US: New bill backs funding for Trump's border-wall
Looks like Trump's proposed US-Mexico border wall is inching closer to reality, even as Congressional funding remains a question mark. In a new development, a House panel has approved the Border Security for America Act sanctioning $15 billion for construction and improvement of ports of entry. The bill was proposed by Michael McCaul, a Republican lawmaker from Texas. Here's more about the bill.
US President Donald Trump proposed to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful" southern border wall at the US-Mexico border, to keep illegal immigrants out. Congress has so far refused to fund the construction of the wall which is estimated to cost $22 billion.
The bill allocates $10 billion for the border wall's construction and $5 billion for improvement of ports of entry. It further authorizes recruitment of 5000 Border Patrol agents and Customs Border Patrol (CBP) each. Additionally, it prohibits federal authorities from interfering with CBP's activities on federal land near the border. It further intends to install bio-metric entry-exit systems to identify immigrants overstaying their visa.
The bill has been backed by at least 68 Republicans in the House of Representatives and several law-enforcement and border agencies, including CBP and the Border Trade Alliance. They argue that the improvements are pivotal to enhance US border security. However, Democrats remain staunchly opposed to the construction of the wall. They consider any move to build the wall offensive and financially unsound.
Despite uncertainty over Congressional funding, certain sections of the government seem adamant on realizing Trump's dream wall. These quarters have set the initial processes, including testing out wall prototypes in motion. Meanwhile, Trump has vowed to move ahead and has even threatened to close down the US government to do so. A clearer picture on the wall's fate is likely to emerge soon.