An Arizona congressman has introduced a measure that would help fund the construction of President Donald Trump’s promised border wall by trimming foreign aid to the home countries of immigrants who illegally enter the United States.
Rep. Andy Biggs says the legislation, dubbed the “Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act,” would penalize countries $2,000 in aid for each immigrant caught illegally crossing onto U.S. soil. Money from these penalties would then be redirected into a border wall fund.
“We have failed to secure the funds for the border wall. In the meantime, our Border Patrol agents suffer demoralizing losses of resources and personnel,” Biggs said in a statement. “We must fund, start, and complete the border wall without further delay.”
In addition, a new fee for international money transfers will be added and foreign travelers filling out I-94 application forms will see an increase in fees, to $25 from $6. Biggs said these higher fees also would help fund salaries for Border Patrol employees.
On March 23, Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that included $654 billion in funding for defense but only $1.6 billion in funds for work on the border wall, one of his signature campaign promises.
The newly introduced act also restores overtime pay for Border Patrol employees at the same rate as all other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement agencies. In addition, it instructs the secretary of the DHS to take actions in installing physical barriers and technology to prevent illegal crossings, as deemed necessary.
In an interview with Fox News, Biggs hit back at some who criticized his bill for “stealing” money from other governments.
“It’s foreign aid, it’s not stealing money. It’s money that we have been providing and many of these people are crossing not at ports of entry, they are not coming though legally trying to get into our country—they are breaking into our country,” he said.
In July, over 31,300 illegal immigrants were caught by Border Patrol between ports of entry on the southwest border, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics. In June about 34,100 were caught.
Trump voiced his frustration on the slow-moving border wall construction in a July 3o, post on Twitter.
“We must have Border Security, get rid of Chain, Lottery, Catch & Release Sanctuary Cities – go to Merit based Immigration,” he wrote. “Protect ICE and Law Enforcement and, of course, keep building, but much faster, THE WALL!”
In 2017, about 303,916 people in total were apprehended by border patrol. Using those numbers, the new bill could essentially raise around $600 million annually. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new legislation.
A border barrier already exists on the U.S.-Mexico border but only in some places. Most illegal crossings occur in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where the winding Rio Grande River acts as the natural border between the United States and Mexico.
From The Epoch Times