[Congressional Record: November 8, 2001 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ENHANCING SECURITY OF U.S. BORDERS
Mr. DeWINE. Madam President, as a member of the Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Immigration; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and
the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and
Government Information, I am committed to improving the integrity of
our immigration system. My positions on these committees also have
given me an understanding of the unique interrelationship between
immigration, national security, and law enforcement.
I am especially interested in border security issues. The tragic
September 11 bombings have made it clear that we must improve our law
enforcement and intelligence systems to enhance public safety and
national security, particularly at our borders. I am pleased that two
bills have been introduced to revise our immigration and visa system to
enhance our border security. The chair and ranking member of the
Immigration Subcommittee, Senators Kennedy and Brownback, introduced S.
1618, the ``Enhanced Border Security Act.'' The chair and ranking
member of the Technology and Terrorism Subcommittee, Senators Feinstein
and Kyl, introduced S. 1627, the ``Visa Entry Reform Act.''
The Kennedy-Brownback bill emphasizes an immigration approach, while
the Feinstein-Kyl bill reflects a keen understanding of the needs of
law enforcement. While there are a few overlapping, even conflicting,
provisions in these bills, I think that the sponsors have some
excellent ideas and are clearly headed in the right direction. Both
bills seek to improve data sharing between agencies that are
responsible for protecting our borders.
At the same time, I think it is very important that we do not
``reinvent the wheel.'' In the recently passed counter-terrorism law,
``Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools
Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001'', USA PATRIOT
ACT, Congress passed a provision of mine to demonstrate how we can
expand the Integrated Automated Identification System to help secure
our borders. We already have the technology available to pre-screen,
identify, verify individuals, and share information through the FBI's
fingerprint database. We ought to leverage our previous investment in
Specifically, if someone is on an international ``watch list'' or
``wanted'' in connection with a criminal or intelligence investigation
in the United States, we need to know this information. I believe our
decisions as to whom we allow to enter and stay in our country are only
as good as the information upon which we base our decisions. My
provision in our new counter-terrorism law requires the FBI to report
to Congress on how its fingerprint database and other systems can be
used to address this problem.
Again, I anticipate that these bills will be reconciled into a
comprehensive border security bill. I hope to work with the sponsors of
both bills and help bridge the gaps.
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