Lawmakers in the United States Senate introduced legislation designed to stem a flood of illegal immigration across America's southern borders. The bill also establishes a temporary worker program, creating a new visa category that allows foreign workers to enter the United States to work for up to two years when there are no available US workers.
"This bill strengthens our border enforcement and comprehensively reforms our immigration system, said Republican Senator John Cornyn, one of the authors of the bill, The Comprehensive Enforcement and Immigration Reform Act of 2005.
"We need both stronger enforcement and reasonable reform of our immigration laws," he said.
"The single most important aspect of this bill is that it does not reward those who have broken the law, and does not constitute amnesty," said a Republican from Arizona, another southwestern US state bordering Mexico.
Among numerous provisions, the bill would provide funding for 10,000 border patrol agents and 1,250 new customs officers.
It also would devote five billion dollars over five years for high-tech cameras and sensors and infrastructural improvementss at border stations and checkpoints to help stop illegal border crossing. The bill also strengthens US-VISIT entry-exit system to identify aliens who enter the United States illegally and better track those who fail to depart. The legislation also increases penalties for alien smuggling, document fraud, drug trafficking and gang violence.