“This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.”
– President George W. Bush, 10/26/06
Today, President Bush Signed The Secure Fence Act – An Important Step Forward In Our Nation’s Efforts To Control Our Borders And Reform Our Immigration System. Earlier this year, the President laid out a strategy for comprehensive immigration reform. The Secure Fence Act is one part of this reform, and the President will work with Congress to finish the job and pass the remaining elements of this strategy.
The Secure Fence Act Builds On Progress Securing The Border
By Making Wise Use Of Physical Barriers And Deploying 21st Century Technology, We Can Help Our Border Patrol Agents Do Their Job And Make Our Border More Secure. The Secure Fence Act:
- Authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our Southern border;
- Authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting to help prevent people from entering our country illegally;
- Authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology like cameras, satellites, and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce our infrastructure at the border.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Begins With Securing The Border. Since President Bush took office, we have:
- More than doubled funding for border security – from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion this year;
- Increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 9,000 to more than 12,000 – and by the end of 2008, we will have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since the President took office;
- Deployed thousands of National Guard members to assist the Border Patrol;
- Upgraded technology at our borders and added infrastructure, including new fencing and vehicle barriers;
- Apprehended and sent home more than 6 million people entering America illegally; and
- We are adding thousands of new beds in our detention facilities, so we can continue working to end “catch and release” at our Southern border.
This Act Is One Part Of Our Effort To Reform Our Immigration System, And We Have More Work To Do
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Enforce Our Immigration Laws Inside America. It is against the law to knowingly hire illegal workers, so the Administration has stepped up worksite enforcement. Many businesses want to obey the law, but cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud, so the President has also called on Congress to create a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Reduce The Pressure On Our Border By Creating A Lawful Path For Foreign Workers To Enter Our Country On A Temporary Basis. A temporary worker program would meet the needs of our economy, reduce the appeal of human smugglers, make it less likely that people would risk their lives to cross the border, and ease the financial burden on State and local governments by replacing illegal workers with lawful taxpayers. Above all, a temporary worker program would add to our security by making certain we know who is in our country and why they are here.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Face The Reality That Millions Of Illegal Immigrants Are Here Already. The President opposes amnesty but believes there is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. Illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, pay their taxes, learn English, work in a job for a number of years, and wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Honor The Great American Tradition Of The Melting Pot.Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, renew our spirit, and add to the unity of America.