The immigration reform package proposed by President Obama differs significantly from a bipartisan Senate panel’s plan on border security.
The Obama administration proposal merely “includes tighter border security,” while the Senate panel uses stronger language, saying any immigration plan must be “contingent on securing the borders” first, Fox News reported.
Insisting the border is already secure, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “Republicans have a flawed argument about border security needing to precede comprehensive immigration reform.”
Napolitano added that Republicans don’t recognize that border security also includes “interior immigration enforcement such as visa tracking and employment verification and the pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States,” the article said.
Republicans like Sen. John McCain counter Napolitano’s argument, saying more needs to be done to secure the border.
“The Senate plan calls for improving border security through more agents, improved technology such as unmanned drones and the better use of existing resources,” the Fox News report said.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio spoke to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about the need for a more secure border as part of the immigration plan.
“It’s important that we have input from the people that are affected by the border, because it’s one thing to say that the border is certified from, you know, an air conditioned office in Washington,” Rubio said, adding that it’s “another thing is to have to deal with it on the ground as a law enforcement person.”
The article said the Senate plan includes “a component to evaluate the Southwest border – a commission composed of governors, attorneys general and community leaders from that region to monitor security progress and make recommendations.”
Senators believe involving law enforcement in discussions to secure the border would be paramount to making significant changes.
Chris Crane, president for the union for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, told a House committee Tuesday that agency morale is sagging in part because the country is allowing illegal immigrants to stay.
“Agents cannot make arrests because of overstayed visa,” Crane said. “It’s not illegal anymore. … The agency is falling apart, morale is at an all-time low.”