February 5, 2010
Pres. Barack Obama’s newly proposed 2011 budget would reduce the number of Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border by 180 and cut the funding for the “virtual fence.” Homeland Security said it plans to cut the jobs through attrition, and it would result in increased pay for the remaining agents.
White House senior officials say the move will not compromise the effectiveness of the border patrol. But House Judiciary Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) says otherwise.
The President’s budget proves once again that the Obama administration is not serious about enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.
The administration found money for 25 new positions in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s management office, but didn’t find funds for any of the following critical homeland security programs: there is no funding for a single new detention bed, no increase in funds to find and deport immigration fugitives or criminal aliens, no additional special agents to investigate workplace immigration violations, no funding to expand the visa security program, and no funding to build any more of the border fence.
The President ought to be using immigration enforcement to address key priorities such as jobs and national security. But instead of doing so, the Obama administration is maintaining the status quo. That means that citizens and legal immigrants will be forced to continue to compete with eight million illegal immigrants for jobs; and by underfunding key national security programs, we leave ourselves vulnerable to future terrorists attacks.
— Ranking Member Lamar Smith
The “virtual fence” would have funding cut by $226 million. The system is made up of cameras, radar and sensors placed on towers.
Obama’s budget does include an increase of $103 million for improvements to E-Verify.