Members of Congress have been working on advancing important bills, trying to drive President Trump’s agenda while coming to a compromise. The latest bill has good news for Americans and is a big win for President Trump.
In the new Homeland Security spending bill, introduced by Senate Republicans, funding is allocated for key measures promised by President Trump. According to The Washington Times, $1.6 billion has been included as the first installment of funding for the border wall.
Although the bill does not specifically use the word “wall,” it allocates the $1.6 billion for border roads and “physical barriers.”
The bill states: “As a physical barrier is but one component of a border security system, the Committee believes it is imperative to include appropriate sensor technology, including fiber optics and camera systems, with the barrier system.”
The amount fulfills President Trump’s initial request for funding to build and repair at least 74 miles of fencing along the US-Mexico border, in targeted high-traffic areas identified by the administration. The amount is just three percent of the bill’s $51.6 billion total funding.
“This legislation will help enhance border security, provide relief from natural disasters, and help adapt to evolving threats against our country,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), who is also chairman of the subcommittee overseeing the Homeland Security budget.
Many members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are frustrated by the fact President Trump has not told them which fence he wants, and where he wants it built. The administration has said it will release annual requests based on updates of priority needs identified by border security officials. Eight prototypes for a new barrier wall meant to enhance border security have been built and are undergoing testing along the border to determine which one would best fit the border security needs.
Although not all of President Trump’s requested funding was provided, it does provide much of what he wanted. The bill allocated $13.5 billion in funding, a 10 percent increase, for border security, including improvements in infrastructure, technology, and personnel.
The bill continues the “catch-and-release” program, which would release detained migrants once the 31,000-person federal capacity was reached. President Trump requested $3.6 billion to fund larger detention centers, expanding the space to hold up to 51,379 migrants. However, the bill only allocated $2.9 billion for that purpose.
The bill also includes $132 million for US Citizenship & Immigration Services, including funds for the E-Verify system, as well as $6.7 billion for Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) missions tasked with apprehending illegal immigrants.
A significant effort to fund Pres. Trump’s immigration reforms is fomenting in Congress. Is this a key victory for the President?
The bill came with some criticisms. Republican members of Congress denied funding for 850 additional ICE officers, saying that extra officers were only needed for Border Patrol. Democrats, as expected, complained that the three percent allocated to the border wall was too much, and argued that more money should be spent on priorities of Democrats.
The bill has already passed in the US House, so time will tell whether or not Senate Democrats will interfere with the President’s agenda. Hopefully, they will do Americans a service by passing the funding needed to keep America safe.