Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Friday, July 15, 2005

HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS APPROVED BY SENATE

Craig secures increases in Border Patrol agents, detention beds, enforcement efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate approved the fiscal year 2006 Homeland Security appropriations bill today. Idaho Senator Larry Craig, a member of the subcommittee that wrote the bill, supported the legislation to enhance homeland security efforts and immigration enforcement.

The bill continues the process of adding the 500 new Border Patrol Agents required by the Byrd-Craig Amendment to the FY 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, and provides for 1,000 more agents, for a total of 1,500 new agents, bringing total Border Patrol strength to 12,449 in FY 2006, up from 10,949 in FY 2005. It also increases the total number of beds at immigration detention centers to more than 22,000, an increase of more than 2,200, and steps up other immigration enforcement efforts domestically.
“The first, fundamental responsibility of the federal government is to protect the American people through a strong national defense and effective homeland security,” Craig said. “Border security and immigration reform are essential elements of providing for a secure homeland. We need to do more to improve our border security and immigration enforcement. However, it's important for Americans to understand that this Congress is making significant progress in this area. The FY 2006 bill that is before us represents a quantum leap forward in that effort.”
The major homeland security activities in the $31 billion bill include Customs and Border Protection; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; support for state and local anti-terrorism and emergency response programs; and national emergency preparedness.

Significant counter-terrorism measures include airline safety, baggage security, and transit protection initiatives of the Transportation Security Administration; and science and technology research and development of biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures; critical infrastructure protection; and cyber security.

The bill now goes to a House-Senate conference to resolve the differences between the respective versions of the bill passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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