Posted 8 months ago on June 23, 2013, 5:22 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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The fate of millions of immigrants is tied to immigration reform. But there are also numerous military contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers whose fortunes could be significantly affected by the bill.
Contained within the 1,000-page and counting immigration reform bill before the Congress is an estimated $4.5 billion in funding for "border enforcement," with potentially millions more added, which lawmakers say is as critical for reform.
The new funding will expand an immigration enforcement apparatus that already receives more federal dollars than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
Doris Meissner, who co-authored the report, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have characterized a border strategy as one of "risk management" and using resources effectively. Illegal crossings have reached historic lows in recent years. Yet Congress appears to be taking the approach of dramatically increasing the budget for enforcement, as well as dictating tactics to the Department of Homeland Security.
The immigration reform bill calls for additional drones and the likely beneficiary is the California-based General Atomics which has a $454 million pending federal contract to build and maintain up to 12 drones.
The influential industry now counts the support of the Congressional Caucus on Unmanned System or Drone Caucus in the Congress with 60 members from both parties. Last year General Atomics spent $2.4 million in lobbying politicians and made $680,682 worth of campaign contributions to members both parties, according to the Center for Responsive Politics which tracks campaign and lobbying money.
“As defense contracts diminish, border security becomes a bigger part of their profit sector,” says Tom Barry who tracks drone contracts for the Center for International Policy, a left-leaning think tank. http://newamericamedia.org/2013/06/the-business-of-border-security.php