McCain, Kyl offer new bill on border

Arizona Senators  John McCain and Jon Kyl

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl have introduced a new 10-point border security bill to Congress Thursday.

The bill is similar to one McCain and Kyl proposed in May 2010. If passed, the bill would require the federal government to:

• Deploy no fewer than 6,000 National Guard to the U.S./ Mexico border at a total cost of $6 million.

• Deploy 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents to the border and add hardship pay for agents stationed in rural, high trafficked areas. Provide funding for 500 more customs inspectors for the border. Total cost: $1.5 billion over five years.

• Increase funding for Operation Streamline, which requires that every person caught crossing the border illegally be charged with a federal crime. The cases are then fast tracked through the federal court system. First time offenders are usually convicted of a misdemeanor and spend 6 months in prison before being deported. Repeat offenders are punished by up to 20 years in prison before being deported. Total cost: $250 million over five years.

• Increase funding for the Southwest Border Prosecutors Initiative, a program that reimburses state and local governments in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas for the cost of prosecuting federally initiated drug cases involving the border. Total cost: $250 million for five years.

• Increase funding for Operation Stonegarden. The program provides funding for 13 border states to pay for more personnel, overtime, travel and other border security related costs. Total cost: $500 million for five years.

• Replace outdated fencing with double-layered fencing at needed locations along the border. Total cost: $250 million for five years.

• Increase the number of mobile, unmanned and other surveillance systems along the border. Total cost: $335 million for fiscal year 2012.

• Provide funding for radios and communications equipment that can be used by Border Patrol, Customs and state, local and tribal governments. Total cost: $35 million.

• Provide funding for additional Border Patrol stations. Create an additional Border Patrol sector in Arizona and create six additional Border Patrol Forward Operating Bases and upgrade existing bases. Total cost: $20 million.

• Complete construction of a permanent checkpoint in Arizona and deploy roving checkpoints and increase horse patrols in the Tucson sector. Total cost: $30 million.

According to the bill, the funds to support the 10-point plan will come from approximately $4 billion in unspent federal appropriations and will exclude unspent funds from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the National Nuclear Security Administration Weapons Activity and Naval Reactors accounts.

According to the Associated Press, Rep. Jeff Flake has introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

More information on McCain and Kyl's bill is available on line at http://kyl.senate.gov/TenPointPlan.pdf.