Senate OKs $550M to fight drugs, guns along border
The Senate has approved a $550 million package aimed at curbing the flow of drugs, guns and money between the United States and Mexico, Agence France-Presse reports.
The unanimous-consent vote comes a week after the Obama administration unveiled its plan to bolster border security because of the increasing violence along the border.
The legislation includes:
• $260 million to hire, train, equip and deploy 1,600 officers and 400 canine teams to toughen inspections.
• $130 million for 350 full-time Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators to work on firearm trafficking and money laundering investigations.
• $50 million to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to hire an additional 150 investigators and 50 inspectors to investigate firearms trafficking.
• $20 million to improve field communications between border patrol and immigration authorities.
• $20 million to modernize technology to identify potential criminals at ports of entry.
The Arizona Republic looks at Mexico's strict gun laws and whether U.S. regulations might be tightened as a result of the violence linked to weapons smuggled into Mexico.
At a Senate confirmation hearing today, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said that if confirmed as the new drug czar he would help develop and implement a strategy to stem the border violence. Overall, he vowed to take a balanced, science-based approach as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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