We saw this coming from a mile away.
It is certainly no surprise that Senate Republicans who failed to deliver on fair and humane immigration reform have organized themselves to push for an enforcement bill that flies in the face of what we know is healthy and just for our communities.
Senators, many of whom are in support of this bill, have spat in the face of compromise and are now trying to move legislation based on fear-mongering and scapegoating of immigrant communities without looking out for the rights of immigrants and the vitality of our communities. (see overview of legislation below).
This bill is bad for the public safety of all of our communities, it is bad for our border families and communities, and it is bad for the well-being of immigrants.
The Border Security First Act of 2007
July 25, 2007
Washington D.C. – This morning, Senate Republicans, led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), introduced the “Border Security First Act of 2007” as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. In response to the continued effort to secure America’s borders, the Act provides $3 billion in emergency funding for the following:
· Operational control over 100% of the U.S.-Mexico land border
· 23,000 Border Patrol agents hired, trained, and reporting for duty
· 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles & 105 ground-based radar and camera towers
· 300 miles of vehicle barriers & 700 miles of border fencing
· A permanent end to the “catch-and-release” policy with 45,000 detention beds.
In addition, the Act contains additional border and interior enforcement provisions necessary for stemming the tide of illegal immigration, restricting immigration benefits to lawbreakers, and further protecting the homeland from terrorists and criminals. Among other things, the Act does the following:
· Increased Personnel: Requires a total of 14,500 new Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) agents through Fiscal Year 2012 – to approximately 30,000 CBP agents overall – as well as increased hires of new Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
· Sanctuary Cities: Prohibits cities from banning the obtaining of information on immigration status by their own law enforcement agencies.
· Operation Jump Start/National Guard: Provides additional funding for Operation Jump Start to maintain a National Guard presence along the Southern border.
· Criminal Aliens: Strengthens laws to deny immigration benefits to aggravated felons, gang members, terrorists, sex offenders, and child abusers. The bill also expands the Institutional Removal Program and gives DHS the ability to detain criminal aliens for an extended period of time before they can be removed.
· State and Local Law Enforcement: Gives state and local law enforcement new authorities to detain illegal aliens and transfer them into DHS custody. Moreover, it allows state and local law enforcement authorities to use homeland security grants for 287(g) training and provides funding to cover the costs of detaining and transporting criminal aliens.
· Visa Overstayers: Requires DHS to detain aliens who willfully overstay their period of authorized admission for more than 60 days.
· Illegal Reentry: Increases criminal penalties and sets mandatory minimum prison sentences for aliens who have been removed and illegally re-enter our country.
· Expedited Removal: Restricts the impact of outdated court injunctions that currently prevent DHS from certain illegal immigrants into expedited removal and returning them to their country of origin as soon as circumstances allow.
· US-VISIT and Entry Inspection: Clarifies DHS’s authority to collect biometric entry and exit data at U.S. ports of entry, as well as requires the Department to provide Congress a timeline for implementing US-VISIT at all land border points of entry.
· Employment Eligibility Verification: Requires DHS to enhance the Basic Pilot Program to help facilitate broader use by employers as well as improved accuracy and efficiency.
· Liability Protection for Reporting Suspicious Threats: Grants civil liability protection to those who report possible threats to our nation’s transportation system.
SENATE REPUBLICAN COMMUNICATIONS CENTER