[Congressional Record: April 12, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ENHANCED BORDER SECURITY AND VISA ENTRY REFORM ACT OF 2001
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will now
proceed to consideration of H.R. 3525, which the clerk will report.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
A bill (H.R. 3525) to enhance the border security of the
United States, and for other purposes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it is time to enact the Enhanced Border
Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.
I thank my colleagues, Senators Brownback and Kyl, on the Judiciary
Committee, the Republican leaders on the Judiciary Committee and on
this issue, and also acknowledge the very strong leadership of my
colleague and friend from California, Senator Feinstein. We have worked
very closely together. We all had different legislation in different
forms and shapes, but all on a similar subject matter. We have worked
closely to make a unified recommendation to the Senate which reflects
our best judgment.
It also reflects the best judgment of those who have had the
opportunity to study the issues that we have included, and we have
benefited from a number of recommendations. I am very grateful to all
of our colleagues for all of the good work they have done. We present
this as a unified team.
This legislation would strengthen the security of our borders,
improve our ability to screen foreign nationals, and enhance our
ability to deter potential terrorists. This legislation addresses the
significant national security challenges we face today.
The House passed the Border Security Act in December. The Senate
action is long overdue.
I believe there are five dimensions to our security challenge today.
First is the military. The Armed Forces are performing superbly, and
they are well led. Secondly, we have a new intelligence challenge that
deals primarily with the control of nuclear and biological materials in
the former Soviet Union, and the gaps in what we know about terrorist
groups. A third involves a cracking-down on money laundering and
improving our ability to follow the financial trail of terrorist groups
through the international monetary system, and we have seen important
legislation on that subject successfully completed in this body.
Fourth is the area of bioterrorism. Senator Frist and I have worked
closely together to enact the Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act
signed by the President in the year 2000. We are in conference now with
the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act. We have very good bipartisan support
for this legislation--Congressman Tauzin, House Members--and we are
very close to making recommendations with a conference report sometime
next week or very shortly thereafter. We have worked very closely in a
bipartisan, bicameral way to meet this particular challenge.
Finally, there is the security of our borders, which remains the
challenge that needs attention.
As the recent mistakes of the INS demonstrate, the need is urgent to
close the loopholes in our immigration system. Border security is the
shared responsibility of the INS, the State Department, intelligence
agencies, and the Customs Service, and requires improved technology,
enhanced intelligence capacity, and dynamic information sharing,
updated training for border officials and Foreign Service offices, and
expanded monitoring of foreign nationals already in the United States.
Additional restructuring within agencies to streamline the
implementation of this multi-faceted goal may be necessary over time,
but are not a precondition to the passage of this legislation.
The pressing need for enhanced border security must proceed without
As I mentioned, the reorganization, restructuring of the INS is
I and others have introduced that restructuring in the 105th and
107th Congresses. Basically, that incorporated the recommendations of
what we call the Barbara Jordan Commission. The Commission itself spent
over a year evaluating and examining the series of recommendations
about how to make the whole INS more effective and efficient and
respond to both its enforcement as well as its service needs. It is a
solid base from which we should move ahead.
But it does seem to all of us that it is important we get about this
business now in terms of border security first and not wait for the
kinds of debates on the restructuring and reorganizing, because
whatever is going to be done with that, these provisions that we will
be accepting and endorsing today will be well incorporated into that
In strengthening our security at our borders, we must also safeguard
the unobstructed entry of the more than 31 million persons who enter
the United States legally each year as visitors, students, and
temporary workers. Many others cross our borders from Canada and Mexico
to conduct daily business or visit close family members. We are talking
about 550 million people who come and go from the United States every
year--with the possibility of some visitors who might pose some danger
to our country and society in the form of terrorism. It is really like
finding a needle in the haystack.
We have to use technology to the greatest effect we can--with well-
trained people and good technology at the entry level. With this new
technology, we will be able to track when individuals acquire a visa
and follow that individual while they are in the United States to know
when they are leaving or when they should leave the United States. This
technology will keep alive the knowledge and the whereabouts of
individuals who are visiting our country. That capability does not
exist today. It is key in terms of trying to deal with the challenges
of border security. And now that we have recognized that the terrorists
were visitors to this country who acquired visas, we understand the
importance of trying to deal with this issue and deal with it
We believe the legislation we are supporting is not going to answer
all of the problems, but it is going to move us into the modern
technology age and will take advantage of all the new technology to
help provide security for our country.
We also must live up to our history and heritage as a nation of
immigrants. We can go to a more restrictive kind of border security. It
probably would not be responsive to the nature of the terrorists, and
it would have important implications in terms of families and in terms
of commercial relationships. We want to provide a recommendation
consistent with our historical and economic interests, but also use the
best of technology in terms of identifying it and seeking out those who
mean to do harm to our society.
Continued immigration is a part of our national well-being, our
identity as a nation, and our strength in today's world. In defending
America, we are also defending the fundamental constitutional
principles that made us strong in the past and will make us even
stronger in the future. Our action must strike a careful balance
between protecting civil liberties and providing the means for law
enforcement to identify, apprehend, and detain potential terrorists. It
makes no sense to enact reforms to severely limit immigration into the
United States. ``Fortress America,'' even if it could be achieved, is
an inadequate and ineffective response to the terrorist threat. This
legislation strikes the balance. Immigrants are not the danger;
terrorists are. We have to keep that in mind.
Our legislation creates increased and improved layers of security by
providing multiple opportunities for our government to turn away or
apprehend potentially dangerous visitors and travelers.
Our first layer of security is the intelligence information provided
to consular offices, the INS, and border guards. Our efforts to improve
border security must therefore include targeted intelligence gathering
and analysis to identify potential terrorists, and coordinated
information-sharing within and between the Department of State, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the law enforcement and
This legislation will require the President to submit and implement a
plan to improve the access to critical security information. It will
create an electronic data system to give those responsible for
screening visa applicants and persons entering the United States the
information they need in real time and the tools they need to make
informed decisions. It also provides for a temporary system until the
President's plan is fully implemented.
