Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
When the Senate passed a $600 million border security bill Thursday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said one of his goals with the measure was to jump start efforts to pass immigration reform in Congress. Republicans have refused to consider an immigration bill this year, saying the U.S.-Mexico border must be secured before they'd even consider debating the issue.
"It's my hope that the bill we're passing today will break the deadlock," he said.
But that hope ended moments later, when Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona's two Republican senators, called the measure "a start" and accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of "needless political maneuvering" for calling the Senate back from recess to pass the bill.
"The bill that passed today does not include nearly enough funding for the other priorities we have been fighting for," McCain and Kyl said in a joint statement. They listed increasing customs inspectors at Arizona ports of entry and more money to make the system used to determine a person's immigration status faster and more accurate.
The bill will pay for 1,500 additional Border Patrol agents, a cadre that Schumer described as a "strike force" for counter narcotic and countertrafficking operations. It will also increase drones to provide real time information to authorities about illegal crossings, beef up communication between federal agents and local police, provide money to construct "forward operating bases" for Border Patrol agents to detain people along the border, and pay for additional ATF, FBI and other agents to target drug and human trafficking rings.
The White House said the president will sign the bill on Friday.