Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee discussed his $600 million emergency package to improve security along the U.S.-Mexican border. Schumer’s proposal would deploy 1500 new border patrol personnel and fund unmanned aerial vehicles to boost border surveillance. It will also avoid adding to the deficit by raising fees on a handful of foreign corporations that abuse U.S. visa programs to import workers from India.
Last June, to respond to concerns about increased violence along the U.S.-Mexican border, President Obama announced he would deploy 1500 National Guard troops there. At the same time, he called for Congress to approve the $600 million in spending to further bolster border security operations. Since then, the House has approved the requested spending, but it was not deficit-neutral. The proposal passed by the Senate last week differs from the original House proposal in that it is fully paid for. Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Schumer’s bill with minor technical changes meaning that the bill could receive a final Senate vote sometime this week, likely tomorrow.
Standing at the Onondaga County Courthouse with Customs and Border Patrol Officials who are on the front lines in the fight against illegal immigration every day, Schumer made the case that this new proposal will ensure that our agents on the boarder have everything they need to enforce the law and stay safe.
“One of the top concerns I hear as I travel the state is curtailing illegal immigration, and this measure will go a long way in doing just that,” said Schumer. “This is a historic investment in the safety and security of our country, and it is bipartisan and fully paid for. I’d like to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for supporting this measure, and look forward to the President signing it this week.”
To pay for the emergency border spending, the Senate proposal would hike fees assessed on particular companies that exploit two categories of visas. A handful of foreign-controlled companies that operate in the United States—such as Wipro, Tata, Infosys and Satyam—rely on H1B and L visas to import foreign workers to the United States. Schumer’s border security proposal would increase the visa fees paid by these companies by roughly $2,000 per visa application.
A full summary of the proposal appears below:
Schumer’s Border Security Bill:
Provides for Border Enforcement at the Actual Border
· Additional Funding for Border Personnel ($254 million)
§ $176 million for 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to form a “strike force” to be deployed at areas most needed
§ $39 million for Customs and Border Protection (to keep current levels of officers)
§ $29 million for 250 new Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry
§ $10 million for investigators to stop corruption in border patrol and customs and border protection
· $14 million for communication equipment for new officers
· $32 million to deploy unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance (i.e. drones) on border
· $6 million to deploy forward operating bases along the border (as opposed to using current bases that are 100 miles away)
· Additional Funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ($80 million)
§ $30 million for border interdiction
§ $50 million for 250 new ICE personnel, including special agents, intelligence analysts, and support personnel
· Federal Law Enforcement Training Center ($8 million)
· Federal Judiciary resources for increased caseload ($10 million)
· Additional Funding For the Department of Justice ($196 million)
§ U.S. Attorneys and other legal expenses along border ($13 million)
§ U.S Marshals along border ($8 million)
§ Interagency Crime and Drug Law enforcement along border ($21 million)
§ Border processing of apprehended drug dealers and human traffickers ($7 million)
§ FBI along border ($24 million)
§ DEA along border ($34 million)
§ ATF along border ($37 million)
§ Federal Prison System for Immigrant Criminals ($20 million)
§ Administrative Review and Appeals expediting along border ($2.1 million)
Border Funding is Fully Offset By Fees on Companies That Offshore High-Paying American Jobs
· The bill raises fees on H-1B visas (for temporary skilled workers) for companies who have more than 50 percent of their employees on H-1B visas (this does not affect U.S. tech companies).
· The bill also raises fees on L visas (given to multi-national transferees) for foreign companies. The L visa is often used by foreign companies to circumvent the requirements of the H-1B visa.
Schumer added, “No doubt, we need to comprehensively reform our broken immigration system, and this plan is a first step in that process.”