Now, most foreign nationals who travel here must apply for visas at
American consulates overseas. We must improve the ability of the
Foreign Service officers to detect and intercept potential terrorists
before they arrive in the United States. Traditionally, consular
offices interviewing visa applicants have focused on trying to
determine whether the applicant is likely to violate his or her visa
Although this review is important, consular offices must also be
trained specifically to screen for security threats, not just potential
We are basically talking about two concepts. One is in terms of the
technology and the shared information and the other is the training.
Too often we find that the intelligence agencies refuse to provide
information in terms of the dangers of individuals who may pose a
threat to the United States and share that with the consular offices
that are making decisions and judgments with regard to whether they
ought to give that person a visa. And it has been a bureaucratic snafu
that continues too often, even today.
The intelligence community believes that if they provide that
information, they are somehow potentially sacrificing their sources in
a given country because there are foreign nationals in the consular
offices and they will be able to get wind of what is happening and
endanger their sources of information with regard to those who pose us
a threat. So in many instances they will not make those individuals and
the dangers of those individuals available to the consular offices.
Clearly, if the consular offices, no matter how well-trained, don't
have that information, then they are unable to make a judgment about
the kinds of threats that individual poses for the United States. That
has to stop.
There is no question, with the level of technology that is available
at this time and the whole processing that can be utilized, we can meet
the responsibilities of the intelligence community, as well as ensuring
that well-trained consular offices are going to have the kinds of
information they are going to need in order to make a solid judgment in
terms of the individual. That is a key element. We need to have the
training of the consular offices so they are not just looking at the
usual judgments, whether individuals may overstay, based upon family
relationships; but they need the additional kind of training in order
to be able to detect and determine, to the extent that the training
can, whether individuals pose us a threat. Those two factors are
included in this legislation and strongly supported. It is extremely
important, right at the very beginning, to make sure you are going to
have the best information that is going to be available to that visa
officer, and that the visa officer is going to have the best possible
training to not only understand their responsibility on individuals who
want to get a touring visa, but also they are going to be carefully
trained in order to use their skills to be able to root out those who
may potentially be a threat. Those are very important parts of this
Terrorist lookout committees will be established in every U.S.
consular mission abroad in order to focus the attention of our consular
officers on specific threats and provide essential critical national
security information to those responsible for issuing visas and
updating the database. So if the other intelligence agencies are going
to be able to pick up information, as we have seen happen at different
times, that a particular area is a potential threatened area, that
information can be made available as well to the consular offices to
put them on a higher alert. That too often does not exist today. That
has to be altered and changed. This legislation does that.
This legislation will close gaps on restrictions on visas for foreign
nationals from countries that the Department of State has determined
are sponsors of terrorism. It prohibits issuing visas to individuals
coming from countries that sponsor terrorism, unless the Secretary of
State has determined on a case-by-case basis that the individual is not
a security threat.
The current visa waiver program, which allows individuals from
participating countries to enter the United States for a limited period
of time without visas, strengthens relations between the United States
countries and encourages economic growth around the world. Given its
importance, we must safeguard its continued use, while also ensuring
the country's designation as a participant in the program does not
undermine the U.S. law enforcement and security. This legislation will
only allow a country to be designated as a visa waiver participant--or
continue to be designated--if the Attorney General and Secretary of
State determine that the country reports instances of passport theft to
the U.S. Government in a timely manner.
There is a criterion for selecting those countries. Those countries
are eligible for a visa waiver if they demonstrate that 97 percent of
those who are granted visas return. That has been reviewed and studied
over a period of time. Rather than using the personnel when we know
individuals will be returning, part of all of this effort is to use the
resources we have, which are not infinite, to target the areas where
there is the greatest need.
We have 22 million visitors who come from these visa waiver
countries. There is not a careful monitoring of those individuals when
they are here or when they are returning. That has to change. This
legislation ensures the INS will know when those individuals come here,
their whereabouts, and when they are going to leave. That is enormously
Another provision is the student waiver program. We have 22,000--
listen, 22,000--educational institutions that can grant an educational
visa. We do not now know when the individual comes in, once they get by
the port of entry, whether they ever go to the college, whether they
ever attend for any period of time, or, quite frankly, whether they
graduate, which is an enormous loophole. That has to change.
There are provisions in this legislation that do that. We have
accomplished this with the cooperation of the universities and the
educational centers. They cooperated. They helped us. We will have a
chance to go through this in greater detail to the extent Members want
to, but that is included in this legislation as well.
We must require also that all airlines electronically transmit
passenger lists to destination airports in the United States, so that
once the planes have landed, law enforcement officers can intercept
passengers on the lookout list. United States airlines already do this,
but some foreign airlines do not do it. Our legislation requires
airlines to electronically transmit passenger manifest information
prior to arrival in the United States. That information is going to be
put into the computers so we know when the visa is granted and that it
is based on the most current information. We will know when that
individual purchased a ticket. That information will be shared. We will
know by the tracking of that ticket when the person enters. When the
border security person sees that individual at the port of entry, they
are going to have up-to-date information and ultimately will have
biometric technology to make sure the person standing before them is
the same person who was granted the visa. That does not exist today,
and it creates enormous opportunities for abuse. We make that
commitment in this legislation.
We do not minimize the complexity in achieving all of this, but we
believe it represents our best effort in how we can improve our current
Enforcement personnel at our ports of entry are a key part of the
battle against terrorism, and we must provide them greater resources,
training, and technology. These men and women have a significant role
in the battle against terrorism. This legislation will ensure that
enforcement personnel receive adequate pay, can hire necessary
personnel, are well trained to identify individuals who pose a security
threat, have access to important intelligence information, and have the
technologies they need to enhance border security and facilitate cross-
The Immigration and Naturalization Service must be able to retain
highly skilled immigration inspectors. Our legislation provides
incentives to immigration inspectors by providing them with the same
benefits as other law enforcement personnel. They do not have that
today. Our bill does.
Expanding the use of biometric technology is critical to prevent
terrorists from traveling under false identities. This legislation is
needed to bring our ports of entry into the digital and biometric age
and equip them with biometric data readers and scanners. These secure
travel document scanners will verify that a person entering the country
is the same person who was issued the passport and the visa.
