Today a compromise was announced in the Senate on border security that is designed to appeal to the GOP led House in moving the immigration legislation along.
The “border surge” will include 20,000 new border agents, observation towers, cameras, drones, helicopters, and 700 miles of new border fencing. Technological upgrades will be similar to what has been used in Afghanistan and Iraq. This comes at an approximate cost of $30 billion dollars.
According to a recent Migration Policy Institute report, the U.S. spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. In the past 26 years, $187 billion has been spent on immigration enforcement. The existing emphasis on border security has helped produce historically low border apprehensions and record breaking deportations.
Despite the existing emphasis on the border, some Republicans in both the House and the Senate had been expressing that border security was “weak.” Even as this new compromise was unveiled, Senators Sessions (R-Alabama) and Vitter (R-Louisiana) rejected the new border surge.
Essentially, the deal that was unveiled today means that additional measures have to be met before the undocumented can receive permanent residency and that the border will be even tougher for would be crossers who attempt to enter the United States without authorization. In recent years, there has been an increase in border shootings and questions raised about the use of force. Look for immigration and human rights advocates to begin raising questions about the accountability of the Customs and Border Enforcement.