[Congressional Record: January 29, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
SECURING OUR BORDERS
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of
January 23, 2002, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns) is
recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.
Mr. STEARNS. Madam Speaker, the events of September 11 forever
the world and the United States, and as President Bush declared, ``The
resolve of our great Nation is being tested . . . but make no mistake .
. . we will show the world that we will pass this test.''
Obviously, the President could not be more correct. Since then, the
United States has decimated al Qaeda and bin Laden's network of terror;
the Taliban no longer exist as a ruling form of government; and the war
against terrorism is being waged against those who harbor terrorists.
While America is making significant progress on many fronts in
eradicating terrorism, the war cannot be won without the key component
of securing our borders from those who wish to do us harm. Those who
violate our Nation's immigration laws do more harm than good in
furthering our country's values, and it is those people we must ensure
that do not enter our country.
Madam Speaker, a recent report by the United States Census Bureau
reveals there are more than 8.7 million people now living in the United
States illegally. About 40 to 50 percent of those violators are people
who entered the United States legally but did not leave with the
expiration of their visas. Out of the nearly 9 million illegal aliens
now in the country, more than 90,000 are from Middle East Nations,
including Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Many of those illegal aliens
are from nations with close ties to terrorism and nations with al Qaeda
According to the INS records, 13 of the 19 hijackers entered the U.S.
with valid visas. Three of the 13 remained in the country after their
visas had expired. Two were expected to have entered on foreign student
visas, and the INS has no information on the six remaining hijackers.
As such, we can keep enacting legislation and of course we could spend
more money around here, but efforts to counter terrorism will be futile
unless we establish effective controls to secure our borders at the
points of entry.
Each year there are more than 300 million border crossings in the
United States. These are just the legal crossings that are recorded.
While there are 9,000 border control agents working to keep America
secure on the U.S.-Mexican border, there are less than 500 agents
tasked with securing our 4,000-mile border with Canada.
To make matters even worse, out of the 128 ports on the northern
border, only four of them are open around the clock. The remaining are
not even manned, thereby allowing anyone with good or evil intentions
to enter the United States without even so much as an inspection, not
to mention even a question or a written record of their entry.
As it now stands, our immigration system needs increased and tighter
controls. Currently, our Nation has an unmonitored, nonimmigrant visa
system in which 7.1 million tourists, business visitors, foreign
students, and temporary workers arrive. To date, the INS does not have
a reliable tracking system to determine how many of these visitors left
the country when their visas expired.
Furthermore, among the 7.1 million nonimmigrants, 500,000 foreign
nationals enter the United States on foreign student visas. Hani
Janjour, the person believed to have piloted American Airlines Flight
777 into the Pentagon, is believed to have entered the country with a
foreign-student visa, but he never actually attended any classes.
Madam Speaker, our unsecured borders, along with inadequate
recordkeeping, have contributed to our inability to track terrorism in
this country or to prevent them from entering in the first place. So as
we start this second session of the 107th Congress, I call on my
colleagues in both the House and the Senate to strengthen our border
security, tighten our existing immigration laws, and to provide those
fighting to end illegal immigration with the tools and resources
necessary to defeat terrorism.
Share this page
Bookmark this page
The leading immigration law publisher - over 50000 pages of free information!
© Copyright 1995- American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM