A $600 million shot in the arm for border security along the U.S. border with Mexico is heading to President Obama's desk for signature. Just days after the House convened a special session to pass the legislation along with a $26 billion state aid bill, the Senate convened its own special session.
The voice vote in the nearly empty chamber advanced the legislation on to the president.
The legislation funds:
- 1,000 new border patrol agents
- 250 more Immigration and Customs Agents (ICE)
- 250 more Customs and Border Protection Officers
- Provides for new communications equipment
- And the greater use of unmaned drones
- The FBI, ATF and DEA will also get a cash boost designed to help the agencies find and arrest drug dealers and human traffickers
Senate historian David Ritchie tells the Associated Press that the Senate's special session marked only the second time since the August break became standard in 1970 that the Senate has reconvenned. The last time was after Hurricane Katrina devestated the Gulf Coast.
It's a sign of just how high the stakes are this November.
Although Arizona has become the epicenter for the immigration debate, a growing number of Americans are paying attention and wondering what and when the federal government is going to do something to at least stop the violence along the border and deport illegal immigrants who repeatedly break the law in other parts of the country.
Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration say they're ready to act and create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.
Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say before anything is done, America must gain control of its southern border.