- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to vote today to give President Bush an additional $600 million on top of his $9.8 billion budget request for border security.

The extra money will be used to hire more agents to guard the border and to provide more beds to house detained illegal aliens.

Some of the funding was shifted from the Transportation Security Administration and about $1 million was taken from first-responder grants.

Many states have yet to spend $7 billion already appropriated for the grants, thus allowing the cuts, said Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican and chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security.

The subcommittee agreed to the overall spending plan for 2006 by a voice vote Tuesday.

“This targeted commitment of resources will provide the department with the tools it needs to dedicate its attention to preventing the long string of breaches in border security we hear about too often in the news,” Mr. Gregg said. “This bill substantially increases the number of personnel dedicated to protecting our borders and enforcing our immigration laws.”

The Office of Management and Budget, the agency that oversees White House budget requests, “strongly supports what [the Senate] is doing on border patrol, but we have not seen the details of the bill,” said spokesman Scott Milburn.

The additional money will fund 1,000 new Border Patrol agents, 460 detention and enforcement agents, 300 immigration investigators and more than 2,000 beds.

The Minuteman Project, whose members were angered by a flood of illegal aliens, initiated a citizens patrol to guard the Arizona border in April.

Police officials in Hudson, N.H., are charging illegal aliens with trespassing and have arrested 10 since last month.

Homeland security funds overall proposed for fiscal 2006 top more than $30 billion, $1.2 billion more than Mr. Bush requested.

Nearly $6 billion is proposed for Customs and Border Protection and $3 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Some funding also was diverted to Border Patrol from the Transportation Security Administration, which is slated to get more than $5 billion for airport protection, cargo screening, railway security and monitoring of trucks carrying hazardous material. Another $61 million is set aside to develop airplane technology.

The budget calls for $7 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard and $1 billion for the Secret Service.

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