United States Democrats have offered further details of their border security plan. They unveiled a measure yesterday that would not provide money for President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall and denying his request for additional border agents.
The move ignores Trump’s warnings that they’d be wasting their time if they don’t come up with wall money. The Democratic measure, totaling almost $22 billion for U.S. Customs, the border patrol, and immigration agents, would significantly increase spending for scanners at ports of entry, humanitarian aid for apprehended migrants, and new aircraft to police the U.S.-Mexico border.
It would also freeze the number of border patrol agents and block any wall construction in wildlife refuges along the border. It would provide for hiring 1,000 additional customs agents.
Negotiators face a Feb. 15 deadline to avert another partial government shutdown.
Earlier, Vice President Mike Pence had urged Congress to provide money for a border wall during a visit yesterday to the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Pence said Trump is calling for an “all of the above strategy” to keep illicit drugs out of the country, “but all of the above includes a wall.”
Pence spoke to several dozen agency employees. He said the administration will fight for a physical barrier in “critical, high-density areas where our law enforcement community says it’s most needed.”
The DEA has reported that land ports of entry are the primary means for getting drugs into the country, not stretches of the border without barriers.
The agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers.