Rounds, Colleagues Reintroduce Bill to Fully Fund Border Wall
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to reintroduce the WALL Act, legislation that would fully fund the border wall along the southern border. Their legislation, first introduced last Congress, is also the first bill that will fund the wall by identifying specific funding sources.
“The primary responsibility of the federal government is the defense of our nation, which includes strong border security,” said Rounds. “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. It pays for the wall by closing existing loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to receive federal benefits and increasing fines for illegal border crossings and visa overstays. By funding the wall through increased fines, we prevent any risk of dipping into Department of Defense (DoD) funding, which is already stretched thin. I thank Chairman Inhofe for his leadership on this effort and I look forward to advancing this proposal in the Senate.”
The WALL Act will fully fund the president’s $25 billion border wall while providing specific ways to pay for it:
- Require a work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN) to claim refundable tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit:
o Currently only the child needs a SSN, not the parent benefiting from the refundable child tax credit. The WALL Act would require the parent to have a valid work-eligible social security number.
o Before 2003, the Social Security Agency did not distinguish between work-eligible and non-work eligible SSNs. Therefore, there are individuals benefiting from the EITC they are not authorized to receive because they are non-work eligible.
- Require welfare applicants (food stamps, TANF, HUD, etc.) to verify citizenship:
o Currently someone only needs to “declare” citizenship and provide a SSN to receive some of these benefits.
o The WALL Act enhances citizenship verification prior to granting benefits using E-verify and require a work-authorized SSN for eligibility.
- Increasing the minimum fines on illegal border crossers and establishes minimum penalty for visa overstays.