Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 20, 2006

Sen. Frist introduces his own border bill

Filed under: Border Security,Congress and HLS — by Christian Beckner on March 20, 2006

Evidently frustrated with progress on border security legislation in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced late last week that he would introduce his own border bill, the Secure America’s Borders Act (SABA). Frist’s Senate website contains the complete text of the new bill and a summary analysis of it.

The bill looks a lot like what I predicted as the “most likely outcome” in this post in late December: “a relatively modest bill that strengthens border staffing and technology, improves the detention and removal process, and makes modest improvements to workplace enforcement, but doesn’t include a Southern border fence or a guest worker program.” We’re likely to see a strong push from the proponents of these latter items to bring them into the Senate’s legislation, but Frist is calculating (correctly, in my judgment) that he doesn’t have the votes for a bill that includes either a fence or a guest worker program (or both), and wants to ensure that something passes this year rather than nothing.

The risk that Frist runs by promoting a stripped-down bill is that if the legislation passes, it will get steamrolled by the stronger House bill in conference, and then possibly get shot down when it comes up for a final vote in Senate. But this is a smaller risk than the current likelihood of stalemate and intransigence on border security legislation in the Senate.

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1 Comment »

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Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Blog Archive » Border legislation moves forward in the Senate

March 28, 2006 @ 12:48 am

[...] Border security legislation is moving forward fast and furiously in the Senate, with the Specter bill moving out of the Judiciary Committee by a 12-6 vote tonight following a series of amendments. Meanwhile, Sen. Frist is still indicating that he wants to move on the stripped-down border security legislation that he introduced last week as an alternative to the Specter bill, put Minority Leader Harry Reid has promised to tie up that bill procedurally. Meanwhile, President Bush gave a speech today that reiterated his support for a guest worker program, arguing that this would not amount to amnesty. All this come against the backdrop of the protests this weekend in Los Angeles and other cities over the prospect of new immigration and border security legislation. And don’t forget that we’re still in the mid-innings of this debate: all of this is really just positioning for the likely House-Senate conference to reconcile H.R. 4437 and whichever bill passes the Senate. [...]

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