A group of Republican senators introduced legislation Wednesday to fully fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Rounds, Jim Inhofe and John Kennedy introduced The WALL Act into the Senate, which would fund the border wall in full while also providing specific sources of funds.
“I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country,” Cruz said in a statement. “The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured. The WALL Act would fully fund the border wall by closing existing loopholes that provide illegal immigrants with federal benefits and tax credits, without affecting the benefits and tax credits used by Americans.”
“President [Donald] Trump has called for a border wall and I agree,” Inhofe added. “As a former builder and developer in south Texas, I know border security is national security and we need to do more to deter the growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants coming across our borders.”
In order to finance the wall, the legislation would require refundable tax credit beneficiaries provide work-eligible Social Security numbers in order to receive benefits, welfare applicants prove U.S. citizenship, raise the minimum fine for illegally crossing into the U.S., and enact minimum fines on individuals who overstay their visa.
“If you want to receive food stamps and other benefits, then you should prove your citizenship,” Kennedy said. “If you cross the border illegally or overstay your visit to this country, then you should pay a stiff penalty.”
“The primary responsibility of the federal government is the defense of our nation, which includes strong border security,” Rounds said. “The WALL Act will provide full funding for construction of a physical barrier along our southern border to protect against illegal immigration and stop those who wish to do us harm, such as terrorists, gang members and drug dealers, from entering the United States from the south.”
The legislation comes as Congress passed a two-week funding bill to avoid a government shutdown — it will provide both Republicans and Democrats ample time to debate funding for the border wall.
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