Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today supported construction of at least 370 miles of triple-layer fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers at strategic locations along the U.S. – Mexico border. The new fencing will primarily be constructed in urban areas where today immigrants can literally walk into the United States.
“The first issue to address in immigration reform must be border security,” said Graham. “Our borders are clearly broken. Over the last decade, the number of people illegally crossing the border has dramatically increased. There’s no doubt we must do more to improve the security of our border and I’m glad our comprehensive immigration reform legislation addresses this important issue.”
The amendment was offered by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) and passed the Senate by a vote of 83-16.
Graham noted the triple-layer fencing would be similar to the San Diego Border Fence, a state-of-the-art nearly impenetrable barrier which has made illegal entry into the U.S. much more difficult.
“San Diego was once a haven for illegal crossings but the barrier nearly stopped the flood of border crossings from Mexico,” said Graham. “It worked and I believe we should expand it to protect additional miles of our border, particularly the urban border areas.”
Graham noted that in addition to the Sessions amendment, the immigration reform bill has other provisions which toughen border security. They include the hiring of an additional 12,000 Border Patrol agents over the next five years and creation of a ‘virtual’ fence relying on cameras, motion detectors, and other technological devices to prevent illegal crossings in remote locations. The legislation also calls for the creation of additional fencing and barriers.
“We must physically secure our border and that means more fencing, more barriers, and the use of more technology at our border,” said Graham. “Tougher border security is a vital and necessary component in comprehensive immigration reform. I’m pleased the Senate agreed to this amendment and look forward to tightening security along our nation’s borders.”