A border security bill that includes $10 billion in spending for a border wall—”wall, fencing, technology, air assets, and other barriers”—was passed by the House Homeland Security Committee on Oct. 5.
In addition to the wall funding, the bill would add 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 5,000 Customs and Border Protection officers.
The bill, named “Border Security for America Act,” includes $5 billion to help combat illicit drug trafficking at major ports of entry—most drugs enter the country over bridges and airports, rather than over the border.
Funding up to $35 million would be available to deploy the National Guard to help with aviation and intelligence support along the southwest border, especially in Texas, which has called for help in securing the border. Texas has one of the more difficult borders to secure, due to much of the border being the Rio Grande. Most of the nation’s illegal border crossers come over the river in the Rio Grande Valley.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R–Texas), also targets visa overstayers by fully rolling out biometric entry and exit systems at all air, land, and sea ports of entry. A significant portion of the illegal immigrants in the United States are visa overstayers. In 2016, more than 544,000 people on visas who were supposed to leave the United States, did not, according to the Department of Homeland Security.