Security and defense contractors are preparing to take advantage of the hundreds of millions of dollars that approval of a new immigration law that will increase security along the border with Mexico will bring.

An amendment to the immigration reform the Senate passed in June calls for spending about $38 billion on border security personnel and equipment.

The House of Representatives has yet to take up immigration reform.

The prospective bonanza for defense contractors "is letting fall by the wayside the investments promoting trade and the flow of people, such as modernizing ports of entry," Christian Ramirez, with the immigrant defense organization Alliance San Diego, told Efe.

Among the companies that are seeking to benefit from the prospective spending windfall are giants Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Rockwell Collins.

"It's no secret that they are seeking to reverse the loss of their contracts with the Defense Department as a result of budget cutbacks and the length of participation in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," Ramirez said.

"Despite the fact that local authorities have provided evidence that public safety on the border is not out of control ... the interference of entities seeking to benefit economically impedes public policies that appropriately attend to border issues," the activist said.

This has created "pressure on legislators to push measures that have more to do with the economic needs of private initiative, resulting in the decline in the border residents' quality of life," Ramirez said. EFE