WASHINGTON – House Republicans met today to pursue a new $46 billion immigration reform bill that includes plans for 700 miles of fencing and almost 20,000 new border patrol agents, and border officials are being forced to expand their recruitment pool south of the same border that they are sworn to protect.
In order to nearly double the amount of existing agents and fulfill Senator John McCain’s (R-Az.) promise of “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” border officials are reluctantly inviting illegal aliens and immigration hopefuls to suit up along the southern border.
“We’re going to fight fire with fire,” boasted John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who helped craft the bill with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), “or should I say, fight fuego with fuego.”
But the National Border Patrol Council is not so enthusiastic. “If you think it sounds counterintuitive, imagine how we feel,” said vice president of the NBPC Shawn Moran. “It’s like going to bat for the other team. Besides, we already have more [border] agents than we know what to do with.” There are currently about 21,000 border patrol agents on the southern border; over half of them are Hispanic.
“It’s going to make for an awkward job interview,” joked Chris Hall, the Assistant Commissioner of Training and Development for the US Customs and Border Protection. “We’ve already had a few applicants get confused for illegals. We tried going to Home Depot, but they just run away.”
Recruiting has been made even more difficult by the bill’s stipulation that foreign border patrol agents receive only 60% of the pay of agents with US citizenship in accordance with wage disparity norms.
The proposed bill has threatened an increasingly tenuous relationship between prominent Hispanic constituents and the Democrats that supported the bill. Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Hector Sanchez says the invitation to patrol the border is a “disgrace to the American government.”
“I urge all people, not just the hardworking people that seek entry to this still great country, to stand up against this bill,” added Sanchez.
But those who back the bill say it’s a win-win, and add that the path to citizenship eventually will allow for equal pay. “I don’t see the problem. We’re creating jobs for people who need them,” said Sen. Corker, “and at the same time we’re allowing them to defend those jobs. If they want equal pay, they only have to toe the line for thirteen years.”