We must expand the use of biometric border crossing cards. The time
frame previously allowed for individuals to obtain these cards was not
sufficient. This legislation extends the deadline for individuals
crossing the border to acquire the biometric cards. There are some
instances where individuals, particularly in Mexico, have the cards and
we have not put the investment into the technology that is necessary to
read these cards.
The USA PATRIOT Act addressed the need for machine-readable passports
but did not focus on the need for machine-readable visas issued by the
United States. This legislation enables the Department of State to
raise fees through the use of machine-readable visas and use the funds
collected from these fees to improve technology at our ports of entry.
The fee raising has been enormously successful. It has funded these
programs. It makes a great deal of sense.
We must also strengthen our ability to monitor foreign nationals
within the United States. In 1996, Congress enacted legislation
mandating the development of an automated entry/exit control system to
record the entry of every non-citizen arriving in the United States and
to match it with the record of departure. Although the technology is
available for such a system, it has not been put in place because of
the high costs involved. Our legislation builds on the antiterrorism
bill and provides greater direction to the INS for implementing the
Also, we include in the legislation a very interesting proposal, and
that is to first look north and then south at perimeter security. We
are not only looking at our border with Canada, but we are also working
with Canada to find out who is coming into Canada as a first line of
defense. That is shared information, with the idea that we can set up
systems that are going to be cooperative and interchangeable with the
exchange of information and intelligence on individuals.
The Canadian Government is responding very positively. Our Ambassador
to Canada, the former Governor of Massachusetts, Paul Cellucci,
testified before our committee about the steps that are being taken.
That will take time to work through. Then we can obviously think about
doing the same job on the southern perimeter. Most of those who worked
on the whole security issue believe that can be enormously important
and very worthwhile.
It is time for the Senate to support this bill. The security concerns
addressed by this legislation cannot be ignored, action cannot be
postponed, and the cost is reasonable. The estimated cost of the
legislation is $1.2 billion in 1 year, $3.2 billion for full
implementation. It is a small price to pay for the security this bill
will provide the American public.
Some have urged Congress to delay the passage until we have had, as I
mentioned, the opportunity to restructure the INS. But the many
important goals of this bill, including developing an interoperable
data system to give immigration and consular officers access to
relevant law enforcement and intelligence information, requiring
biometric identifiers be included in travel documents, and
strengthening the training of consular officers and immigration
inspectors are important reforms that need to be enacted regardless of
how our agencies are organized.
These reforms cannot wait for a bureaucratic arrangement to be
resolved, as we have seen the risks are too great. While reorganization
of the INS is a top priority, which Congress plans to quickly address,
we cannot afford to wait until that task is implemented to undertake
the necessary changes advanced in the border security bill.
The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act has the broad
bipartisan support of 60 Senators and the support of numerous
coalitions such as the National Border Patrol Council, the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce, Americans for Better Borders,
International Biometric Industry Association, the American Immigration
Lawyers Association, the Association of International Educators, the
Leadership Council for Civil Rights, National Council of La Raza,
National Immigration Forum, the American Federation of Government
Employees, and the AFL-CIO.
The USA PATRIOT Act was an important part of the effort to improve
immigration security, but further action is needed. This legislation is
a needed bipartisan effort to strengthen the security of our borders
and enhance our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks while also
reaffirming our tradition as a nation of immigrants.
I see my colleague and friend Senator Feinstein is in the Chamber. At
this time, I state for the record the very strong support from the
National Border Patrol, which represents 9,000 nonsupervisory Border
Patrol employees, talking about the very important aspects of this
legislation, and rest assured we can count on the support of the
National Border Patrol Council to secure the passage of this
legislation. Americans for Better Borders, similarly they have
indicated their strong support and state that given the importance of
this legislation, they urge swift passage in the Senate. Also included
are the groups I have indicated in this chart, which are as broad a
range of groups in support of this legislation as one could hope for in
One of the most important groups that support this--and I intend to
yield in a moment--are the Families of September 11. We heard marvelous
eloquence today from MaryEllen Salamone, who is the director of the
Families of September 11. These families testify about the importance
of this legislation. They are attempting not only to try and bring
their lives together, but also in areas of public policy they are
expressing their views in ways of ensuring, to the extent that we can,
that we will not have a similar kind of tragedy as September 11.
We heard testimony so powerful today in support of legislation from
that group. I will include those letters of support, as well as from
the International Biometric Industry, as to why they believe this
legislation is so important. I have letters from the Alliance, which is
the International Education and Cultural Exchange, and the Association
of International Educators. There is strong support from those who
would be impacted by this legislation.
This is good legislation. It is necessary, and I hope the Senate will
support it. I am so glad to see my colleague and friend from
California, who I have indicated has been a driving force in this area
as in so many other areas, and she has been an essential partner. We
always enjoy the opportunity to work closely with her, and we always
learn from that experience.
I ask unanimous consent that the letters I referred to be printed in
There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
American Federation of
Washington, DC, April 11, 2002.
Hon. Edward Kennedy,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Senate Committee on
Judiciary, Washington, DC.
Dear Chairman Kennedy: On behalf of the American Federation
of Government Employees, I would like to express our strong
support for S. 1749, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa
Entry Reform Act of 2002. In our view, the combination of
improved technology, better training and higher pay will do
much to improve our border response capability.
We are particularly gratified that this legislation
includes a long overdue increase in the journeyman pay grade
for immigration inspectors and border patrol agents.
Currently, the journeyman pay grade for these two groups of
employees is GS-9, among the lowest for all federal law
enforcement personnel. This, coupled with the lack of law
enforcement retirement benefits for immigration inspectors,
has created an attrition crisis at the Immigration and
According to statistics provided by the I&NS, the current
attrition rate for border patrol agents is 14 percent and is
expected to rise to a staggering 20 percent by the end of the
fiscal year. For immigration inspectors, the current rate is
10.1 percent and it is expected to reach 15 percent by the
end of the year. We have been told that over 50 percent of
our nation's border patrol agents have applied for air
marshal positions. The tremendous loss of experienced
personnel to other law enforcement agencies has a devastating
effect on agency effectiveness and employee morale.
