In an effort to quell the immigration debate raging across the country, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) plans to reintroduce an amendment in a financial regulation bill that would force the federal government to finally complete the fence along the southern border.
His plan calls for the completion of 700 miles of double fencing along the U.S./Mexico border, something that has been kicked down the road several years since the Reagan amnesty in the mid-80s.
The amendment asks Congress to follow through with the completion Fence Act of 2006 before moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform.
Once the Secure Fence Act was passed several lawmakers moved to change requirements. Texas Senator Kate Bailey Hutchinson’s amendment altered the nature of the integrity of the fence. The once double-layer fence was stripped to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as needed fence.
In areas that once needed double-layer fencing, DHS was able to place vehicle barriers or small hurdles that prevents cars or trucks from passing, but people can easily walk under or over it.
As a result there has only been 34.4 miles of the double fence finished of the 700 miles on southern border. The majority of that fence took place in the San Diego area.
Retired Congressman Duncan Hunter Sr. (R-CA) didn’t let the California border city escape the double fencing requirement. As a result, the numbers of illegal immigrants has dropped and the influx has now moved to Arizona.
The double fence works, says Hunter.
Thanks to a tough primary race in Arizona, the former GOP presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) and Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and are cosponsoring the double fence amendment and with the immigration battle raging the Senators expect many more coworkers to join DeMint’s double-fence effort.
Looking forward, DeMint’s fence amendment has passed the Senate with bipartisan support. The amendment was offered in the FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. And it passed by a 54-44 vote in which 21 Democrats and 33 Republicans supported the measure.
Unfortunately this is where the good news ended as Democratic leaders removed the amendment during conference committee because “the Obama administration had opposed rapid expansion of the fence,” according to The Hill.
Moving forward the GOP believes the DeMint amendment can pass another vote if a floor vote is allowed.
Senator DeMint said in a press release, “Americans have demanded a real fence to combat the very real problems of illegal immigration that have led to human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping and violence on our border. Congress will never be able to achieve long-term reform to create a legal immigration system that works until we secure our borders. We’ve had rhetoric and promises for four years without results. It’s time we completed the fence and secured our borders to protect American citizens.”