[Congressional Record: March 22, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I am chairman of an appropriations
subcommittee. Last fall we asked Governor Ridge, who is the Director of
Homeland Security, to come and testify on matters dealing with homeland
security issues. In my subcommittee, we fund the U.S. Customs Service
Governor Ridge determined that he could not do that and would not do
that. Other committees have experienced the same reaction from the
Governor. I think the administration is making a mistake. I think
Governor Ridge is an excellent public servant. I enjoy working with
him, but he really does need to come and testify before congressional
committees. I think it will benefit him, it will benefit the Bush
administration, it will benefit the Congress and the American people.
I did want to say, however, as we construct homeland defense, I think
the administration's recommendations are good ones. I support them. I
have commended President Bush for his prosecution of the war against
terrorism. I think his recommendations in this budget dealing with
homeland security are some thoughtful and good recommendations.
But there is one recommendation that is now floating around, being
advanced by Governor Ridge and others, that I will not support. That is
a recommendation to merge the Customs Service with the Immigration
Service. Let me describe why I think that would be inappropriate.
There is a discussion going on about merging a number of agencies of
the Federal Government into one larger agency. We are not going to
solve the problems of any agency by simply creating larger
bureaucracies. That doesn't solve any problems of government.
We had an embarrassing circumstance a couple of weeks or so ago in
which the Immigration Service issued visas to Mohammed Atta and one of
the other terrorists who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center
and murdered thousands of people.
We need to solve those problems at the INS. I must say Mr. Ziglar,
who runs the INS, a friend of mine and acquaintance of most of the
Senate, has inherited an agency that had a lot of problems, no question
about that. I know he is struggling mightily to deal with them. I wish
him well and I want to help him to do that. But he inherited an agency
that wasn't able to track anything on its computers. It couldn't track
down someone who overstayed a visa. I think Mr. Ziglar has a lot of
work to do, and I want to help him do that.
But visiting the problems at the INS that Mr. Ziglar inherited on the
Customs Service makes no sense at all. The Customs Service runs pretty
well. We have some problems there as well, but it is an entirely
different agency, which deals with the facilitation of trade and the
prohibition of illegal goods from coming into the country. It is the
second largest revenue raiser for the Federal Government next to the
Internal Revenue Service. So I don't want to visit upon the Customs
Service the problems of the INS or any other Federal agency, and I
don't believe you solve the problems with respect to these issues by
creating larger government and bigger bureaucracies.
So again, I would encourage Governor Ridge to come testify before
Congressional committees, and discuss matters such as these. The idea
of merging Customs and the INS is one that I just cannot support.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be rescinded.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so
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