W3 applaud you for your leadership on this issue and look
forward to working with you to secure full funding for this
National Immigration and Naturalization Service Council
of the American Federation of Government Employees,
April 11, 2002.
Hon. Edward M. Kennedy,
U.S. Senate, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Kennedy: On behalf of the National Immigration
& Naturalization Service Council and its 6,800 members, I
would like to express our appreciation for your efforts to
increase the journeyman pay grade for INS inspectors from GS-
9 to GS-11. We believe this is a long overdue step that will
help stem the double digit attrition rate currently
experienced within the ranks of INS inspectors. It will also
begin to close the gap between their pay rates and that of
most other federal law enforcement agencies.
For this reason, we want to lend our strong support to S.
1749/H.R. 3525, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry
Reform Bill of 2002. We look forward to working with you to
secure the necessary appropriation to implement the pay grade
We also look forward to working with you in the future on
legislation that would grant immigration inspectors their
right as federal law enforcement officers to receive law
enforcement retirement benefits. It is a gross injustice that
these individuals, who make countless arrests, are required
to carry firearms and place themselves in danger on a regular
basis and are denied such retirement benefits.
If there is anything we can do to assist you in your
efforts to enact this bill, please let us know.
Charles J. Murphy,
Families of September 11,
Great Falls, VA.
Dear Senator: On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked
America. They hijacked four planes and crashed into the World
Trade Centers and the Pentagon. They took over 2800 lives,
they left 15,000 children without one or both parents, and
they ruined thousands and thousands of families. They left
America in fear.
Senate Bill 1749, The Enhanced Border Security and VISA
Entry Reform Act addresses immigration security issues. The
events of September 11 illustrated most clearly the
weaknesses of our immigration monitoring systems and Congress
responded with this well thought out and carefully written
legislation. It passed in December, without delay, in the
It is disturbing to learn that this legislation is
presently blocked from a vote on the Floor of the Senate. In
honor of our loved ones lost, our organization, the Families
of September 11, Inc., is committed to promoting legislation
and policies which will prevent the recurrence of such a
horrific tragedy. We implore you, as an elected official of
this country, not just of your state, to do the same. All
legislation necessary to improved homeland security must be
passed without delay. There is no justification to compromise
the safety of the United States of America. Senate Bill 1749
needs to be passed, and it needs to be law.
This is not a time for politics in our country, it is a
time for action. The families affected by the events of
September 11 have already paid the ultimate price for
freedom. We have a reasonable expectation that neither we,
nor anyone, should have to pay such a great price as ours for
the liberty of this country again. And we have a reasonable
expectation that it should be your obligation to ensure this.
Please exert any effort necessary to effect a vote on S1749
on the Floor of the Senate. And please vote in its favor,
homeland security needs to be of the utmost priority in these
Thank you for your attention and dedication to the
resolution of this issue.
Washington, DC, April 10, 2002.
Hon. Edward M. Kennedy,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: On behalf of the International Biometric
Industry Association (IBIA), I am writing to express warm
support for swift enactment of the Enhanced Border Security
and Visa Reform Act of 2001.
The IBIA and other industry stakeholders understand the
critical importance of this legislation to help counter
vulnerabilities in national infrastructure security that were
so tragically demonstrated on 9/11. Incorporating biometric
identification technology into the new security program
called for by the bill will vitally strengthen border
The IBIA and its partner organizations in research and
education in biometrics believe that biometrics must be
deployed in ways that both advance security and protect
privacy and civil liberties. This legislation is consistent
with that goal while making great strides toward removing the
cloak of anonymity used by those who have no regard for such
personal freedoms and the safety of our citizens.
IBIA is a tax-exempt, nonprofit trade association founded
in 1998 to advance the collective interests of the biometric
industry. IBIA impartially serves all biometric technologies
in all applications. IBIA's membership includes leading
manufacturers of hand recognition, iris, facial fingerprint,
voice and signature biometrics, and leading integrators of
Thank you for your farsighted leadership.
John E. Siedlarz,
Federation for American
Washington, DC, April 11, 2002.
Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
Hart Senate Office Building,
Dear Senator Feinstein: It is my distinct pleasure to offer
the full support of the Federation for American Immigration
Reform (FAIR) for S. 1749, the Enhanced Border Security and
Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001. As you know, FAIR has worked
tirelessly with you and with other members of both the House
and Senate to develop and advance this critically important
homeland security legislation. Senate consideration of this
measure separately from other controversial legislation to
extend Section 245(i) is the only supportable means for
handling this landmark legislation.
Absent the important provisions of this legislation, the
United States will remain perilously vulnerable to attack by
terrorists because the nation presently lacks any federal
capacity to monitor or track foreign nationals who violate
the terms of their visas. Without this important legislation,
the United States will continue to lack knowledge of who has
entered and departed the country. Similarly the nation will
continue to lack knowledge of whom and how many have failed
to depart and remain illegally in the country.
As we have seen since the attacks of September 11, our
federal investigative agencies are fragmented, uncoordinated
and lack the ability to share important information needed to
identify terrorists either attempting to enter our country or
who are already here. S. 1749 will mandate interoperability
of investigative databases, making it at least possible to
detect, intercept and quickly apprehend terrorist suspects
before their deadly plans are consummated. The mandates to
implement an exit-entry system, inter-agency information
sharing and the use of verifiable biometric identifiers on
visas and passports make enforcement of laws against all
forms of illegal immigration far more feasible.
Senator Feinstein, we applaud the steadfast determination
you have shown in ending the logjam holding up Senate
consideration of this bill since last December. The nation is
in your debt.
National Border Patrol Council of the American Federation
of Government Employees,
Campo, FL, April 12, 2002.
Hon. Edward M. Kennedy,
Chairman, Immigration Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, U.S.
Senate, Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Kennedy: The National Border Patrol Council,
representing over 9,000 non-supervisory Border Patrol
employees, appreciates your leadership on immigration issues
and support of the dedicated men and women who protect our
nation's borders. Your recent efforts to provide enhanced
technology, more training, and higher pay through the pending
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002
(S. 1749/H.R. 3525) are greatly appreciated. As you are aware
attrition within the ranks of the Border Patrol is at an all-
time high, and continues to climb at an alarming rate.
