Claims That S. 744 Does Nothing To Address Border Security Ring Hollow

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff
S. 744: The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Claims That S.744 Does Nothing to Address Border Security Ring Hollow

RHETORIC: During Monday’s markup session, Republican Senators claimed that S.744 does not address border security concerns, and will do little to address security issues along the southern and northern borders.

Despite an already strong track record of enforcement, S.744 devotes billions in additional resources for border security, and creates mandatory E-Verify and Exit Tracking systems to detect those unlawfully present in the United States.

·         The bill commits as much as $6.5 billion to border security initiatives.  It requires DHS to develop a comprehensive border strategy and a southern border fencing strategy, and to ensure those strategies are operational before green cards are issued to formerly undocumented aliens. [§6(a)(3)] ·         The United States already spends more money on immigration enforcement agencies than it does on all our major federal law enforcement agencies put together. The Border Patrol has over 21,000 agents, more than at any point in its history, and 650 miles of fencing have been built in the past eight years. [Migration Policy Institute]

·         The bill also contains extensive provisions to create a mandatory E-Verify system to be used by all employers within four years [§3101] and strengthens security by establishing a mandatory electronic exit system to track visa overstays.  [§3303

S.744 makes billions of dollars in investments to secure the nation’s borders.

In 2007, President Bush introduced a plan that made legalization contingent upon increased border increased border security, and calling for an increase in border patrol agents to 20,000, 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 370 miles of fencing, 105 radar and camera towers, and four surveillance drones.  The bill also asked for enough resources for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain up to 31,500 per day.

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act will surpass these proposed investments, and direct billions in personnel and infrastructure resources to secure the border:

  • 103 Integrated Fixed Towers to assist agents in detecting and tracking illegal entries along the border through a series of fixed surveillance towers and command and control equipment that displays a common operational picture and increases CBP’s situational awareness so it can more efficiently predict, respond to and deter attempted entries either on foot, animal, or vehicle;
  • 505 Fixed Camera Systems with Remote Video Surveillance Systems;
  • 232 Mobile Video Surveillance Systems to detect and track illegal incursions and allow for constant surveillance of surrounding areas;
  • 4,455 Unattended Ground Sensors to automatically detect the presence of nearby persons or vehicles and then transmit this information back to a remote headquarters;
  • 854 Handheld Equipment Devices Including Imaging and Night Vision to help detect unauthorized nighttime border crossings by registering body-heat as a signal;
  • 11 Fixed Checkpoint Systems to create an enforcement presence along strategic routes, restricting the ability of criminal organizations to smuggle unauthorized immigrants and contraband across the border;
  • 712 Mobile and Handheld Inspection Scopes and Sensors to allow CBP agents to survey difficult, hard-to-reach spaces, and can include cameras with telescoping lens mounted onto flexible gooseneck extenders.

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