The new amendment filed by Senators John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., as part of comprehensive immigration reform would add 20,000 Border Patrol agents and a lot more technology — much of which would be deployed to Arizona.
“With this amendment, which requires doubling the number of Border Patrol agents and constructing fencing to reach 700 miles before any immigrant can receive a green card, no one should doubt that our legislation will achieve the security along the Southern border that the people of Arizona deserve,” said Sen. John McCain in a written statement.
This ‘surge’ in border security won’t come without significant costs, but those costs will not be borne by taxpayers, but instead by the fees and fines that immigrants and visa applicants pay under the modernized legal immigration system this legislation creates,” he said.
The Senate is working on passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will offer a path to legal status to the 11 million people estimated to be living in the country illegally. But securing the border has been at the center of the debate from the beginning.
The Hoeven-Corker amendment requires the following to happen before any immigrant can be issued a green card:
• Additional fencing is constructed totaling 700 miles along the Southern border (underlying bill provided $1.5 billion for fencing)
• 20,000 new, full-time Border Patrol agents are hired and deployed along the Southern border.
• Additional technology is deployed and operational in the field.
• E-Verify is used by every employer in the country to prevent hiring unauthorized workers.
• Implementation of an electronic Entry-Exit system at all international air and sea ports.
For the Tucson and Yuma Border Patrol sectors:
• 50 integrated fixed towers.
• 73 fixed camera systems, which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems.
• 28 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
• 685 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
• 22 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night-vision goggles.
Many of the required air assets will be deployed nationwide out of the Tucson sector, including:
• 4 unmanned aircraft systems
• 17 UH-1N helicopters
• 8 C-206H aircraft upgrades.
• 8 AS-350 light enforcement helicopters.
• 15 Blackhawk helicopters; 5 new and 10 upgraded.
• 30 marine vessels.
• 160 unmanned aircraft. systems crew, marine agent, and other personnel.
• 6 VADER radar systems.