[Congressional Record: September 25, 2001 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
CRIMINAL ALIEN VISA DENIAL ACT OF 2001
HON. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing the Criminal Alien
Visa Denial Act of 2001 to ensure the State Department and Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) have access to U.S. criminal databases
before they let aliens into the country.
The State Department and INS currently lack the ability to access the
FBI's National Criminal Information Center's Interstate Identification
Index (NCIC-III) database. That means an alien can come into our
country, commit a crime, leave, and get a reentry visa from our State
Department or cross the border without being stopped.
There is evidence this has already happened. Between 1998 and 1999,
serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz, the ``Texas Railroad Killer,'' a
Mexican with a lengthy criminal record in the United States, was
allowed to cross the border because the INS didn't know he had a
record. And when he got here, he killed at least six people before his
capture. And just last week, we heard unconfirmed reports one of the
terrorist hijackers may have been allowed to cross the Canadian border
even though he too had a criminal record in the United States.
Strengthening national security, particularly border security,
against dispersed but deadly criminals and terrorists requires
interagency cooperation and coordination on an unprecedented scale.
Data matches between federal agencies today are often the product of
good luck and the happenstance of personal relationships. The modern
threat demands a more systematic collection and dissemination of the
information needed to identify suspects or prevent known criminals from
entering the United States.
The gap in data-sharing between Departments is no longer simply a
matter of bureaucratic inertia, but a threat to national security.
In 1996, the FBI and State Department issued a joint report
recommending the State Department receive limited access to the NCIC-
III database so the State Department could better identify aliens with
a criminal background in our country and prevent their entry.
Nevertheless, for four years this report lay dormant while the
Departments could not find a mutually agreeable way to institute their
recommendations. The language in this bill should meet with the
approval of both the Justice and State Departments.
Last year the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on
National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, began
a series of meetings and briefings to discuss data-sharing. On July
24th of this year, the Subcommittee held a hearing on Federal
Interagency Data Sharing and National Security. That hearing taught us
effective border security begins with our embassies, where U.S. visas
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