“This bill will provide the Department of Homeland Security the tools necessary to achieve full operational control and situational awareness of the border by providing for a wall, cutting edge technology, and more boots on the ground.”
The US has passed a border security bill worth more than $15bn that if implemented could be used to implement rigorous biometric checks, recruit thousands of staff and build the hugely-controversial wall that formed the basis of President Trump’s election manifesto. The Border Security for America Act, which was passed by a majority verdict of 18-12, still requires approval from the House of Representatives but the latest approval edges Trump closer to his Mexico border wall election promise.
However, even though likely to gain approval from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the security bill will still have to be cleared by the US Senate with a majority of at least 60% – a far harder task.
As part of the proposals, a reported $5bn will be allocated to improve air, land and sea borders, adding 5,000 staff, along with a requirement that biometric entry-exit systems are installed at all ports of entry within five years. The biometric system – a key component of Trump’s extreme vetting proposals – will be allocated $250m each year by the US to roll it out across the country.
The 15 busiest US airports will be required to fit at the very least a biometric exit system within two years of the bill, should it be approved.
Double the amount set aside for biometric technology, $10bn, will be given to the building of border walls. Trump has always maintained that the proposed wall separating the US from Mexico would be paid for by Mexico, a claim that has been completely ruled out by the country’s leader, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Mike McCaul, the US Representative for Texas's 10th congressional district, and a backer of the latest bill, said last month before it was referred to the House of Representatives that the “smart multi-layered approach” was vital to strengthen the nation’s borders.
“This bill will provide the Department of Homeland Security the tools necessary to achieve full operational control and situational awareness of the border by providing for a wall, cutting edge technology, and more boots on the ground. We have been talking about border security for years.
“Now that we have a partner in the White House who has made this a top priority, it’s time to send a bill to President Trump’s desk so we can deliver the American people the security they have long demanded and deserve.”
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