Regional
11:55 am
Thu August 12, 2010

Bingaman Touts New Border Protection Funding

Las Cruces – A measure co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman aimed at strengthening border security has been approved by Congress and will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.

The bill sets aside a total of $600 million for border security activities. Specifically, the legislation would add 1,500 new immigration enforcement officers, including 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to form a "strike force" to be deployed to areas that need it most, 250 new Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry, and 250 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fight weapons smuggling, human trafficking, and drug organizations.

"We've made a lot of progress in recent years to secure our border, but there is more work to do. This bill invests in border security personnel -- as well as the tools they need -- to step-up efforts to fight drug trafficking and the smuggling of contraband across the border," Bingaman said.

Among other things, the bill also sets aside funding for the following:

$14 million for communication equipment for new officers

$32 million to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles along the border

$6 million to deploy forward operating bases along the border

$8 million for Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

$10 million for Federal Judiciary resources for increased caseload

$196 million in additional funding for the Department of Justice to hire prosecutors, ATF, DEA, FBI, and U.S. Marshal agents

The bill is paid for by raising fees on H-1B visas (for temporary skilled workers) for companies who have more than 50 percent of their employees on H-1B visas (this does not affect U.S. tech companies). It also raises fees on L visas (given to multi-national transferees) for foreign companies.