critical to our national security. Unfortunately, prior to this week, this Administration has allowed the issue to fall by the wayside, exacerbating tensions along the border, increasing immigration violations and potentially allowing terrorists into our country without our knowledge. Although I support the President's call for an additional 1,200 National Guardsmen to be sent to the southern border, it is simply not enough. We must provide the resources needed to fully secure the southern border immediately. These two amendments are fiscally responsible and will take unobligated stimulus funds to put the necessary personnel in place to do just that. As I have said before, we should address immigration reform, but not until the southern border is secured."
Background: Sen. Gregg Committed to Strengthening U.S. Borders and Immigration Enforcement
As former Chairman and current member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Senator Gregg has a long history of supporting robust efforts to secure our nation's borders. Among other successful accomplishments, Senator Gregg authored an amendment to the FY 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations Act that provided $3 billion in emergency funding for a variety of border security initiatives and mandated that the Department of Homeland Security obtain operational control over the U.S.-Mexico land border. His efforts to shape policies and provide needed funds for the Department of Homeland Security -- including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- have resulted in increased resources, personnel and technology for securing U.S. borders and enforcing immigration laws. As a direct result of these efforts, the Department of Homeland Security has been able to accomplish the following:
* The construction of several hundreds of miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing;
* More than 30,000 detention beds and the ending of DHS's "catch-and-release" policy along the Southwest border;
* More than 20,000 CBP agents;
* The removal of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, and the initiation of removal proceedings against criminal aliens in our nation's prisons;
* The majority of states and municipalities are now involved in the 287(g) program, up from only 2 in 2005. Under this program, ICE helps train and provides resources to state and local law enforcement to investigate, detain, and arrest aliens on civil and criminal grounds.