House passes $701M for border security

The House on Wednesday evening passed legislation that provides funding for more U.S. Border Security agents along the southern border after a federal judge knocked down key parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law.

The legislation would authorize $701 million for hiring over 1,200 Border Patrol agents, 500 Customs and Border Patrol agents and other additional personnel and resources for border security. It passed the House by voice vote, sending it on to the Senate.

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In July, the House passed the funds as part of the supplemental appropriations bill, but the Senate stripped it along with other domestic spending items last week. That bill, which contained funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, passed the House on Tuesday.

Twelve House Democrats from Southwestern states co-sponsored the bill. Its passage came on the same day U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton enjoined key portions of Arizona's controversial immigration law, specifically language that required police to check the identification of people they suspect are in the country illegally.

It is not clear if or when the Senate will take up the legislation, but the bill ensures that lawmakers will continue to debate legislative remedies to the immigration system through the August recess.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday praised the legislation and blamed Republicans for blocking it in the Senate.

“This legislation honors our first responsibility to protect the American people by giving law enforcement the tools they need to address the threat of violence near the U.S.-Mexico border," she said. "Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked it and therefore the supplemental sent to the president’s desk this week does not include funding for border security. With Mexican drug cartels engaging in unprecedented levels of violence, we can’t afford to play politics with the security of the American homeland."

"Nice try, but the future former speaker knows better than anyone else that when she tied border funding to a package of veto threatened extras she was dooming it to failure in the same way she doomed half her caucus by forcing them to vote on cap & trade last summer," a Senate GOP aide chimed in.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), an opponent of the suit but also of her state's law, said in a statement Wednesday, "The Senate cannot stand in the way of protecting our communities again.

"We have had enough with the endless delays and failed policies endangering our state — it is time for Congress to do what is necessary to secure the border. If they are truly concerned with our national security, they will put passing this legislation at the top of their agenda."

Updated 11:34 a.m.