Increasing the journeyman pay level of these employees is an
important step in addressing this severe problem. Rest
assured that you can count on the support of the National
Border Patrol Council to secure the passage of this
legislation. After it is enacted, your continued assistance
in the effort to fully fund the pay increase authorization
will prove invaluable.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cantwell). The Senator from California.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I want to begin by thanking the
Senator from Massachusetts for his leadership on this issue. It is very
clear to me we would not be where we are today had it not been for his
leadership, both as a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee and as
the chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, and as a 40-year member
of this great body.
I am very pleased to join with Senators Kennedy, Brownback, and Kyl
in sponsoring the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of
2001. This legislation, I think it is fair to say, represents a
consensus. It draws upon the strength of both the Visa Entry Reform Act
of 2001, which I introduced with my colleague from Arizona, Senator
Kyl, and the Enhanced Border Security Act of 2001, which Senators
Kennedy and Brownback introduced.
How did this happen? Senator Kyl and I, in the Technology and
Terrorism Subcommittee, held hearings and came upon many of the same
things I think Senators Kennedy and Brownback did in the full
Subcommittee on Immigration. In any event, the final result, as Senator
Kennedy has said, garnered widespread support from both sides of the
aisle. We now have a total of 61 cosponsors, and I think that is pretty
much unprecedented for an immigration bill, particularly one of this
September 11 clearly pointed out the shortcomings of our immigration
and naturalization system. For example, all 19 terrorists entered the
United States legally. They had valid visas. Three of the hijackers had
remained in the United States after their visas had expired. One
entered on a foreign student visa. Another, Mohamed Atta, had filed an
application to change status to M-1, which was granted in July.
However, Mr. Atta sought permission and was admitted to the United
States based on his then current B-1 visitor visa.
On March 11, 6 months from the date of the attacks, 6 months after
Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi flew planes into the World Trade
Center, the Immigration and Naturalization Service notified a Venice,
FL, flight school that the two men had been approved for student visas.
I think the sheer volume of travelers to our country each year
illustrates the need for an efficiently run and technologically
advanced immigration system. This is extraordinarily difficult if we
just look at some of the numbers. I want the record to reflect some of
We have in our country between 8 and 9 million people who are
residents without any legal status. They either entered illegally or
they overstayed a temporary visa. Actually, 40 percent of the total
were visa overstays. We had 30.1 million nonimmigrants entering the
United States during the year 1998. That is the most recent year for
which INS has statistics.
As Senator Kennedy pointed out, 23 million of them entered as
tourists on the visa waiver program. Nobody knows really whether they
ever went home again. Six million of them were issued nonimmigrant
visas as students, tourists, temporary workers, and other temporary
visitors; 660,000 were foreign students who had entered in the fall of
2001. If that is not enough, we have about 500 million border crossings
back and forth each year, combining Americans who cross the border with
non-Americans who cross the border, and 350 million of the 500 million
are non-Americans crossing the border.
So if one talks about securing borders, our country is a giant sieve.
This sieve is virtually our strength in times of peace, and at times of
war it is our greatest insecurity.
Of these 666,000 foreign nationals who held student visas in 2001,
more than 10,000 enrolled in flight training, in trade schools, in
other nonacademic programs, and more than 16,000 came from terrorist-
Senator Kennedy pointed out--my numbers are 2,000 different from
his--that we have some 74,000 U.S. schools that are allowed to admit
foreign students, but checks of the schools on the current INS list
found that some had closed. Yet students still come in. Others have
never existed; therefore, they were fraudulent schools set up clearly
to bring in people on student visas.
Exactly 6 months after the 9-11 attacks, as I pointed out, Huffman
Aviation received student visa approval forms for Mohamed Atta and
There is a big problem out there, and I think the sheer volume of
travelers to our country each year points out eloquently the problems
This is one of the reasons why we have to change a paper-driven
agency into a much more active agency, with better management, with
more technologically modern tools, and I think knowing what we now know
to secure our borders. It is visa entries, change the processes, and
improve the border. This bill aims to do that.
I will talk for a moment about the visa waiver program. I mentioned
visa waivers: Some 23 million people, from 29 different countries. I
mentioned nobody knows where they go in the United States or whether
they leave once their visas expire. The INS estimates over 100,000
blank passports have been stolen from government offices in
participating countries in recent years. Why would 100,000 passports be
stolen? The answer is, to use them fraudulently. Abuse of the visa
waiver program poses threats to U.S. national security. It also
increases illegal immigration.
For example, one of the co-conspirators in the World Trade Center
bombing of 1993 deliberately chose to use a fraudulent Swedish passport
to attempt entry into the United States because of Sweden's
participation in the visa waiver program. That clearly says we have to
change the program. What we do in this bill is mandate all these
passports must be machine readable, so they can be read when the
individual enters the country, they can be read when the individual
leaves the country, and also the information can be provided to know
what these people are going to do while they are in the country.
Let me talk about the foreign student visa program. I mentioned that
more than 500,000 foreign nationals enter each year. Within the last 10
years, 16,000 came from such terrorist-supporting States as Iran, Iraq,
Sudan, Libya, and Syria. The foreign student visa system is one of the
most underregulated systems we have today. We have seen bribes,
bureaucracy, and other problems with this system that leave it wide
open to abuse by terrorists and other criminals.
For example, in the early 1990s, 5 officials at 4 California colleges
were convicted in Federal court of taking bribes, providing counterfeit
education documents, and fraudulently applying for more than 100
foreign student visas. It is unclear what steps the INS took to find
and deport the foreign nationals involved in this scheme, even after
these five officials were convicted.
