Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today introduced an amendment to bolster security on the nation's southern border as part of the new immigration bill now being considered by the U.S. Senate.
"The American people want a strong, comprehensive immigration reform plan, but we need to get it right," Hoeven said. "That means first and foremost securing the southern border before we address other meaningful reforms to our immigration policy. They want to know that ten years from now, we won't find ourselves in this same position, having to address the same problem."
"Two of the things I hear most often from Tennesseans as it relates to immigration are: solve the problem and secure the border. What my colleagues and I have drafted over the past few days helps solve the problem and secure the border in a robust way. The goal was to shift the momentum dramatically, and that's what this amendment does. I hope House action will ultimately make the bill even stronger but believe this goes a long way toward fixing our broken immigration system," said Corker.
The Hoeven-Corker Southern Border Security Amendment would double the number of agents on the Mexican border and require implementation of a tough new border security plan along the nearly 2,000 mile southern border before unlawful immigrants already in the country could be eligible for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) or Green Card status 10 years after enactment. The border security plan is based on the U.S. Border Patrol's assessment of what the agency would need to maximally secure the nation's southern border.
The amendment also strengthens interior enforcement by requiring that officials enforce current immigration law and deter overstays by initiating removal proceedings for at least 90 percent of visa overstays.
Ten years after enactment, the senators' measure requires all five of the following conditions to be met before LPR, or a Green Card status, could be granted:
The Department of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Inspector General of the Department, and the Comptroller General of the United States (GAO), has submitted a Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy to Congress that includes minimum requirements for each sector along the border as identified by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the plan has been deployed and is operational.
The Border Patrol has deployed, maintained, and stationed 20,000 border patrol agents on the southern border in addition to the 18,500 agents already stationed there. This means an agent every 1,000 feet along the southern border.
An additional 350 miles of fencing has been completed (in addition to the 350 miles of fencing already on the ground).
The mandatory employment verification system has been fully implemented for all employers.
The mandated electronic entry/exit system has been fully implemented at all international air and sea ports of entry within the United States where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are currently deployed.
The Hoeven-Corker Comprehensive Southern Border Security plan is embedded in the legislation, and includes a combination of conventional security infrastructure like fencing, observation towers, fixed and mobile camera systems, helicopters and other physical surveillance equipment to secure the border, sector by sector. The plan also includes high-tech tools like mobile surveillance systems, seismic imaging, Vader systems, infrared ground sensors, and unmanned aerial systems equipped with infrared radar cameras and long-range thermal imaging cameras.