Fine print of the Senate border security plan

As the Senate prepares to take a test vote Monday evening on a border security deal to a major immigration bill, a review of the 1,190 page amendment shows the exact details of extra border enforcement as well as a few extra items added in which didn’t get too much attention in headlines about the agreement.

The Senate will vote Monday evening on a motion to shut off debate on the new plan, referred to as “Hoeven-Corker” for Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the two GOP Senators who negotiated the agreement with the bipartisan “Gang of 8.”

Most of the headlines about the deal have focused on 20,000 extra border patrol agents, 700 miles of fencing, high tech tools to stop illegal immigration, a new entry/exit visa system and the mandated use of “E-Verify” by businesses to stop the hiring of illegal workers.

But as with every Congressional compromise, there are other items that get slipped into a plan like this, which in this case, seemingly have little to do with border security.

One that had opponents of immigration reform hopping over the weekend was a provision that makes permanent the authorization for the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which spends money to promote travel to the United States.

Critics have been after the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 since its inception, arguing it was nothing more than an effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to funnel government help to the Las Vegas casino and tourist industry.

This plan authorizes money for travel promotion for “each fiscal year after 2012,” instead of having that authorization end.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) labeled it the “Casino Kickback.”

Another item added in that doesn’t directly impact border security was a $1.5 billion, two year plan for the Department of Labor that would help states find jobs for 16-24 year old Americans, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) argued the immigration bill could end up bringing in more foreign workers who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.

“At a time when real unemployment is close to 14 percent and even higher among young people and minorities, it is absolutely imperative that we create millions of decent-paying jobs in our country,” Sanders said.

The money for the plan would come from a temporary $10 fee on businesses that hire guest workers, and on immigrants who get green cards.

Another new add to the immigration bill is something called, the “American Jobs in American Forests Act of 2013,” a bill introduced by two Oregon Democrats, which deals with the hiring of nonimmigrants to work in U.S. forestry jobs.

The border security amendment also added in a tribute to a Senator who recently died, as now the provisions on asylum and refugees has been named the, “Frank R. Lautenberg Asylum and Refugee Reform Act” for the New Jersey Democrat who died a few weeks ago.

Also tucked into the bill were several new references to help seafood processers in the state of Alaska, allowing companies to hire foreign students visiting the U.S., and also declaring that there is a shortage of workers for those jobs, allowing the industry to use the new “W” visa program in the bill to recruit such workers.

On the issue of border security, a new plan was added dealing with “Oversight of Power to Enter Private Land and Stop Vehicles Without a Warrant at the Northern Border.”

That plan, from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), would limit where federal agents can stop vehicles as they drive from Canada to the United States.

“The wide latitude in current law for setting up checkpoints far from our borders has led to maximum hassles of law-abiding local residents, with minimal value to border enforcement,” Leahy said in a statement issued soon after the border security deal was filed in the Senate.

Leahy also included another provision dealing with travel visas for the performing arts, which he complained have too often faced bottlenecks in recent years.

Other changes included a plan by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that prevents people in the U.S. illegally from claiming any Social Security benefits earned before becoming a citizen.

Hatch also won language in the new amendment that “prevents any cash welfare payments” from going to non-citizens.

The bill also sets out – in detail – what extra efforts would be undertaken in different sectors along the Mexican border to deal with illegal immigration:

ARIZONA (YUMA AND TUCSON SECTORS)

  • (i) 50 integrated fixed towers.
  • (ii) 73 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems.
  • (iii) 28 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (iv) 685 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (v) 22 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 3 integrated fixed towers.
  • (II) 41 fixed camera systems
  • (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems.
  • (III) 14 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (IV) 393 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (V) 83 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECK POINTS:

  • (I) 2 non-intrusive inspection systems, including fixed and mobile.
  • (II) 1 radiation portal monitor.
  • (III) 1 littoral detection and classification network

EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 66 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems.
  • (II) 18 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (III) 85 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (IV) 57 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (V) 2 sensor repeaters.
  • (VI) 2 communications repeaters.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 5 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes.
  • (II) 1 license plate reader.
  • (III) 1 backscatter.
  • (IV) 2 portable contraband detectors.
  • (V) 2 radiation isotope identification devices.
  • VI) 8 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (VII) 3 personal radiation detectors.
  • (VIII) 16 mobile automated targeting systems.

