President Obama is putting security concerns ahead of illegal immigration in his policy on the border with Mexico.
After pledging to Mexican officials that he will stanch the flood of illegal guns from the U.S. to its neighbor, Obama has decided to request $27 billion in spending for border security in the next fiscal year, according to administration officials cited by the Los Angeles Times.
The early focus on security could enable Obama to seek immigration reform later. He wants to facilitate legalization for the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants living in this country.
It will obviously be a lot easier to garner conservative votes in Congress for that idea if he already has proven his bona fides on border security issues.
The $27 billion proposal represents an 8 percent increase from this year’s allocation. The administration would use the money to bring on more agents and improve airport and seaport security.
The money also would be used to increase screening for illegal immigrants among prison inmates and to upgrade an Internet system for verifying workers' employment eligibility.
Despite the emphasis on security, Obama is radically changing the country’s stance on immigration from the Bush era. Where the last administration focused on border fence construction, more detention space and raiding workplaces, the current White House has turned the emphasis to employers rather than the illegal workers themselves.
Many disagree with the shift. According to the group Americans for Legal Immigration, 75 percent of Americans oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
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