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[Congressional Record: September 25, 2001 (Extensions)]
[Page E1723]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []
                         HON. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS

                             of connecticut

                    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 
are issued.