06/22/13 Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, today introduced an amendment to the Senate Immigration Reform Bill requiring that real progress be made on strengthening the border before granting provisional immigrant status to illegal aliens and that effective control has been maintained over the entire southern border before granting permanent legal status.
“Our broken and uncontrolled immigration system must be repaired, but the current legislation fails to address many of our border security problems,” said Coats. “Hoosiers have heard promises before from Washington that our borders will be secured, but unfortunately these promises have not been upheld. This amendment would ensure that high-risk sectors of the border are actually secured and maintained before undocumented immigrants are legalized.”
“I am confident that this amendment is a good compromise for those who want to move forward with immigration reform, but also want to ensure we actually secure the border this time,” added Coats.
The current bill only requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submit a strategy on border security to Congress before undocumented individuals can begin receiving provisional status.
The Coats provision (Amendment 1442) requires that measurable improvements in border security in the highest risk sectors of the Southern border are achieved before any individual can receive Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. The amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to certify that it has maintained effective control of high-risk border sectors along the Southern border for at least six months before the department can begin processing applications for RPI status. The amendment defines high-risk border sectors as a sector in which more than 30,000 individuals were apprehended during the most recent fiscal year. Further, the amendment requires that the secretary of Homeland Security certify that effective control has been maintained for six months along the entire Southern border before any individual with provisional status can apply for permanent status.
In addition, Coats offered several other amendments to address border security and improve operations at DHS. These measures include:
· Allowing infrastructure improvements to our land ports of entry (Amendment 1407);
· Incentivizing state and local governments to work with ICE in ensuring that criminal aliens are removed from the country (Amendment 1375); and
· Improving the department’s financial management of bonds (Amendment 1441).