Congress Approves $600 Million for More Cops, Drones on Mexico Border [UPDATED]

(This is an updated version, posted August 11, of an article originally published on August 7.)

Acting to fulfill a June request from President Obama, the Senate last Thursday approved spending $600 million to increase the law enforcement presence on the US-Mexico border. The House earlier approved a $701 million version of the bill, and Tuesday moved on a voice vote to accept the Senate version.

military drone planes
The Obama request was largely a response to the meltdown over immigration in Arizona and calls to "secure the border" from Republicans. It also reflected heightening concern about the prohibition-related violence bloodying the Mexican side of the border. Last year, Obama had vowed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but at this point, all that's left is more money for law enforcement.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) provides funds for purchasing more unmanned drone surveillance aircraft ($32 million), 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to form a rapid-deployment unit ($129 milllion), as well as another 250 agents each for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE ($50 million) and Border Protection ($29 million).

Then there's $10 million for investigators to stop corruption in the Border Patrol and ICE, $14 million for communications equipment for new officers, $6 million for forward operating bases near the border, $30 for border interdiction, $8 million for a federal law enforcement training center, $10 million for federal judiciary resources for increased caseloads, $196 million for the Department of Justice, $13 million for border area US Attorneys, $8 million for more US Marshals along the border, and $7 million for border processing of apprehended drug and human traffickers.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms gets $37 million in the border beef-up, the DEA gets $34 million, and the FBI gets $24 million. And then there's another $21 million for "interagency crime and drug law enforcement along the border," another $20 million for a federal prison system for immigration criminals, and, finally, $2.1 million to "expedite" the deportation of aliens along the border.

The Senate bill pays for the spending by imposing a new tax on companies that hire foreign workers. Companies affected would be those that hire more than 50 H1B or L visa foreign workers.

"What a relief that the Senate is still capable of passing measures that are really needed without playing political games," McCaskill said Thursday after the vote. "America must do a better job of securing our borders. This bill will help in a big way."

"This bipartisan effort shows we are serious about making the border more secure than ever. Now our attention must turn to comprehensive reform, which is the only way to fully address the problem of illegal immigration," said Schumer, the chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee.

And so the show goes on, just as the flows of drugs and immigrants go on.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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borden's picture

off-topic posting

Dear readers:

A reader posted a comment here that was irrelevant to the topic of the post, mostly off topic to drug policy, and with a link to a Lou Dobbs video that was completely off topic. I deleted it, and the individual posted another comment here complaining about censorship of dialogue.

Please take a moment if you haven't already to review our commenting guidelines, one of which is that comments should be on topic.

- Dave

I beg to differ

For starters, Phillip Smith's article is one of the more informative on the breakdown of the funding on the Senate Bill -- referred by Google News.  Actually, a very good article excepting the POV added at the end.

My comments were of the following nature...

1. I observed that funding for Employer Sanctions did not have a budget item listed in the article, I commented that I'd like to see the ATF perform this function, they will receive funding from the Senate version of the Bill. 

My POV? Border security is an obfuscation of the issue, employer sanction are the solution -- even if it just means that employment tax expenses for "undocumented workers" are disallowed from business tax filings. Seems fair to me. 

2. I'm happy to see the  H-1B & L-1 fee increase as a deterrent to labor arbitrage, the article reads...

The Senate bill pays for the spending by imposing a new tax on companies that hire foreign workers. Companies affected would be those that hire more than 50 H1B or L visa foreign workers.

The Lou Dobbs video supports the labor arbitrage statement with studies from Harvard, Duke, Rand, Sloan that there is no shortage of Science and Engineering graduates -- rather a 3 to 1 shortage of employment creation. Further, the H-1B and L-1 temporary visas can only be obtained at the discretion of an employer. Moreover, adjustment of status to permanent residence is also at the discretion of an employer -- seems like a form of prohibition to me.

The recent illegal immigration problem was created by big AG, dumping food product into Latin American countries with the intent of bankrupting sustenance farming.  Big AG then encouraged/recruited from these economic expulsion victims, to come to America, reduce production costs so the monolopy could continue the march toward food domination. I've worked and vacationed in Mexico, it was an emerging paradise in the early 90's the vast majority had no aspirations of moving to America. 

 I'm in your camp on the war on drugs, but probably for more conservative leanings, removing the prohibition also removes government graft and the huge profits gleaned by extremely violent organizations. 

I believed, due the News relevance Google has bestowed upon your web-site, that readers would be interested in sources of information from various sources -- my expertise is business related immigration and labor statistics. 

So go ahead and censor me because you are predetermined to believe that Lou Dobbs and I are racist, I'll simply conclude that your group is just a bunch of stoned bloggers -- do you see how nothing is getting accomplished around here? 





borden's picture

labor arbitrage is not a drug policy issue


Treatises on Dobbsian or any other theories about the licit agriculture industry's relation to illegal immigration are plainly off topic here, Phil's miniminal reference to 50 H1B and L visas and the implication you say that has for labor arbitrage notwithstanding. I don't mind a side note with a link now and then, if you think that some resource by yourself or others could shed further light on a topic that has come up in one of our articles. But that's about it.

So, that means that you can respect this web site's topic and guidelines -- and be welcome here -- or I can bar you from the site, you decide. If that makes us "a bunch of stoned bloggers," as you put it, then go smoke crack with crazy Lou and you'll get over it fast enough.

- Dave

P.S. Thank you for compliment on Phil's article.

McD's picture

Off Topic

Looks pretty self-obsessed, possibly delusional, and certainly off topic to me.

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