One of the big stumbling blocks for conservatives over the immigration bill is that many feel that the current Senate bill is not tough enough on enforcement. The NYT reported today that Senators Corker and Hoeven introduced a compromise plan in the form of an amendment on enforcement which involves a "border surge", an amassing of an additional 20,000 border patrol guards along the southwest border at a cost of "roughly $30 billion". Corker and Hoeven have said their expressed purpose for the plan is to entice more Republicans to get on board with the comprehensive immigration reform and that it is being presented as an alternative to Sen. Corynyn's amendment that some Democrats see as a poison pill. Their plan aims to waste billions of dollars of taxpayers money and also fail at stopping undocumented immigration.
Whether the plan will attract more Republicans is a separate issue from whether the plan will slow or stop undocumented immigration. It will not do the latter. The Department of Homeland Security's own estimates show that 40% of the undocumented population are visa overstayers, people who entered the country on valid temporary visas that then expired and the person did not leave. The Corker-Hoeven plan does not address that percentage of the undocumented population.
In fact the Senate bill itself does not seem to do much about interior enforcement except to set up elaborate programs to take biometric data of all entrants to the U.S. and step up E-Verify (a system for employers to check worker eligibility). The existence of these two programs though are not the same as devoting resources to interior enforcement--these strategies just track people as they come in, not after they have entered the U.S. When the systems discover either a) the person has not left the country on schedule or b) the worker is ineligible to work in the U.S., there still has to be someone deployed to apprehend these individuals. Neither plan has that provision; it allows the systems to track, not capture ineligible workers and visa overstayers.
All of these measures are political theatre designed to lull the public and some lawmakers into thinking that the Congress is getting tough on immigration with its "unprecedented boots on the ground" approach. Any enforcement program must be dual pronged: address the undocumented border entries, but also police worksites on the interior of U.S. employers who hire the undocumented. The Corker-Hoever plan appears to have no interest in beefing up interior enforcement or worksite enforcement.
Quite telling about the purely political motive of the plan was a tweeted by @CarrieNBCnews:
"Sessions says Corker-Hoeven 'will just throw money at the border.' Vitter: It's 'designed to pass the bill but not to fix the bill'"