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Democrats Push for Tougher Border Security

Despite Republican accusations that Obama does not want to secure the border, stronger enforcement isn’t off the table for Democrats. Yesterday’s ruling blocking key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law may have bolstered Republican’s claims, but last night, the House offered a strong counterargument — it passed an enforcement-heavy bill that would provide $701 million toward hiring new Border Patrol agents, expanding enforcement programs and supporting local law enforcement.

The Atlantic’s Nicole Allan reports on how this might complicate Republican strategy:

One tack for Republicans may be to claim that the bill does not do enough, proving that Democrats are not serious about immigration. Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the conservative-leaning Center for Immigration Studies, provided a preview of this approach.

“In general, it’s not enough money for border security, and it could be allocated differently to get more bang for the buck,” she said.

People want more border security, and some argue the White House should use give in, if only to improve the odds for other popular reform measures. (There is also widespread support for legalizing immigrants already in the country.) The Washington Post’s Edward Schumacher-Matos made a case for why Obama should accept Sen. John McCain’s 10-point border security plan:

Rightly or wrongly, the public’s patience with illegal immigration has run out. Barack Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has had no choice politically or legally but to enforce the law. The ballooning enforcement budget — about 10 times larger than in 1993 — is diminishing the flow of new immigrants.

But it is also forcing Obama to do what he and the other presidents have tried to avoid: deport those unauthorized people — many with families — who are honest and hardworking and integral to the U.S. economy. This year alone, the Obama administration is on track to deport about 400,000 illegal immigrants — only a small percentage of them real criminals — out of an estimated population of less than 11 million.

It’s unclear whether Republicans will make good on their promises to be more supportive of immigration reform if border security is improved, but with immigration reform at a standstill some people seem to think it’s worth a try.

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