Today, the President sent Congress a request for $1.948 billion in
emergency funding to help secure America's borders. The request includes
funding for the first 1,000 of 6,000 new border patrol agents that will be
deployed in the next two years and the resources to train them, the
temporary deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops to assist the
Border Patrol with surveillance and logistics, new border security
technology and infrastructure, and 4,000 new detention beds.
The President believes America can be a lawful society and a welcoming
society at the same time. We will fix the problem of illegal immigration,
and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair.
Border security is part of the President's vision for comprehensive
immigration reform. The President outlined to the American people Monday
night a five-point plan that includes increased border security, a
temporary worker program, accountability for employers, a strategy to deal
with the millions of illegal immigrants who are already here without
granting amnesty, and continuing America's melting pot tradition.
Today's request does not increase the cost of the Administration's
supplemental request. These funds are offset by reductions elsewhere in
the Administration's original emergency request for the War on Terror. The
President will veto the emergency supplemental appropriations bill if it
exceeds $92.2 billion for any reason other than funding needed to prepare
for a possible avian flu pandemic or if it includes non-emergency or
Department of Homeland Security: $1.172 billion
Customs and Border Protection & Federal Law Enforcement Training Center:
More Border Patrol Agents: $235 million for 1,000 new Border Patrol agents
and related support costs, $50 million for additional recruiting and
expanded training capacity at the Border Patrol Academy, $25 million to
expand the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and $20 million for
additional office staff to free-up agents for law enforcement duties.
Funding for 1,500 additional agents was included in the President's FY2007
Budget and funding for 3,500 agents will be sought over the next two years,
in order to deploy 6,000 new agents by the end of 2008.
Increased Physical Security: $250 million for enhanced security
infrastructure including vehicle barriers, lighting, all-weather roads, and
fencing, as well as $75 million for new high-tech communication and command
and control resources.
More Air Support: $95 million for two additional unmanned aerial vehicles
and five additional helicopters.
New Facilities and Equipment: $50 million for new and expanded stations,
checkpoints, and forward operating bases to accommodate new agents and
their supplies, and $30 million to replace worn-out vehicles in the Border
Patrol's 9,000-vehicle pool.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement & State and Local Government
Assistance: $342 million
Detention Beds to End Catch-and-Release: $80 million for 4,000 new beds,
which will help end catch-and-release along the southern border.
Detention Staff: $70 million for detention and removal staff and $30
million for enhanced fugitive operations and detention alternatives.
Increased Removal and Transportation: $97 million to transport aliens and
return them to their own countries.
Assisting State and Local Efforts: $50 million to train state and local law
enforcement authorities to assist the Border Patrol and other Federal
officers on targeted enforcement missions, and $15 million for "Operation
Stonegarden" initiatives in selected states to enable state, local, and
tribal law enforcement personnel to coordinate directly with Federal
Customs and Border Protection personnel to increase patrol presence,
provide traffic-control support at the border and at checkpoints, and
participate in Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.
National Guard: $756 million
To Help During This Period Of Transition And In Coordination With
Governors, Up To 6,000 National Guard Members Will Be Sent To Our Southern
Border. The Department of Homeland Security, and specifically the Border
Patrol, will remain in the lead. National Guard units will assist the
Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence,
installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and
providing training. National Guard units deployed to our border will not
be involved in direct law enforcement activities - that duty will be done
by the Border Patrol.
This Initial Commitment Of Guard Members Would Last For One Year. After
that, the number of National Guard members will be reduced as new Border
Patrol agents are added and new technologies come online. At any one time,
these 6,000 Guard members account for less than 2 percent of the total
National Guard force of more than 440,000. Guard members will be deployed
in two- to three-week rotations to meet this 6,000 person level. We have
enough National Guard members to deploy to our border, while continuing to
respond to natural disasters and fight and win the War on Terror.
The President Is Committed To Working With Our Nation's Governors. Military
personnel will be employed consistent with applicable Federal, state, and
local law. The National Guard Bureau will serve as the coordinating
authority to deploy National Guard units from across the country to perform
the border security mission in support of DHS. The National Guard units
will remain under the command and control of their respective State
Governors and Adjutants General.
The United States Is Not Going To Militarize The Southern Border. Mexico is
our neighbor and friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to improve
security on both sides of the border, confront common problems like drug
trafficking and crime, and reduce illegal immigration.
Department of Justice: $20 million. New funding is requested for
additional administrative law judges, immigration attorneys, and technical
and clerical staff to support the timely disposition of an expected
increase in immigration hearings, and new funding for enhanced law
enforcement efforts by United States Attorneys along the southern border.
The Request does not increase the cost of the Administration's supplemental
request. The President has promised to veto the emergency supplemental
bill if it exceeds $92.2 billion for any reason other than for preparations
for a possible avian flu pandemic or if it includes non-emergency or
wasteful spending. Today's request is consistent with that promise. The
funds are fully offset by reductions elsewhere in the Administration's
original February supplemental request by delaying certain less-urgent
military procurement efforts to future appropriations legislation. There
will be no proposed reductions that would impact personnel or operational
activities necessary to the War on Terror. Many of these offsets are
similar to ones already identified by Congress.
The House And Senate Must Pass A Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill
All Elements Of This Problem Must Be Addressed Together - Or None Of Them
Will Be Solved At All. The House has passed an immigration bill. The
Senate should act by the end of this month - so that the House and Senate
can work out their differences and send the President a comprehensive bill
America Needs To Conduct This Debate In A Reasoned And Respectful Tone.
Feelings run deep on the matter of immigration - and as we work out this
issue, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a
unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears,
or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. We must always
remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and
that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their
citizenship papers say.