(VitalNews.org) – Making good on the promise to do what President Joe Biden will not, House Republicans introduced the Border Reinforcement Act of 2023 on Monday, April 24.
The bill comes out of the House Homeland Security Committee, and it is a companion bill to one approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
The Border Reinforcement Act deals with border security and the budgets and staff levels necessary for it. The companion bill in the Senate takes up reform of the immigration asylum process and how border crossers are detained and processed.
The House bill directs construction to continue on the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The wall became a flashpoint between liberals and conservatives when former president Donald Trump announced it with his catchphrase “Build the Wall.” Republicans characterized the wall as a sensible and necessary barrier to keep illegal aliens from sneaking into the U.S. Liberals, by contrast, characterized it as sinister and inhumane or simply unnecessary.
Little work has been done on the wall since President Joe Biden took office in early 2021. The Border Reinforcement Act would compel the Department of Homeland Security to use the money it already has to resume that construction. The bill also boosts money for equipment needed by border agents, such as two-way radios and license-plate readers.
Border agent retention is another problem the bill seeks to tackle. Morale among agents has been low as record numbers of illegal aliens cross the U.S.-Mexico border with little help or support from the federal government. The bill provides retention bonuses for agents.
The legislation would boost overall staffing by requiring Customs and Border Protection to hire an additional 3,000 agents to bring the total up to 22,000. There are currently 19,000 agents.
The Border Reinforcement Act would also restrict the use of an electronic app called CBP One. The Biden administration has expanded its use to allow immigrants to make appointments at entry points along the border.
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