WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a $600 million border security that will put more agents and equipment along the Mexican border.
Obama signed the bill in the Oval Office alongside Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The measure will fund the hiring of 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to be deployed at critical areas along the border, as well as more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. It also provides for new communications equipment and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones.
Some Republicans, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, say that while the legislation is a start, it falls short by not dramatically increasing the number of customs inspectors along the border and not funding a program that charges illegal immigrants with a low-level crime.
Arizona has been at the epicenter of the border security debate since it passed a law directing law enforcement officers to be more aggressive in seeking out illegal immigrants. Although a federal judge has since struck down some of the law's major provisions, it remains a rallying cry for those who say Washington has lost control of the border.