Each year, we have 300 million border crossings. For the most part,
these individuals are legitimate visitors in our country, but we have
no way of tracking all of these visitors. Mohamed Atta, the suspected
ring leader in the attack, was admitted as a nonimmigrant visitor in
July 2001. He traveled frequently to and from the United States during
the past 2 years. According to the INS, he was in legal status the day
of the attack. Other hijackers also traveled with ease throughout the
It has become all too clear that without an adequate tracking system,
our country becomes the sieve that it is today. That creates ample
opportunities for terrorists to enter and establish their operations
I sit as chair of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on
Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information. Last October, the
subcommittee held a hearing to explore the need for new technologies to
assist our Government agencies in keeping terrorists out of the United
States. The testimony at that hearing was very illuminating. We were
given a picture of an immigration system in chaos and a border control
system rife with vulnerabilities. Agency officials don't communicate
with each other, computers are incompatible, and even in instances
where technological leaps have been made, as in the issuance of 4.5
million smart border crossing cards with biometric data, the technology
is not even used because the laser readers have never been purchased
It is astonishing that a person can apply for a visa and be granted a
visa by the State Department and there is no mechanism by which the FBI
or the CIA can raise a red flag with regard to the individual if he or
she is known to have links to a terrorist group or otherwise pose a
threat to national security.
In the aftermath of September 11, it is unconscionable that a
terrorist might be permitted to enter the United States simply because
our Government agencies don't share information. We heard testimony
from the head person of the State Department in the consular division.
She testified that they feel terrible because they granted these visas.
They granted them from abroad. But they had no information on the
individuals, no reason at the time to deny the visas.
We have discovered since then the perpetrators of these attacks
clearly had a certain confidence that our immigration laws could be
circumvented either because the law itself was not adequate to protect
us or the enforcement of existing law is too lax. It almost seemed
effortless the way the terrorists got into this country. They did not
have to slip into the country as stowaways on sea vessels or sneak
through the borders evading Federal authorities. Most, if not all,
appeared to have come in with temporary visas, which are routinely
granted to tourists, to students, and to other short-term visitors to
This brings me to why the provisions we have cosponsored are so
important and should be enacted without further delay. Right now, our
Government agencies use different systems with different information
and different formats. They often refuse to share that information with
other agencies within our Government. This clearly, in view of
September 11, is no longer acceptable. When a tourist presents himself
or herself at a consular office asking for a visa or at a border
crossing with a passport, we need to make sure his or her name and
identifying information are checked against an accurate, up to date and
Under the pending legislation, the administration would be required
to develop and implement an interoperable law enforcement and
intelligence data system which would provide the INS and the State
Department immediate access to relevant law enforcement and
intelligence information. The database would be accessible to foreign
service officers issuing visas, to Federal agents determining the
admissibility of aliens to the United States, and law enforcement
officers investigating and identifying aliens.
In addition, the interoperable data system would include
sophisticated, linguistically based, name-matching algorithms so that
the computers can recognize that, for example, Muhamad Usam Abdel
Raqeeb and Haj Mohd Othman Abdul Rejeeb are transliterations of the
same name. In other words, this provision would require agencies to
ensure that names can be matched even when they are stored in different
sets of fields in different databases.
Incidentally, this legislation also contains strict privacy
provisions limiting access to this database to authorized Federal
officials only. The bill contains severe penalties for wrongful access
or misuse of information contained in the databases.
I wish to address one other problem. Some people say if you give the
date that is in the legislation, it is too soon, they cannot approve
it. I don't believe that. We have been after them for years to do
things like this, and I believe, after talking with several people from
the private sector, that the private sector can come in and provide the
software very quickly for the kinds of databases we are discussing.
They have assured me this is possible. I think one of the problems we
have is we don't employ the experts in the private sector we have--the
technologically hypersensitive people who know the most modern
technology and how to apply software, how to get the system up and
running, how to get the data entered, and then stay with the system.
I remember when I was mayor of San Francisco when we did the first
latent fingerprint database in the United States. NEC did it for us.
NEC sent their people to San Francisco to install the system and to
establish the software. They remained for 5 years to see that the
programming was done adequately. This was done on a request for
proposal of bid from the private sector.
I believe very strongly, if we are going to ever get this section of
the bill properly instituted, that not only does the private sector
have to come in, but they have to stay for substantial periods of
time--at least 5 years--to supervise the data entry as that data is put
in, as the databases are checked, as
they are revised. I think that is critical to a system.
I mentioned briefly the Visa Waiver Program. With 123 million people
and 29 different countries, we would require tamper-resistant, machine-
readable biometric passports. Each country participating in the visa
waiver program would issue tamper-resistant, machine-readable biometric
passports to its nationals by 2003. This must happen. No excuse should
be tolerated. If they cannot meet it, they should be dropped out of the
Prior to admitting a foreign visitor from a visa waiver country, the
INS inspector must first determine that the individual does not appear
in any lookout database. As a condition of a country's continued
participation in the visa waiver program, the Attorney General and the
Secretary of State must consider whether that country keeps the United
States apprised of the theft of blank passports. One-hundred thousand
of them have been stolen. Again, why? Fraud.
This is important because terrorist organizations have made use of
stolen or counterfeit passports from countries participating in the
visa waiver program. The INS would be required to enter stolen or lost
passport numbers into the interpretable visa data system within 72
hours of notification of loss or theft. Until that system is
established, the INS must enter that information into an existing data
system. So when they come through on the visa waiver program with a
stolen passport, that number is hot. That number pops up. Whoever is
waving them through knows it.
We know the September attacks were connected with al-Qaeda, which has
links in some 60 to 70 countries around the world. It has, in fact,
established bases in visa waiver countries such as Albania, Belgium,
Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Al-Qaeda cells exist in these countries. Stolen passports become
available. They come in, and no one knows what happened after that
time. Clearly, we cannot allow this program to become a passageway for
terrorists into our country.
We also have new requirements for passenger manifests. All commercial
flights and vessels coming to the United States from international
ports must provide manifest information about each passenger, crew
member, and other occupants prior to the arrival of that flight or that
vessel. That is critical to closing some of these loopholes. The
manifest has to get to the INS prior to the arrival of the ship or the
I have checked with airlines as to whether this can be done and
whether it is practical. The answer is yes.
In addition, each vessel or aircraft departing from the United States
for any destination outside of the United States must provide manifest
information before departure. By 2003, the manifest must be transmitted
The Attorney General would be authorized to extend manifest
requirements to any public or private carrier transporting persons to
or from the United States.
The Attorney General may impose a fine on carriers that fail to
provide manifest information or those who provide inaccurate,
incomplete, or false information.
