Immigration reform took a big step when a bipartisan bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. The 844-page measure—which also gained the endorsement of a group of pro-business economists—goes to the full Senate for consideration.
While traditionally pro-immigration analysts and business interests applaud the effort, the current measure as it stands has set off alarms over one of the bill's biggest provisions—border security.
"The bill doesn't say it clear out, but in my opinion It creates a DMZ like North and South Korea, except [it's] between the U.S. and Mexico—our third largest trading partner," said Mark Noferi, an immigration law professor at Brooklyn Law School.
"The bill has a provision that extends the concept of 'the border' to 100 miles [within] the southern U.S. border, but I think that DMZ could conceivably extend along our northern border as well, through most of Vermont as it now stands," Noferi said.
The bill itself calls for increased training for any U.S. agents within 100 miles of "any land or marine border of the United States." The also bill calls for more Border Patrol stations within the 100-mile band, for improved communications there, and for the use of surveillance drones.
Noferi noted the $6.5 billion allocated in the reform bill to secure the border is on top of the $18.5 billion spent each year on U.S. border security. It's a lot of money for efforts that are already keeping U.S. borders secure, he said.
(Read more: Rubio: Time to Pass Immigration Reform)
"They have to hire more agents, build more fences and deploy drone airplanes," Noferi said. "Some of these measures will not be in the northern part of the U.S. but both our borders will be more militarized."
"Our southwestern border is already more secure than it's been in decades." said Michael Wildes, an immigration attorney with Wildes & Weinberg. "Billions of dollars for beefing up border security is wasteful overkill."
Increased security measures could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, according to a 2012 study by the conservative Cato Institute.
"Tourism, business travel, crossings at the land borders, and other legal entries into the U.S. have all been flat or falling over the past decade" from current security measures, the report says. "The loss of tourist revenue and the discouragement of foreign investors and business travelers are certainly costly, especially in a weak economy with catastrophically high unemployment."