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[Congressional Record: May 18, 2000 (Extensions)]
[Page E766]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                               speech of

                        HON. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, May 17, 2000

       The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of 
     the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4205) to 
     authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2001 for military 
     activities of the Department of Defense and for military 
     construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for 
     fiscal year 2001, and for other purposes:

  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, this amendment authorizes the 
Department of Defense to assign members of our Armed Forces to assist 
the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service in 
monitoring and patrolling U.S. borders. I urge my colleagues to vote 
against this amendment.
  At the request of the Congress, the Department of Defense issued a 
report earlier this week on this very issue. After meeting with senior 
leadership of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. 
Customs Service to determine a scenario where U.S. military personnel 
would be assigned to either agency, the report states, in the end, 
neither the Immigration and Naturalization Service nor the United 
States Customs Service could envision a scenario which would require 
such assignments. Instead, both agencies expected that they would use 
the existing system of plans and procedures to increase the level of 
support from DoD personnel who would report through existing military 
chains of command.
  This is not necessary because the DoD already have plans in place 
detailing how DoD supports Federal law enforcement agencies during 
declared emergency situations. The President of the United States has 
the authority to declare emergencies and use military personnel to 
protect our borders. This is already implied in the powers of the 
Executive Office of the President.
  We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. The men and women 
of the U.S. Border Patrol put their lives on the line every day of 
their lives. The present force of 8,000 members is responsible for 
protecting more than 8,000 miles of international land and water 
boundaries, and work in the dangerous deserts of Arizona and Texas. 
They are empowered to do this job. We do not need Federal troops at the 
border just yet. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment.

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