During a press conference this morning, Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Republicans from Arizona, announced a 10-point border security plan for Arizona they say will fight illegal immigration, drug and immigrant smuggling and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Their plan, which comes on the same day that the Arizona Senate will decide on a controversial immigration bill, calls for the deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops to the southern Arizona border, the implementation of Operation Streamline, a program that has created a backlog of immigration cases and a rising number of immigrant detainees, and the completion of an unpopular border fence, among other measures.
During the conference, McCain said immigration reform is a top priority, but border security should come first. The Hill reports:
‘The lesson is clear: First we have to secure the border,’ McCain said in a press conference. ‘If you want to enact some other reforms, how can that be effective when you have a porous border?…So we have to secure the border first,’ he added.
Here’s the entire plan, from a press release:
- Immediately deploy 3,000 National Guard Troops along the Arizona/Mexico border, along with appropriate surveillance platforms, which shall remain in place until the Governor of Arizona certifies, after consulting with state, local and tribal law enforcement, that the Federal Government has achieved operational control of the border. Permanently add 3,000 Custom and Border Protection Agents to the Arizona/Mexico border by 2015.
- Fully fund and support Operation Streamline in Arizona’s two Border Patrol Sectors to, at a minimum, ensure that repeat illegal border crossers go to jail for 15 to 60 days. Where Operation Streamline has been implemented, the number of illegal crossings has decreased significantly. Require the Obama Administration to complete a required report detailing the justice and enforcement resources needed to fully fund this program. Fully reimburse localities for any related detention costs.
- Provide $100M, an increase of $40M, for Operation Stonegarden, a program that provides grants and reimbursement to Arizona’s border law enforcement for additional personnel, overtime, travel and other related costs related to illegal immigration and drug smuggling along the border.
- Offer Hardship Duty Pay to Border Patrol Agents assigned to rural, high-trafficked areas, such as the CBP Willcox and Douglas Stations in the Tucson Sector.
- Complete the 700 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico and construct double- and triple- layer fencing at appropriate locations along the Arizona-Mexico border.
- Substantially increase the 25 mobile surveillance systems and three Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in place today along the Arizona/Mexico border and ensure the border patrol has the resources necessary to operate the UAVs 24 hours a day seven days a week. Send additional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to the Arizona-Mexico Border.
- Increase funding for vital radio communications and interoperability between CBP and state, local, and tribal law enforcement to assist in apprehensions along the border.
- Provide funding for additional Border Patrol stations in the Tucson Sector and explore the possibility of an additional Border Patrol sector for Arizona. Create six additional permanent Border Patrol Forward Operating Bases, and provide funding to upgrade the existing bases to include modular buildings, electricity and potable water. Complete construction of the planned permanent checkpoint in Arizona. Deploy additional temporary roving checkpoints and increase horse patrols throughout the Tucson Sector.
- Require the Federal government to fully reimburse state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens. Start by at least funding the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) at its authorized level of $950 million.
- Place one full-time Federal Magistrate in Cochise County and provide full funding for and authorization of the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative to reimburse state, county, tribal, and municipal governments for costs associated with the prosecution and pre-trial detention of federally-initiated criminal cases declined by local offices of the United States Attorneys.