Oct 03 2007

Graham Amendment Providing $3 Billion for Border Security Passes Senate

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) to provide $3 billion for increased border security and interior enforcement measures.  The measure passed 95-1. 



“In the age of terrorism, regaining operational control of our nation’s borders is a national security issue of the highest order,” said Graham.  “The term ‘operational control’ is a military term, and I look at this effort to secure our border as a military operation.  We are serious about border security and this again shows the commitment to do whatever is necessary to regain control of our borders."


“There is no doubt we need better border security at our southern border including more boots on the ground, more miles of fencing, better technology which acts as a force multiplier, additional detention beds, and unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Graham.  “My amendment provides funding for these important and much-needed changes in federal policy.”


Graham sponsored the amendment along with Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).


"The U.S. has come a long way in its efforts to secure the border," said Kyl.  "For example, the number of Border Patrol agents has increased from approximately 4,000 to 15,000 by the end of 2007.  And, last year, Congress gave DHS an extra $1.2 billion to construct fencing and other vehicular barriers in FY2007.  But there is still so much left to do.  This amendment provides an additional $3 billion in emergency funding for FY2008 to protect the border, enhance interior enforcement, including at the workplace, and detain more illegal immigrants who have either committed crimes or who are in the process of being removed from the U.S. for immigration violations."


The Graham Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill and Homeland Security Appropriations bill:


  • Establishes operational control over the entire US border.



    Provides funding to construct 700 miles of fencing.



    Provides funding to procure Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), ground sensors, vehicle barriers.



    Increases the ability to detain immigrants for overstaying their visas and committing other crimes.



    Provides funding for states and localities that undergo training to assist the Federal government in enforcing immigration law.


The Graham Amendment mirrors a provision Graham introduced and passed in July as part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations bill by a vote of 89-1.



“I want the $3 billion to become law and this will increase the odds of that happening,” said Graham.  “Right now, there appears to be more bipartisan agreement on the Defense Appropriations bill and it stands a much better chance of being signed into law.  I have concerns Democrats in the House of Representatives will strip the $3 billion for border security from the Homeland Security bill when it goes to conference, or change the bill in ways that force a presidential veto.”