Op-ed: Accountable border security helps build public trust

Jorge Duenes - ReutersBy Edward Alden, Bryan Robers and John Whitley, Politico, 5/21/2013

The immigration reform bill before the Senate is called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The order is no accident. Border security is the linchpin, and few Republicans will support the broader legislation unless they are convinced the border can be secured and that the United States will not see another surge in illegal immigration as it did following the 1986 reform bill.

But how can Congress know whether the borders are secure? Despite an enormous buildup of Border Patrol agents, fencing and technology over the past two decades, the U.S. government has yet to assess whether these expenditures have actually been effective in reducing illegal immigration. In a new report for the Council on Foreign Relations titled “Managing Illegal Immigration to the United States: How Effective is Enforcement?” we argue that the administration can gain congressional and public trust only by developing and publicly reporting real measures of the effectiveness of border enforcement. Such accountability, coupled with better congressional oversight, would help reassure a skeptical public that the U.S. government is indeed serious about controlling illegal migration.


Senate group hopes bipartisan support will help immigration bill

capitolThe Washington Post, 5/16/2013

The bipartisan Senate group behind a comprehensive immigration bill is working privately to satisfy concerns raised by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), hoping he will support the legislation and influence fellow GOP lawmakers. The bid to bring Hatch into the fold highlights the strategy of Senate immigration proponents who believe that building as much bipartisan support for the bill is crucial to improving its chances in the Republican-led House.

Negotiators in the House said late Thursday that they reached a tentative agreement on immigration reform but no details were disclosed. If the immigration bill were to pass the Senate with more than the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, proponents say, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) would be motivated to allow a vote on the legislation even if a majority of his caucus opposed it.

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To see a graphic of which amendments to the bill have been adopted, defeated or withdrawn, click here.

Immigration in Spotlight as Senators Tour Arizona

Border Fence Arizona and MexicoThe New York Times, 3/27/13

Four United States senators came to this bustling city on the Mexican border on Wednesday searching for answers to the question that has ensnarled the debate over immigration reform:How secure is that border? They met Border Patrol agents, hovered over the region by helicopter to appreciate its challenges and magnitude, and visited one of the ports of entry here, where people and cargo cross back and forth all day and night.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, whose office organized the tour, said that while there has been progress, the border “is still not as secure as we want it to be or expect it to be.” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who was visiting the border for the first time, said the tour helped deepen an understanding of the region, but that there were “many other things we have to do as well,” like controlling the flow of people coming into the country and providing a path to citizenship for “these 11 million immigrants who are in the shadows.”

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