[Congressional Record: March 14, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
RESTRUCTURING THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. GEKAS. Madam Speaker, I say to the Speaker and to the Members
that the ghost of Mohamad Atta has attacked our Nation. Following the
real Mohamad Atta and his crash into the World Trade Center, his ghost,
like ashes left at Ground Zero, has arisen and entered the public
This time, as everyone knows by now, we learned from the aviation
school in Florida that the visa for Mohamad Atta has been approved, 6
months to the day after the real Mohamad Atta crashed into our Twin
This, of course, is unacceptable, and the President of the United
States has said so, and the President immediately took action to start
the investigation into the matters that led to this unseemly
development in the school in Florida.
But it brings to mind that the President of the United States, as
candidate George W. Bush in the Year 2000, noted that his observation
of the Immigration and Naturalization Service was such that it could
not go on in the structure that was extant at that time, that we must
separate the law enforcement segment of INS from that of the process of
visas and naturalization and citizenship.
This is a theme which members of the Committee on the Judiciary took
to heart, and we have introduced legislation and worked on legislation
for bifurcation of the INS so that we can home in on student visas,
like the kind that Mohamad Atta abused, so we can home in on those who
overstay their visas, like the Mohamad Attas of the world, so that we
can keep track of the attendance of students in our country and note
the end of their scholarship at a particular institution and then take
steps, when necessary, to make sure they leave the country at the
expiration of the visas.
All those are problems that are anticipated to be solved when we
proceed with the bifurcation, the new structure, of the Immigration and
One giant step that we have already taken to get to the bottom of
this is that I have instructed our Subcommittee on Immigration and
Naturalization to formulate a hearing on this very same subject, and
next week, or as soon as possible, we are going to look into how this
incident occurred. We are going to determine from the INS internal
workings how this large hole in the process appeared, and we are going
to take steps to cover that hole forever, probably with a new structure
that we anticipate under the legislation that we have in front of us.
The important thing to recognize here is that we know, and we knew
before September 11, and so did Candidate Bush know in the Year 2000,
that we must do something about the INS. It had grown, in agonizing
detail, uncomfortable in so many respects, not only to the people who
are subject to its process, who had to wait such long periods of time
for validation of their particular applications, but also on the
question of border control and the large question of illegal aliens and
how many of them should be deported on the spot. All these are problems
that we anticipate will be alleviated, if not removed entirely, by the
new structure that we envision.
Now, to his credit, the President, together with the Attorney
made some movements internally to do exactly that, but it is not enough
to guarantee that this restructuring will take place. It will take a
statute, and I encourage all Members, Democrat and Republican, to join
in cosponsoring our legislation to bring about this great idea of
restructuring the INS.
What we are pronouncing here today, Madam Speaker, is the death of
the Immigration and Naturalization Service as we know it. For whom the
bell tolls? It tolls for the INS.
The new structure will meet these problems head on and accord the
American public a new sense of security at the borders and deal with
the problem of the internal machinations of the student visas and other
visas. We aim to tighten up the process so that we can guarantee the
security of the American people.
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