AUSTIN (KXAN) -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz with three other senators introduced a bill Wednesday that is aimed at fully funding a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Cruz, along with Sen. Jim Infoe (R-Okla.), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the WALL Act -- the first legislation that would identify funding sources for the border wall.
"I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country," Sen. Cruz said in a press release from the United States Senate. "The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured. The WALL Act would fully fund the border wall by closing existing loopholes that provide illegal immigrants with federal benefits and tax credits, without affecting the benefits and tax credits used by Americans."
If passed, the bill would fund President Donald Trump's proposed $25 billion border wall and provide specific ways to fund it. Sen. Kennedy claims that enacting certain changes with the WALL Act, American taxpayers will save $33 billion. The changes proposed in the bill are as follows:
- A work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN) will be required to claim refundable tax credits like Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
- Welfare applicants will be required to verify citizenship
- Minimum fines will be increased for people who illegally cross the border and a minimum penalty will be established for those who overstay their visa in the country.
"(The WALL Act) pays for the wall by closing the loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to received federal benefits and increasing fines for illegal border crossings and visa overstays," said Sen. Rounds. "By funding the wall through increased fines, we prevent any risk of dipping into the Department of Defense (DoD) funding, which is already stretched thin."
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