Top Democrat: 'Border Surge' Amendment Boosts Corporate Cronyism

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Immigration Bill

During a Friday floor speech, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said the Corker-Hoeven border security amendment would be a boon to the corporate interests who are quietly backing the immigration reform bill.

Leahy, who says he will begrudgingly support the Corker-Hoeven immigration amendment offered by the so-called “Gang of Two”—Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND)—says it “reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.”

Leahy said the Corker-Hoeven amendment, touted as a "surge" to border security, amounts to a crony capitalist giveaway to the many big money interests quietly backing immigration reform.

“I am sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving at the prospect of all of the spending demanded by Senate Republicans in this amendment,” said Leahy during his floor speech on Friday.

He added: “The litany of expensive services, technology, and hardware mandated by this package is combined with an inexplicable waiver of many normal contracting rules. This is a potential recipe for waste, fraud and abuse.”

Numerous wealthy interests have pushed for immigration reforms that will benefit their industries. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s advocacy group, Fwd.us, brought together high-tech heavyweights like Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Al Gore’s billionaire business partner John Doerr to push for immigration provisions to benefit Silicon Valley firms. The group set a $50 million fundraising goal.

“We will use online and offline advocacy tools to build support for policy changes,” says Zuckerberg. “And we will strongly support those willing to take the tough stands necessary to promote these policies in Washington.”

Conservatives view the Corker-Hoeven amendment as further capitulation by Republicans.

As Breitbart News reporter Matthew Boyle has reported, Senate aides say Corker-Hoeven “is going to be filled with kickbacks and buyoffs.”

The Corker-Hoeven amendment is expected to come up for a vote on Monday.


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