Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, is pushing his new immigration bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants and compelling the government to enforce the laws.
McCaul's Secure Our Borders First Act would include the permanent deployment of the Texas National Guard at the border and an expansion of the fines dished out to undocumented aliens caught crossing into the United States, The Texas Tribune reported
The legislation would also allow more military equipment to be sent to border agencies, and it would also limit pay raises to Homeland Security employees if the border has not been shut down tight by 2020.
The measure is a follow-up to McCaul's 2013 bill, the Border Security Results Act, which gained bipartisan traction during committee hearings but ultimately failed to reach the House floor for a vote, according to the newspaper.
"It is the toughest border security bill ever before Congress, with real penalties for the administration for not doing their job," McCaul said. "We need this legislation to protect the American people and sovereignty of this nation."
His proposal, which the Homeland Security Committee was due to consider on Wednesday, comes in the wake of former Texas. Gov. Rick Perry sending 1,000 Texas soldiers to help patrol the border last summer during a surge of illegal immigrants, including thousands of children.
Although the Texas National Guard is currently authorized to remain at the border until March, Democrats have attacked the plan as insulting to the country's Mexican neighbors and demeaning to residents in the Rio Grande Valley.
But David Aguilar, the former commissioner of Customs and Border Protection and former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, praised the bill, saying it was a good "road map" for reducing the number of illegal immigrants to the U.S.
Aguilar told the Tribune that the permanent employment of Texas troops would not mean that they would be roaming the border brandishing their weapons and rounding up dozens of people arbitrarily.
"I would go as far, from a personal perspective, to say it should not be applied in that fashion," said Aguilar, now a partner and co-founder of Global Security and Intelligence Strategies.
"But it should be and can be welcomed to be applied in the support mode," including aviation and surveillance missions. "It sets the parameters and the requirements that should be focused on."
Daniel Horowitz of the Conservative Review
said McCaul's bill, which has 10 co-sponsors from Texas, is not strong enough, and that the GOP should be pushing to prevent funding for President Barack Obama's plan to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who have children born legally in the U.S.
"Why would Republicans introduce new border security benchmarks and expect the president to implement them at a time when he has nullified our current laws?" Horowitz wrote.
"Why not focus exclusively on cutting off funding for agencies until he agrees to implement the laws on the books, as House conservatives pushed for last week?"
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