Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Sunday, October 09, 2005

HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDING APPROVED

Congress clears way for increased border security, immigration enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig and Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson welcomed final passage of the fiscal year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill today. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

“Protecting our homeland and our citizenry is the top responsibility of the federal government, and this bill moves our nation toward that goal,” Craig said. “I’m particularly pleased that the House and Senate voted to continue funding provided by the Byrd-Craig amendment to hire 500 new Border Patrol Agents. We absolutely must get control of illegal immigration, and these new agents and resources will help to do just that.”

“The vital funding contained within this bill provides first responders with the tools they need, helps keep communities safe, and protects our nation from those who would do us harm,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “While this legislation is important to securing our nation, I wish it took much stronger action toward securing our nation's borders and deterring illegal immigration.”

The legislation provides $5.95 billion for Customs and Border Protection, including 1,000 new Border Patrol Agents, and funding for the 500 Border Patrol Agent positions added earlier this year to the Supplemental bill by the Byrd-Craig amendment. The bill also includes funding for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that can be deployed between ports of entry on the Southwest Border.

In addition to the new Border Patrol Agents, the bill provides $3.18 billion for Immigration and Customs enforcement for domestic enforcement efforts, and includes funding for 250 additional criminal investigators. Also included are funds for 460 additional detention and removal personnel and a total of 20,300 detention beds to support immigration enforcement and expedited removal.

Furthermore, $655 million in Firefighter Assistance Grants are provided for first responders.

More information on the appropriations process is available at http://craig.senate.gov/i_approps.htm.

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