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National Defense Authorization Act heads to Biden’s desk; increases military pay, extends FISA

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A  critical defense policy bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, is headed for President Joe Biden’s desk after passing both the House and Senate. The Act sets the policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense annually.

The Senate passed the roughly 3,000-page measure which was a comprise deal, on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, the GOP-led House passed the Act which this year includes a 5.2% pay raise for military members.

The bill passed in the House 310-118, with 73 Republicans and 44 Democrats opposed to the bill, according to CSPAN which also included an extension of the the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The raise for military service members is the largest for them in over two decades, according to CNN. Additionally, The final negotiated version of the NDAA for fiscal year 2024 authorizes $886 billion in national defense funding, an increase of $28 billion over last year.

CNN writes according to a summary of the bill from the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee, the bill would also put in place a watchdog to oversee US aid to Ukraine in the form of a special inspector general as well as set up a collection at the National Archives of government records on unidentified anomalous phenomena, commonly known as UFOs, that will be accessible to the public.

The legislation does not include two controversial provisions related to abortion and transgender health care access, which were in the House defense policy bill that passed this summer.

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Canadian-U.S. border illegal crossings up 240% over previous year

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The vulnerability of the northern border of the United States is being weaponized in the war on illegal migration. 2023 saw a 240% increase of individuals apprehended from just one year prior. Not only is the border with Canada significantly longer than its border with Mexico, but its ports of entry are often understaffed while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is forced to prioritize the southern surge.

According to recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in 2023 authorities halted over 12,000 migrants attempting illegal crossings at the Canadian border. The number is a 240% increase from the preceding year when 3,579 individuals were apprehended.

ADN America reports that approximately 70% of the illegal crossings took place along a 295-mile stretch along the northern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire border called the Swanton Sector.

Chief patrol agent for the sector, Robert Garcia, posted on social media that the 3,100 individuals apprehended were from 55 different countries. 

Garcia wrote “the record-breaking surge of illegal entries from Canada continues in Swanton Sector” and he specifically mentioned that the arrest of 10 Bangladeshi citizens was prompted by a citizen’s report in Champlain, New York.

Surprisingly, ADN reports:

A significant number of those engaging in illegal crossings are Mexicans who exploit the opportunity to fly to Canada without a visa, also avoiding the presence of cartels in their home countries.

Experts suggest that migrants can purchase a $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico City or Cancun to Montreal or Toronto. This route is perceived as offering a lower likelihood of being turned away compared to those crossing the southern border.

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