Senators OK 650 New Agents on Border

Washington Times, Apr. 21

The Senate yesterday approved an extra 650 Border Patrol agents as well as more immigration investigators and detention space as part of the emergency war-spending bill.

In a 65-34 vote, the Senate accepted a proposal by Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, to shift $389.6 million from diplomatic and consular programs to pay for the new agents, 2,000 additional detention beds, 250 immigration investigators and 168 new immigration-enforcement agents and deportation officers.

The move is a rebuke of President Bush, who signed a bill last year calling for 2,000 new Border Patrol agents each year for five years, as well as increases in the other areas, but submitted a budget calling for only 210 new agents and far fewer detention beds.

“We ask how and why illegal aliens continue to pour into our country, and the answer lies in every Border Patrol increase we do not fund, every agent we do not hire and every illegal alien we release due to lack of detention space,” Mr. Byrd said.

In the vote, 21 Republicans joined all 44 Democrats in supporting the new spending.

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