The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 after it had been stripped of the provision to build an additional 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the southern border.
The idea had been championed by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina who voted against the bill and criticized those who helped defeat his amendment.
"We’re learning there’s almost nothing politicians won’t do to get out of promises they make in the daylight," he said, quoted by GovernmentExecutive.com.
However, Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, had argued before the vote that the wall was "too proscriptive and too costly," and that the bill included funds to build a virtual fence along the border and to hire more Border Patrol officers, according to the news source.
Environmental and community organizations have also praised the vote. Sierra Club representative in Washington Michael Degnan commented that border walls have not been proven to stem illegal immigration, but they have a devastating impact on communities, families and the wildlife in the region.
Among other controversial elements in the $42.8 billion bill are the provisions that allow prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to be transferred to the U.S. mainland for trial.