When it comes to border security, House Republicans have been outspoken and unambiguous.
They say more resources are needed to stop illegal flows of immigrants, drugs and weapons entering the U.S., and insist the Obama administration has not acted aggressively enough to bolster border security.
“The President’s budget proves once again that the Obama administration is not serious about enforcing our nation’s immigration laws,” said Texas Rep. Lamar Smith earlier this month. “By underfunding key national security programs, we leave ourselves vulnerable to future terrorist attacks.”
But even as GOP lawmakers demand tighter border enforcement as a prerequisite for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Republicans in the House have approved a 2012 budget that seems to undermine that goal.
The House voted mostly along party lines over the weekend to slash spending by an estimated $600 million for border security and immigration enforcement for the remainder of this fiscal year.
The budget allocates $350 million less for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology than Congress approved last year, and $124 million below what the Department of Homeland Security requested.
The bill also cuts an estimated $159 million over last year for Customs and Border Protection modernization and construction programs, and is $40 million less than the agency sought to get the job done.
Republicans approved salaries and expenses for “no fewer than” 20,500 Border Patrol agents through the fiscal year. President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget, by comparison, would provide for 21,185 Border Patrol agents, according to estimates provided by the administration.
House Budget Cuts Border Security
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