EL PASO, TEXAS

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 27 integrated fixed towers.
  • (II) 71 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems.
  • (III) 31 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems
  • (IV) 170 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and  infrared.
  • (V) 24 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (VI) 1 communications repeater.
  • (VII) 1 sensor repeater.
  • (VIII) 2 camera refresh.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 4 non-intrusive inspection systems, including fixed and mobile.
  • (II) 23 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes.
  • (III) 1 portable contraband detectors.
  • (IV) 19 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (V) 1 real time radioscopy version 4.
  • (VI) 8 personal radiation detectors

BIG BEND, TEXAS

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 7 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems.
  • (II) 29 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (III) 1105 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (IV) 131 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (V) 1 mid-range camera refresh.
  • (VI) 1 improved surveillance capabilities for existing aerostat.
  • (VII) 27 sensor repeaters.
  • (VIII) 27 communications repeaters.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 7 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes.
  • (II) 3 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed.
  • (III) 12 portable contraband detectors.
  • (IV) 7 radiation isotope identification devices.
  • (V) 12 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (VI) 254 personal radiation detectors.
  • (VII) 19 mobile automated targeting systems.

DEL RIO, TEXAS

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 3 integrated fixed towers.
  • (II) 74 fixed camera systems(with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems.
  • (III) 47 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (IV) 868 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (V) 174 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (VI) 26 mobile/handheld inspection scopes and sensors for checkpoints.
  • (VII) 1 improved surveillance capabilities for existing aerostat.
  • (VIII) 21 sensor repeaters.
  • (IX) 21 communications repeaters.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 4 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed.
  • (II) 13 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (III) 3 mobile automated targeting systems.
  • (IV) 6 land automated targeting systems.

LAREDO, TEXAS

BETWEEN THE PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 2 integrated fixed towers.
  • (II) 69 fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems.
  • (III) 38 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (IV) 573 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (V) 124 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (VI) 38 sensor repeaters.
  • (VII) 38 communications repeaters.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 1 non-intrusive inspection system.
  • (II) 7 fiber-optic tank inspection scopes.
  • (III) 19 license plate readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed.
  • (IV) 2 backscatter.
  • (V) 14 portable contraband detectors.
  • (VI) 2 radiation isotope identification devices.
  • (VII) 18 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (VIII) 16 personal radiation detectors.
  • (IX) 24 mobile automated targeting systems.
  • (X) 3 land automated targeting systems.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY

BETWEEN PORTS OF ENTRY:

  • (I) 1 integrated fixed towers.
  • (II) 87 fixed camera systems(with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems.
  • (III) 27 mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems.
  • (IV) 716 unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.
  • (V) 205 handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.
  • (VI) 4 sensor repeaters.
  • (VII) 1 communications repeater.
  • (VIII) 2 camera refresh.

AT POINTS OF ENTRY, CHECKPOINTS:

  • (I) 1 mobile non-intrusive inspection system.
  • (II) 11 fiberoptic tank inspection scopes.
  • (III) 1 license plate reader.
  • (IV) 2 backscatter.
  • (V) 2 card reader system.
  • (VI) 8 portable contraband detectors.
  • (VII) 5 radiation isotope identification devices.
  • (VIII) 18 radiation isotope identification devices updates.
  • (IX) 135 personal radiation detectors.

AIR AND MARINE ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST BORDER:

  • (I) 4 unmanned aircraft systems.
  • (II) 6 VADER radar systems.
  • (III) 17 UH-1N helicopters.
  • (IV) 8 C-206H aircraft upgrades.
  • (V) 8 AS-350 light enforcement helicopters.
  • (VI) 10 Blackhawk helicopter 10 A-L conversions, 5 new Blackhawk M Model.
  • (VII) 30 marine vessels.

 

Other miscellaneous items that I found added in the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment include:

+ A limit on the “maximum allowable costs of salaries of contractor employees (Section 1123) – it notes the current maximum is $230,700

+ “Automatic citizenship” for certain adopted international individuals (Section 2554)

+ Recruitment incentives for former military servicembers as new border patrol agents will include increased amounts in student loan repayments (Section 1102 – just after the Corporation for Travel Promotion provisions)

+ A provision to ensure “compliance with restrictions on welfare and public benefits for aliens” (Section 2323)

+ 180 days after this bill becomes law, the feds would be required to start removing from the U.S. those who have overstayed their visas; the plan would also start a “Visa Overstay Notification Pilot Program” – basically a reminder to foreign nationals that your visa time is up, and that it’s time to go home

+ There are 28 instances were spending is authorized by the bill for “such sums as may be necessary”

+ There is even one example of where “any sums” needed for implementation are okay – that is for the new agricultural worker program (Section 2215)

If you want to look at the full text of the Hoeven-Corker border security amendment, it can be found here.