Shelby Releases Proposal to Reopen Government and Secure Border, Urges Passage of Comprehensive Package
Includes Unprecedented Investment in Border Security, Bipartisan Immigration Reforms, $12.7 Billion for Disaster Recovery Efforts, Remaining Seven FY2019 Funding Bills
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today released the text of a comprehensive appropriations package containing the remaining seven Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019) bills, full funding of the president’s border security priorities, a disaster supplemental, and a host of bipartisan immigration reforms. The proposal, outlined this past weekend by President Trump, is the product of ongoing negotiations to reopen the government. The Senate is expected to vote on the package this week. Chairman Shelby issued the following statement regarding his support for the legislation:
“The President has proposed a serious compromise to end this shutdown. It would not only fund the government and secure the border, but also provide immigration reforms the Democrats have long supported. For the good of the country, I encourage my Democratic colleagues to either join us in passing this legislation or come to the negotiating table with constructive solutions of their own. Saying no to everything will not move our country forward.”
The measure includes unprecedented investments in border security, supporting all of the activities and resources identified in the letter from the Office of Management and Budget to Congress earlier this month, including physical barrier, law enforcement personnel, custody enhancements, humanitarian needs, and counter-narcotics and counter-weapons technology. It includes $5.7 billion for construction of a physical barrier along the highest priority locations of the southwest border. This is sufficient funding to complete Customs and Border Protection’s Top 10 priority investments for border security. The legislation also provides funding for 750 new border patrol agents and 375 new customs officers.
Additionally, the proposal incorporates new Department of Homeland Security authorities, which include the revised Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and In-Country Asylum.
- The BRIDGE Act – “Provisional protected presence” status will be granted for three years for foreign nationals who grew up in the United States and are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, covering 700,000 illegal immigrants brought here by their parents at a young age. This status will give them access to work permits, social security numbers, and protection from deportation.
- TPS – “Provisional protected presence” status will be granted to certain current TPS recipients for three years, providing 300,000 immigrants whose protected status is facing expiration more certainty as Congress works on a larger immigration deal.
- In-Country Asylum – To address the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) coming to the United States, in-country asylum processing for Central American Minors has been proposed. This would require a statutory change, along with reallocation of State Department funds, to establish in-country processing capacities at Northern Triangle consulates and embassies. For the new procedure to achieve the desired humanitarian result, a further corresponding statutory change would be required to ensure the proper return of those who circumvent the process by coming to the United States without authorization. Without the latter change, in-country processing will not reduce the unauthorized flow or successfully mitigate the humanitarian crisis.
In an effort to help Americans recover and rebuild from natural disasters, the measure provides $12.7 billion in supplemental disaster funding for states and territories recently ravaged by hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other such events.
The package also includes FY2019 appropriations bills for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. Each of these funding bills was passed by a strong majority of Senate committee members when voted out of the committee earlier this year.
The following are links to the legislative text, explanatory statement, and summaries for each portion of the package:
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