Mar 09 2006

Senate Judiciary Committee Progress on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ongoing work on comprehensive immigration reform will hopefully pay dividends in helping to eliminate illegal crossings on our nation’s southern border. “The first issue to address in immigration reform is border security,” said Graham. “Without strong physical border security no immigration reform will be successful in stopping the flood of illegal crossings. The porous nature of our border doesn’t just pose immigration problems, but national security ones as well.” The Judiciary Committee has discussed whether to create a real or virtual fence along the United States-Mexico border. A virtual fence would rely on cameras, motion detectors and other technological devices to monitor illegal crossings into the United States. A real fence would be similar to the San Diego Border Fence, a state-of-the-art nearly impenetrable barrier which made illegal entry into our nation much more difficult. The San Diego area was once a haven for illegal crossings but the Border Fence nearly stopped the flood of border crossings from Mexico into the area. “The Border Fence has worked in California and I’m ready to expand it to protect additional miles of our border,” said Graham. “It would cost an estimated $5 billion to construct, but that is a small price to pay when it comes to protecting our national security and relieving the pressure we face from a tidal wave of illegal immigration. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts about whether there is enough support in the Senate today for construction of a Border Fence. “The committee has already agreed to increase the use of technology and passed an amendment I authored that would that would allow more Border Patrol agents with military backgrounds to enforce our nation’s borders,” said Graham. “Due to modernization, in the coming years we’re expected to have a reduced number of people serving in some areas of the military. These veterans, with years of military experience and training, are excellent candidates to serve in an expanded Border Patrol.” “While many issues surrounding immigration reform are contentious, there is broad agreement among many Republicans and Democrats that maintaining the status quo along the border is simply unacceptable,” concluded Graham. Next week the committee will continue to work on the best way to increase security along our nation’s southern border. #####