U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced she is an original cosponsor of an amendment to the immigration reform bill that further strengthens border security and enforcement measures. The amendment, introduced by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND), would withhold green cards from Registered Provisional Immigrants until specific security steps are met, including the deployment of an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the southern border, completion of at least 700 miles of border fencing, and full implementation of E-Verify. In an effort to deter visa overstays, the amendment also requires deportation proceedings for at least 90 percent of those who have overstayed their visas. If and only if these strict requirements are met, RPIs may be eligible to receive a green card (lawful permanent resident status) after 10 years.
"This amendment addresses the concerns that have been raised about the immigration reform bill's border security provisions," said Senator Ayotte, who spoke on the Senate floor today in support of the amendment. "These tough requirements will double the number of border security agents at the southern border, increase the amount of border fencing, and ensure the best border surveillance and security technology is in place - preventing another wave of illegal immigrants."
HIGHLIGHTS OF CORKER-HOEVEN AMENDMENT:
Before Registered Provisional Immigrants are eligible to for lawful permanent resident (green card) status, the following conditions must be met:
* The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, and government watchdogs including the Homeland Security Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office, must certify that the Comprehensive Southern Border Strategy is in place and operational.
o High-tech equipment and tools operating to provide surveillance
* Deployment of an additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the southern border, more than doubling the current number
* Construction of at least 700 miles of border fencing
* Full implementation of E-Verify, which would make it virtually impossible to work in the U.S. illegally
* Full implementation of the electronic visa entry/exit system at all international airports and seaports in the U.S.