WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill allocating 600 million dollars to help enhance border security in the southwestern states bordering Mexico.
Obama signed the bill in the Oval Office in the presence of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The bill would provide supplemental funding for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities, hiring more people and buying more equipment.
In a briefing afterwards, Napolitano said border security is a national security issue, and the administration is reaching out to Republicans to push forward the comprehensive immigration reform.
She said with the supplemental funding, authorities would be able to hire 1,000 new border patrol agents, 250 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and 250 more Customs and Border Protection officers.
The funding will also provide authorities with new communications equipment and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones. Part of the money would go to the Justice Department to help law enforcement agencies deal with drug dealers and human traffickers.
The bill will not add to federal deficit as the money will be raised from higher visa fees on foreign-based personnel companies which bring skilled workers to the United States. It is opposed by India.
The bill was sent to Obama on Thursday after the Senate took a voice vote to pass it. The House of Representatives passed it earlier.
U.S. media commented the measure signals a new determination to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration is a hot- button topic in the United States. Since a tough immigration law of the southwestern state Arizona sparked a national debate, the federal government has been acting more swiftly in shoring up border security.