This section of the bill also eliminates the 45-minute deadline to
clear arriving passengers which now exist in law.
This legislation also includes other concrete steps to restore
integrity to the immigration and visa process, including the following
new travel document requirements.
The bill would require all visa, passports, and other travel
documents to be fraud and tamper resistant and contain biometric data
by October 26, 2003.
The legislation would also require all foreign nationals to be
fingerprinted, and when appropriate submit other biometric data to the
State Department when applying for a visa.
That is reasonable. It has to be done. This provision should help to
eliminate fraud as well as identify potential threats to the country
before they gain access.
There is a provision on nonimmigrants from certain countries. The
bill would prohibit the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to nationals
from countries designated as state-sponsored international terrorism,
unless the Secretary of State, after consulting with the Attorney
General and the heads of other appropriate agencies, determines that
the individual poses no safety or security threat to the United States.
Student visa reforms: We worked closely with the university community
in crafting new strict requirements for the student visa program to
crack down on fraud--to make sure that students really are attending
classes, and to give the Government the ability to track any foreign
national who arrives on a student visa but fails to enroll in school.
Prior to 9-11, I think it is fair to say that the American academic
community didn't really want to have this responsibility. After 9-11,
to some extent, they still didn't.
That is when I came forward with perhaps a moratorium on the student
visa program. Then they came in and agreed to assume additional
I am very grateful to the university associations for their
leadership in this matter. I know it is additional work for schools.
But I also think if the schools receive the tuition, and if the schools
receive the individuals, there has to be a private sector sharing of
this responsibility as well. That is just, and that it is appropriate.
I believe the university community now agrees with this.
I am very grateful to them for their cooperation. The legislation
also reforms the student visa process by doing the following: It would
require the Attorney General to notify schools of the student's date of
entry and require the schools to notify--this is important--the INS if
a student has not reported to school within 30 days of the beginning of
an academic term.
The monitoring program does not preselect such information as the
student's date of entry, the port of entry, the date of school
enrollment, the date the student leaves the school, graduates, or quits
the degree program or field of study. That, and other significant
information, will now be collected.
I think it is important. I do not believe the people of my State or
the people of America want us to give advanced nuclear training to
those who would conduct a nuclear program and use that program against
us. We know we have trained the head of the Iraqi nuclear program. We
know we have given a higher education to the head of the Islamic Jihad.
I do not think our people want us to do that. I, as one Member of this
Senate, really rebel against that kind of thing. I don't want to train
people who will create enormous danger to all of our citizens.
I think we can't entirely avoid it, but we can have those systems in
place that guard against it. We at present do not.
We would also require the INS, in consultation with the State
Department, to monitor the various steps involved in admitting foreign
students and to notify the school of the student's entry. This does not
It would also require the school to notify INS if a student has not
reported for school no more than 30 days after the deadline for
registering for classes. So if you are supposed to register and you do
not register for 30 days, right now the INS doesn't know that. You can
be long gone. They do not know it. This would be the school's
responsibility. The schools are prepared to accept that responsibility.
We would also mandate the INS to conduct a periodic review of
educational institutions to monitor their compliance with recordkeeping
and reporting requirements. If an institution or program fails to
comply, their authorization to accept foreign students may be revoked.
While the INS currently reviews educational institutions, reviews have
not been done consistently in recent years, and some schools are not
diligent in their recordkeeping and reporting responsibilities.
As to more border personnel, this section authorizes an increase of
at least 1,000 INS inspectors. If you were there--and I believe you
were, Madam President, this morning at our hearing--you heard the
immigration specialist say how very important the INS
inspector is; how overburdened--and underpaid, I would add--they are.
This bill would change both of those. It would add 1,000 INS
investigative personnel, 1,000 Customs Service inspectors, and
additional associated support staff in each of fiscal years 2002
through 2006, to be employed at either the northern or southern border.
As to better INS pay and staffing, to help INS retain Border Patrol
officers and inspectors, this section would raise their pay grade and
permit the hiring of additional support staff.
As to enhanced Border Patrol and Customs training to enhance our
ability to identify and intercept would-be terrorists at the border,
funds are provided for the regular training of Border Patrol, Customs
agents, and INS inspectors. In addition, funds are provided to agencies
staffing U.S. ports of entry for continuing cross-training, to fully
train inspectors in using lookout databases and monitoring passenger
traffic patterns, and to expand the carrier consultant program.
As to better State Department information and training, this section
authorizes funding to improve the security features of the Department
of State screening of visa applicants. Improved security features
include better coordination of international intelligence information,
additional staff, and continuous ongoing training of consular officers.
The bill contains a number of other related provisions as well, but
the gist of this legislation is this: Where we can provide law
enforcement more information about potentially dangerous foreign
nationals, we do so. Where we can reform our border crossing system to
weed out and deter terrorists and others who would do us harm, we do
so. And where we can update technology to meet the demands of modern
war against terror, we do that as well.
As we prepare to modify our immigration system, we must be sure to
enact changes that are realistic and feasible. We must also provide the
necessary tools to implement them, and the money to pay for it all. I
think Senator Byrd was eloquent this morning in expressing that.
We have a lot to do, but I am confident that we will move swiftly to
address these important issues. The legislation Senators Kennedy,
Brownback, Kyl, and I crafted is an important and strong first step,
but this is only the beginning of a long and difficult process because
our entire intent, our body language, our laws, our philosophy, has
been to have a very liberal, open border. Now we cannot afford to do
Madam President, I would like to respond to any concern anyone might
have that this bill is anti-immigrant. We are a nation of immigrants.
The United States takes more immigrants legally each year than all of
the other industrialized nations on Earth put together. So we are a
nation of immigrants. We recognize it; we respect it. It is what the
Statue of Liberty stands for. And we have followed it.
The overwhelming percentage of people who come to live in this
country do so to enjoy the blessings of liberty, equality, and
opportunity. The overwhelming percentage of the people who visit this
country mean us no harm, but there are several thousand innocent
people, including foreign nationals, who were killed on September 11--
in part because a network of fanatics determined to wreak death,
destruction, and terror. They exploited the weaknesses of our
immigration system to come here, to stay here, to study here, and to
We learned at Oklahoma City that not all terrorists are foreign
nationals. But the world is a dangerous place and the world is peopled
with regimes that would destroy us if they had a chance.
