Senate Rejects Wasteful Border Enforcement Amendments

May 27, 2010 12:00 am


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May 27, 2010

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WASHINGTON – The Senate today voted against amendments to an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill (HR 4899) that would have redirected about $2 billion of federal stimulus funding into massively increased detention and enforcement along the southwest border. The amendments were offered by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and John Cornyn (R-TX). The American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates along the southwest border objected to the amendments as a waste of federal resources.

The amendment offered by Senator Kyl would have fully funded Operation Streamline, a program at the southern border that mandates federal criminal prosecution of people charged with minor, non-violent acts such as improper entry into the United States. Operation Streamline has diverted already scarce federal law enforcement and judicial resources away from prosecuting violent crimes like drug trafficking and organized crime and has forced federal prosecutors and defenders to expend precious time and resources on misdemeanor illegal entry cases.

Senator Cornyn’s amendment would have funneled nearly two billion dollars in personnel, technology and resources into border enforcement activities which have a track record of ineffectiveness.

The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“The Senate acted calmly and rationally today by not succumbing to heated political rhetoric. Throwing $2 billion of the taxpayers’ money at the southwest border would not have protected the civil rights and liberties of Americans at the border or in the rest of the country. The Senate today stood firm in favor of sensible immigration enforcement, without sacrificing civil liberties.”

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