A deal-breaker with conservative Republicans and the bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ hoping to achieve major immigration reform has been insuring that before legalization, the federal government first takes major steps to improve border security. As the issue has appeared to slowdown the ‘Gang of Eight’ bill’s momentum, a solution may be in sight. The Washington Examiner reports that Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Bob Corker have been working on an amendment to the bill that would quell conservative concerns on border measures then award green cards, or permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants.
The key feature of the deal is a massive increase in the number of Border Patrol agents. The Hoeven and Corker amendment would call for the number of agents to be essentially doubled, to about 40,000 from its current force of 20,000. “It’s hard to contend that you can’t control the border with about 40,000 Border Patrol agents,” says the Senate aide.
The deal would also call for an increase in the miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. It appears the amendment will provide for a total that is near the 700 miles of fencing called for in the Secure Fence Act, which Congress passed in 2006 but watered down a year later.
The plan would also include what the aide calls “a whole gaggle” of border security infrastructure — infrared sensors, drones, and other high-tech devices, which the aide says would be “enough to give situational awareness along the whole border.”
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