Border Enforcement

An important part of the immigration reform bills is the enforcement of U.S. borders.  The security at the northern and southern borders of the U.S. has come under attack in recent times and there is a desire to increase security so that there are fewer immigrants entering the U.S. illegally. 

Key points concerning border enforcement in the bill passed by the Senate include:

  • Increases in border protection officers and inspectors (2000 additional agents in 2006, 2,400 additional agents every year from 2007 to 2011)
  • Purchase of new technology to aid in border patrol (i.e. Unmanned aerial planes)
  • Replacement of various fence locations on US border with double and triple layered fencing
  • Integration of a biometric database
  • End of the “catch and release” practice and requires that all non-Mexicans caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally will be detained until removal or until a decision is made on their admission into the U.S.
  • Prison time for those who try to elude or do not obey a command of an US official at a port of entry or checkpoint
  • Knowingly constructing or financing the construction of an unlawfully constructed tunnel between the US and another country is a crime.

The provisions contained in this bill are very important to both US citizens and legal aliens.  Not only are they included to make US citizens more secure, but legal permanent residents and immigrants wishing to enter the US legally also benefit.  By decreasing illegal immigration to the US, there will be more jobs and opportunities for immigrants trying to enter the US legally and perhaps they will have an easier time entering the US.  By eliminating illegal immigrants, employers will have to resort to hiring legal immigrants, thus legal immigrants will have an easier time finding employers or sponsors since they do not have to compete with illegal immigrants. 

The bill passed in the House of Representatives also focuses on border enforcement.  The House bill includes provisions such as:

  • The construction of up to 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border
  • Investigate how new and current technologies affect border security and control and implement new technology
  • End of the “catch and release program,” federal authorities will take custody of illegal immigrants from local officials.
  • Enhance biometric data in order to have more expedient data searches
  • Hiring of at least 250 additional border security personal each year between the fiscal years 2007 and 2010

These provisions, like those in the Senate bill, are important to both immigrants and US citizens. Immigrants who enter the US through legal means (i.e. going through the entire immigration process) will benefit from increased border security and increased activity against illegal immigrants. This will also make the US as a whole safer and increase the opportunities legal immigrants have in the US.

Border Enforcement
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