Seven years after Congress demanded it, the federal government issued a notice Wednesday that it will begin construction to fill the last remaining gap in the 652-mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.
House Republicans will meet this week to plan their immigration strategy, which seems designed to push the issue to the right, but the Senate bill already faces a backlash on the left, where advocacy groups say the added border security is testing the limits of enforcement.
Senators voted Monday to add 20,000 more Border Patrol agents to the southwestern border and require a total of 700 miles of fencing within a decade, clearing the way for the broad immigration bill to pass the chamber this week — but opening deep divisions within the Republican Party.
The border security deal senators struck this week does not call for 700 miles of new fencing, but rather for 700 miles in total — a figure the Homeland Security Department already claims it's near to completing.
Democrats who wrote the immigration bill insisted they didn't give up any core principles in agreeing to more fencing and adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest border, telling Univision that illegal immigrants will still get legal status well before the new security kicks in.
The border security deal senators struck last week has cleared the way for the immigration bill to pass with the support of at least 11 Republicans who say the additional 20,000 Border Patrol agents and potentially 350 miles of new fencing make the bill palatable.
Analysts looking through the new border security deal in the Senate say it includes waivers that would let Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano refuse to build any new fencing or install the new technology the plan lays out in close detail.
Senators struck a deal Thursday to boost border security in the immigration bill, including building 700 miles of fence and adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest, in a move those on both sides say could clear the way for a bipartisan vote next week.
Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn't want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built.
Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that he won't bring an immigration bill to the chamber floor unless it can win the support of a majority of House Republicans, creating hurdles for those hoping to see Congress legalize illegal immigrants.
Sen. Marco Rubio's office circulated a list this month of ways to toughen security in the immigration bill he helped negotiate, including potential amendments to cut down on chain migration, to require newly legal immigrants to show financial self-sufficiency and to build 700 miles of double-tier fencing along the border.
The vote Tuesday by the IOC's executive board stunned the world's wrestlers, who see their sport as popular in many countries and steeped in history as old as the Olympics themselves.
Israeli authorities on Thursday indicted an Arab citizen of Israel on charges of spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, accusing him of gathering intelligence on security for Israel's president and on army installations.