Senate Passes Border Security Bill, Again

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10:53 am

The $600 million border security bill first passed by the Senate last Thursday was passed again by voice vote in a brief session today. Only two senators, Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and  Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.),  returned to the Senate to conduct the session, because Republicans agreed to again consent to the bill.

The bill was re-started by the House Tuesday because of problems with its funding. The bill is fully funded through visa hikes for companies that hire large numbers of foreign workers with H1-B visas, but had to be started as a new bill because Constitutional rules state that revenue measures must start in the House.

Of the $600 million, $175.9 million will go to hiring additional border patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border, while $32 million will go to purchasing and deploying unmanned drones along the border.

Schumer said the bill is part of a multi-part effort to improve the immigration system in the U.S., urging his colleagues to focus on comprehensive immigration reform now that the bill has been passed.

“This bill is enormously important because it will clear the path for the bipartisan discussions we need to have about our immigration system,” Schumer said.

But observers aren’t so sure the bill will help matters for immigration reform. In my story today, I found that both immigrants rights advocates and proponents of harsher immigration efforts think the bill comes up short, and neither side believes the bill will convince Republicans to agree to support paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

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