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[Congressional Record: January 29, 2002 (House)]
[Page H85-H86]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                          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 

[[Page H86]]

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.

                              {time}  1300

  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.