The Gang of Eight came in for a lot of criticism for its decision to require the stringent levels of border security only in “high risk” sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border — not along the entire border. The bill defines “high risk” as “a border sector in which more than 30,000 individuals were apprehended in the most recent fiscal year.” That standard would apply to just three of the nine sectors of the border.
Republican Gang members, plus their Democratic colleagues, now concede that standard was too narrow. Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the committee, offered an amendment in which the words “high risk” would be removed from the portions of the bill referring to border sectors. Any place, for example, where the bill required the Department of Homeland Security to “maintain an effectiveness rate of 90 percent or higher in all high-risk border sectors,” the bill would just refer to “all border sectors.”
The committee approved the amendment by a voice vote, with no apparent dissenters, indicating that Democrats, plus their allies on the Gang, found the “high-risk” restriction too difficult to defend. So now “high-risk” is out of the bill, at least the bill that will emerge from the Judiciary Committee.