What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : HR 2892. (Fiscal 2010 homeland security spending) DeMint of South Carolina amendment that would require the U.S.-Mexico border fence to prevent pedestrian traffic and be finished by the end of 2010/On agreeing to the amendment (2009 senate Roll Call 220)
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HR 2892. (Fiscal 2010 homeland security spending) DeMint of South Carolina amendment that would require the U.S.-Mexico border fence to prevent pedestrian traffic and be finished by the end of 2010/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 220     Jul 08, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would require the ongoing project to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent pedestrian traffic, and to be completed by Dec. 31, 2010.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the Homeland Security Department in fiscal 2010.

DeMint noted that the law requires 370 miles of the 700-mile fence to be completed by the end of 2008, but that requirement has not been met.

“The point of my amendment is to keep our promise to the American people. Let’s move ahead with securing the border. I don’t like a fence. I don’t like the way a fence looks. But in this world today, where we are threatened in many ways, it is critically important that we are able to determine who comes and goes and what comes and goes on the borders of the United States,” DeMint said.  “My amendment does two things. It requires that 700 miles of physical pedestrian fencing be completed, and it sets a deadline of December 31, 2010. We can do this if we just make that commitment and fund it in this bill.”

George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said the amendment would force the Homeland Security Department to construct “hundreds of additional miles of pedestrian fencing beyond that which is determined as necessary.”

“We left it to the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Not only is this amendment wrong because it overturns the U.S. Customs and Border Service determination of tactical infrastructure needs along the border, it would be incredibly costly. It would outstrip the funds provided for this purpose by requiring additional fencing. Some miles of fencing have an average cost of $5 billion per mile,” Voinovich said.

By a vote of 54-44, the amendment was adopted.  Of Republicans present, 33 voted for the amendment and 7 voted against it.  Of Democrats present, 21 voted for the amendment and 35 voted against it (including most of the most progressive members).  The end result is that the bill went forward with language that would require the border fence to be built by the end of next year, including 700 miles of pedestrian fencing.

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