Sunday, August 15, 2010

Border security bill passes while senators are on vacation

Border security bill clears Senate, to become law Friday

A border security bill passed the Senate Thursday and headed for the president’s signature. The Senate, on its August escape, had only two Democrats present to handle the vote. The border security bill allocates $ 600 million to hire more agents and buy more equipment to police the U.S./Mexico border. The federal government has been pressured by border states struggling with drug trafficking and illegal immigration to do something about border security.

Bill pays for 1,500 new border security jobs

The border security bill was passed in a special session convened by the Senate Thursday. The bill passed by unanimous consent, a parliamentary term for a voice vote that does not require the return of the entire Senate chamber. In a rare moment of consensus, Republicans agreed to go along. The Associated Press reports that jobs created by the bill contain 250 more Customs and Border Protection officers, 250 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and 1,000 new Border Patrol agents. Money will even be allocated to new communications gear and more flight hours for unmanned surveillance drones. About a 3rd of the cash goes to the Justice Department to help agencies for instance the FBI, the DEA and the ATF deal with drug dealers and human traffickers.

Bill penalizes law-abiding companies

The border security bill is election year theatre both parties both parties hope convince voters the Washington is capable of addressing border security within the wake of Arizona’s immigration law. The Los Angeles Times reports that the $ 600 million price tag of the border security bill will be paid for by substantially boosting fees on businesses that hire foreign workers using U.S visa programs. Immigration advocates have denounced the package as an election year stunt that will do little to address the complex troubles of illegal immigration. Politicians say a broader debate on immigration reform that consists of a route to citizenship for about 11 million illegal immigrants can be made possible when the border is secured.

Results from a rare special session

The Senate convened during its summer trip for only the second time since the August break was institutionalized in 1970, the Senate Historical Office said. The New York Times reports that Charles E. Schumer of New York and Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, both Democrats, were the only senators present. The House and Senate had already passed the bill earlier in the week. But a re-vote was unavoidable after one of the Senate’s byzantine procedural rules was overlooked. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the first and only other time the Senate has convened during summer recess.

Additional reading at these sites

Associated Press

Los Angeles Times

New York Times

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