U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced the introduction of legislation to fund U.S. border security barriers with revenues generated from tariffs imposed on Chinese goods.
Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced the Border, Law Enforcement, Operational Control, and Sovereignty (BLOCS) Act (S.188) as an option for meeting U.S. border security goals and moving toward a resolution to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
“My bill relies on existing bipartisan laws to create a pathway toward resolving the partial government shutdown by strengthening border security and overcoming political roadblocks,” Hyde-Smith said.
“Directing revenue generated from tariffs imposed on Chinese products to border security would ensure resources are available to enforce current law. This is a reasonable use of tariff monies and gets us past the argument over who is paying for border barriers and other security upgrades,” she said.
Rather than mandating a specific funding amount for border barriers, the BLOCS Act would direct 50 percent of additional annual revenue associated with three rounds of tariffs on China, currently $32.5 billion, be allotted to Department of Homeland Security to fulfill requirements of Section 102 of Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Approved with broad bipartisan support, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 amended Section 102 of the 1996 law, which states: “the Secretary of Homeland Security shall construct reinforced fencing along not less than 700 miles of the southwest border where fencing would be most practical and effective and provide for the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors to gain operational control of the southwest border.”
In fact, the changes made by the 2008 appropriations bill established a mandate upon the Department of Homeland Security to construct hundreds of miles of border fencing – a mandate which has not yet been fulfilled.
“We are past the point where we must get past partisan obstructions to significantly improve border security and reopen those federal agencies that have been shut down for more than a month,” Hyde-Smith said. “I offer this legislation as an option to meet those goals.”
Hyde-Smith earlier today voted for President Trump’s proposal to reopen the government and improve border security, but the bill lacked sufficient support to move forward.
The text of S.188 is available here.