Senate Appropriates ZERO Dollars for Border Security Fence and Barriers
While the US Senate voted to build a security fence at the Mexican border, on Thursday night they refused to appropriate money to build it. Bottomline? No fence. They voted for the fence before they voted against it.
by Jim Kouri, CPP
When the immigration issue was at the boiling point in the spring, the US Senate voted to erect a mere 370 miles of security fencing along the US-Mexican border. However, yesterday the many of the same senators voted against providing funds to build it.
"We do a lot of talking. We do a lot of legislating," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican whose amendment to fund the fence was killed on a 71-29 vote.
"The things we do often sound very good, but we never quite get there," he told the Washington Times.
Sessions submitted his amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would have authorized $1.8 billion to build the security fence as promised by the lawmakers and the Bush Administration. Two months ago members of the Senate voted 83-16 to build the fence along high-traffic areas of the border with Mexico. In the same vote on May 17, the Senate also directed 500 miles of vehicle barriers to be built along the border, as well.
But the May vote only authorized the fencing and vehicle barriers, and while the senators are on record as voting for border fencing and barriers, without the appropriations they've voted not to build the fence they've authorized.
"If we never appropriate the money needed to construct these miles of fencing and vehicle barriers, those miles of fencing and vehicle barriers will never actually be constructed," Mr. Sessions said on the floor of the Senate just prior to the vote, which was aired on C-Span, but not by any of the broadcast or cable news shows.
Democrats were joined 28 Republicans in opposing the Sessions amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Thomas R. Carper of Delaware were the only two Democrats who voted for funding the fence.
The senators -- including most of the Republican leadership -- voted in May to build the fence but yesterday opposed funding it.
The appropriations bill, which allocates over $30 billion to the Homeland Security Department -- which includes $2.2 billion for border security and control but no fencing --passed on a 100-0 vote last night.
Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who in the past has fought to increase border security and enforcement of federal immigration laws, opposed Sen. Session's amendment.
"We should build these walls; there's no question about it. But the real issue here is the offset that's being used, and the offset creates a Hobson's choice for almost everyone here," Greg told the Washington Post.
Mr. Session's amendment would have required across-the-board cuts to the rest of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, Mr. Gregg said, which would mean cutting 750 new border-patrol agents and 1,200 new detention beds for illegal aliens that he included in the bill.
"Once again we see our government officials trying to provide security-on-the-cheap. Americans should be outraged," said a Border Patrol agent, who wishes to remain anonymous.
"Did anyone really believe these guys [senators] want to secure the border?" he said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.