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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chambliss, Isakson Criticize Democratic Leaders' Decision to Eliminate Border Security Funds from Defense Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today criticized the decision by Democratic leaders to eliminate critical border security funding in the Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report.  Differences between the Senate and House versions of the legislation were approved Tuesday by a committee of negotiators.  

The border security funding had been added to the bill in an amendment sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, that was approved by the Senate on October 3, 2007, by a vote of 95 to 1. That amendment provides $3 billion to immediately pay for some of the manpower and technology necessary to secure the U.S. border. 

"Earlier this year we had a very heated immigration debate in which we heard overwhelmingly from the American public that border security is their number one concern," said Chambliss. "Securing the border is a matter of national defense.  Georgians don't want Congress to merely pay lip service to increasing border security; they want Congress to put its money where its mouth is. This amendment would have done just that, and I know our constituents are going to be outraged when they learn this funding was pulled."

"There's no greater domestic issue in this country than the problems on our southern border with Mexico , and it is time that Congress makes a commitment to make border security a reality," Isakson said. "Eliminating this critical funding sends a terrible message. America is too important, and this issue is too critical to the American people."

Major provisions of the Graham amendment include:

  • Establishes full operational control over 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico land border;
  • Provides funding to procure unmanned aerial vehicles, ground sensors and vehicle barriers;
  • Provides funding to construct 700 miles of border fencing;
  • Increases the ability to detain illegal immigrants caught within U.S. borders; and
  • Provides $60 million to improve the nation's employment verification system, which is critical to achieving control of the border.

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