Media Newswire, June 20, 2007
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL ) made the following comments regarding the $4.4 billion included in the immigration bill Sen. Reid reintroduced yesterday:
“If we assume that the Administration and the bill’s drafters were serious about their commitment to enforcement, the recent promises of guaranteed funding are unnecessary.
“The only significance of the promised funding is to effectively say ‘we’re going to fund what we already promised to fund.’ The $4.4 billion will not build additional miles of fencing, provide any new technology, hire additional agents or acquire more detention beds than already promised by the President and included in the bill’s provisions that trigger amnesty.
“Let me emphasize that this money will do nothing more than fund the enforcement trigger in the bill, which was already a solemn promise to the American people. The real problem is that the enforcement trigger does not go far enough. It will not adequately secure the border or restore the rule of law.
“The trigger remains very weak. It does not ensure—and the mandatory spending does not provide for—construction of the 700 miles of fencing already authorized by current law. The immigration bill only provides for construction of a total of 370 miles. A mere 87 miles of fencing exist today on our 2,000 mile southern border. Likewise, current law requires 43,000 detention spaces by the end of fiscal year 2007, but the bill’s enforcement trigger provides for only 31,500. The trigger does not require completion of the U.S. VISIT exit system, which is absolutely critical to ensure that foreign workers and visitors do not overstay their visas. To assert that these enforcement items are an assurance to the American people is disingenuous.
“Most significantly, the $4.4 billion will do nothing to change CBO’s conclusion that the bill will only reduce illegal immigration by 13 percent. CBO assumed the bill’s enforcement items would be funded when it published its June 4th cost estimate. If the Senate bill is enacted, CBO projects an additional 8.7 million new illegal immigrants will be in the U.S. in 20 years. These new promises do nothing to prevent that.”