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NYIC Calls Corker-Hoeven Border Security Amendment A Boon for Defense Contractors and a Betrayal of American Values

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235,  E-mail: tyaku@thenyic.org
New York City  (Sunday, June 23, 2013)

NYIC Calls Corker-Hoeven Border Security Amendment A Boon for Defense Contractors and a Betrayal of American Values

On Friday, the authors of the Senate bill for immigration reform and Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) negotiated a new immigration deal that would cost the U.S. government $30 billion dollars--nearly doubling the number of border patrol agents, adding an additional 350 miles of fencing along the southern border, and mandating “triggers” that could endanger the path to citizenship. The new measure would spend enough on armed border agents to position an agent every 1,000 feet along the southwest border, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from San Diego, CA to Brownsville, TX. The measure also calls for the deployment of drones, high-tech sensors, and mobile surveillance systems—all of which amounts to an unprecedented militarization of the border with a friendly nation. And many of these provisions must be achieved before immigrants are allowed to complete the path to citizenship.

These measures come at a time when unauthorized border crossings are at a 40-year low and spending on immigration enforcement at the border and the interior has exponentially increased, hitting $18 billion last year—more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, including the DEA, Secret Service and FBI.

The Corker-Hoeven amendment is so extreme and costly that its own author, Senator Bob Corker, described it as “overkill.” Senator Graham went as far as stating that he and his colleagues “put in place measures that to any reasonable person would be an overwhelming effort to secure our border short of shooting anybody who comes across the border.”

The following is a statement from Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:

“Senator Leahy got it right when he said the new border package ‘reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.’ Senators Corker and Hoeven and the Senators who demanded this package are eagerly shoveling pork to the defense contractors who will reap the benefits of our nation’s deployment of drones, Blackhawk helicopters, sensors, and the construction of 350 more miles of border fencing. This travesty is made worse by the fact that virtually no civil rights protections have been included in this ‘border surge’ package and that our calls for inclusion of greater accountability and oversight measures were rejected by Senators Corker and Hoeven -- including granting greater authority to the newly-created Border Task Force to ensure that it is more than just a paper commission.

“The Senate Republicans’ failure to include these oversight measures is an affront to our nation’s values. And the inclusion of the Corker-Hoeven amendment itself not only lines the border with an unjustifiable number of boots on the ground; it also lines the pockets of the border profiteers—the defense and prison contractors who reap huge rewards with such measures, and the members of Congress who feed off their largesse. As Senator Schumer presses ahead with passing immigration reform in the Senate, we call on him to fight to protect the American freedoms we hold dear and put forward an immigration reform bill that doesn’t capitulate to the extremists who are looking to gut it.”

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The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.
 

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