Wednesday, 17 July 2024 19:56

GOP leaders work for unity on immigration bill

Friday, 23 January 2015

WASHINGTON(AP) — The House is moving toward a vote on a bill aimed at securing the border with Mexico as majority Republicans try to show they can chart their own course on immigration, not just oppose President Obama's.

The legislation passed the House Homeland Security Committee late Wednesday on a party-line vote of 18-12, and the full House is expected to take it up next week.

“For God's sakes, if we can't unite around border security what can we unite around?” said GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the committee's chairman.

It's uncertain whether House Republicans will unite behind the measure. Conservatives who have scuttled past attempts by GOP leaders to deal with the issue expressed concerns that the legislation does too little to stem illegal immigration.

The bill would require operational control of high-traffic areas of the border within two years, and operational control of the full border within five years. The bill defines operational control as stopping or turning back all attempted border crossers.

Several groused that leadership is trying to rally support for the border security bill instead of making a strong stand against recent executive actions by Obama granting relief from deportation to millions.

 

Democrats said the bill is filled with unrealistic mandates that would make it harder for border agents to do their jobs, while proposing to spend $10 billion on an array of drones, surveillance systems, radar, fencing and other technologies that might do little actual good.

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