We are all casualties of September 11. Our society has necessarily
changed as our perception of the threats we face has changed. The
blinders have fallen from our eyes. Clearly, we need to address the
vulnerabilities in our immigration system that September 11 painfully
O, that we had done it after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade
When one of the bombers was being moved after 9-11, he said to the
FBI agent moving him: If I only had the money and explosives, I could
have done what was done on September 11, in 1993.
The changes we need to make in our system will inconvenience people.
Let there be no doubt. Once implemented, however, those changes will
make it easier for law-abiding foreign visitors either to visit or to
study here, and for law-abiding immigrants who want to live here to do
so. More importantly, once they are here, their safety--and our
safety--will be greatly enhanced.
We must do everything we can to deter the terrorists, here and
abroad, who would do us harm. From the Pentagon to downtown Manhattan,
we have learned just how high the stakes are. It would dishonor the
innocent victims of September 11 and the brave men and women in our
Armed Forces who are defending our liberty at this very instant if we
failed in this effort.
So it is extraordinarily important that we enact the Enhanced Border
Security and Visa Entry Reform Act. I urge the bipartisan leadership of
the Senate to join with us in gaining final passage of this important
Thank you, Madam President. I yield the floor and suggest the absence
of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I would also like the Record to
reflect the following:
In fiscal year 1999, the Department of State identified 291 potential
nonimmigrants as inadmissible for security or terrorist concerns. Of
that number, 101 aliens seeking nonimmigrant visas were specifically
identified for terrorist activities, but 35 of them were able to
overcome the ineligibility.
Including the 19 September 11 hijackers, 47 foreign-born individuals
have been charged, pled guilty, or been convicted of involvement in
terrorism on U.S. soil in the last 10 years. Of the 47 terrorists, at
least 13 had overstayed a temporary visa at some point prior to taking
part in terrorist activity, including September 11 ring leader Mohamed
Atta. Therefore, tracking visa overstays is a very important part of
what we are trying to do.
One other fact: Some reports indicate that Khalid Al Midhar, who
probably flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon, was
identified as a terrorist by the CIA in January 2001, but his name was
not given to the watch list until August 2001. Unfortunately, he had
already reentered the United States in July 2001.
I should point out that there is some debate about exactly when the
CIA identified him as a terrorist. But if it really did take the CIA
several months to put his name on the list, as PBS's ``Frontline'' has
reported, then that is a serious problem because we might have stopped
him from entering the country had they shared this information sooner.
This, of course, speaks to the issue of sharing information between
Let me just add some information on absconders and detainees.
In December 2001, INS estimated that 314,000 foreigners who have been
ordered deported are at large. More recent estimates, released in March
2002, suggest there may be at least 425,000 such absconders. At least
6,000 were identified as coming from countries considered al-Qaeda
In a report released in February 2002, the U.S. General Accounting
Office said that antifraud efforts at the INS are ``fragmented and
unfocused'' and that enforcement of immigration law remains a low
priority--that enforcement of immigration law remains a low priority.
The report found that the agency had only 40 jobs for detecting fraud
in 4 million applications for immigrant benefits in the year 2000. I
think that is a clear indication that the additional personnel provided
for in this bill are truly necessary.
Since there is no one else on the floor at the present time, I would
like to also put in the Record some border agency statistics.
There are 1,800 inspectors at ports of entry along the U.S. borders.
The Customs Service has 3,000 inspectors to check the 1.4 million
people and 360,000 vehicles that cross the border daily--1.4 million
people and 360,000 vehicles daily.
The 2,000-mile-long Mexican border has 33 ports of entry and 9,106
Border Patrol agents to guard them.
In October 2001, there were 334 Border Patrol agents assigned to the
nearly 4,000-mile-long northern border between the United States and
Canada. This number of agents clearly cannot cover all shifts 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week, leaving some sections of the border open without
The Office of the Inspector General found that one northern border
sector had identified 65 smuggling corridors along the 300 miles of
border within its area of responsibility.
INS intelligence officers have admitted that criminals along the
northern border monitor the Border Patrol's radio communications and
observe their actions. This enables them to know the times when the
fewest agents are on duty and to plan illegal actions accordingly.
The primary tool available to INS inspectors during the inspections
process is the Interagency Border Inspection System, known as IBIS,
which allows INS inspectors to search a variety of databases containing
records and lookouts of individuals of particular concern to the United
A 1999 Office of the Inspector General report found, however, that
INS inspectors at U.S. ports of entry were not consistently checking
passport numbers with IBIS. INS officers also failed to enter lost or
stolen passports from visa waiver countries into IBIS in a timely,
accurate, or consistent manner. One senior INS official from Miami
International Airport told the OIG that he was not even aware of any
INS policy that required the entry of stolen passport numbers.
I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum, Madam President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I know Senators Brownback, Kyl, and
Dorgan will come to the Chamber shortly to speak. In the interim before
they appear, I wanted to just make a couple of budget points, at least
as I understand them.
The committee, I believe the Appropriations Committee as well, has
the INS-anticipated budget numbers--Senator Kennedy referred to them--
that the total cost to implement the bill, according to the INS, is
$3,132,307,000. The amount of the first year's cost is $1.187 billion.
There is $743 million additional in the President's budget, which
leaves a net deficit of $187,959,000.
Of the $40 billion we appropriated after the 9-11 attacks, $20
billion to New York City and $20 billion for discretionary funding, it
is my understanding the administration has allocated all but $327
million of that $10 billion. I don't know whether that money is
available to be put into this program. We certainly will look and
I agree with those in the Senate who believe homeland defense is
extraordinarily important; that this asymmetrical warfare we are
engaged in is going to last a substantial period of time, perhaps a
decade or more; and that when we took this oath of office, we ought not
only uphold the Constitution but also protect and defend our people.
Therefore, if we are really to carry this out, this becomes a very high
I am hopeful the money will be appropriated. I believe it will. There
is now a commitment on both sides of the aisle to do so. It is going to
take much more money than we even recognize at the present time, but I
believe the American people want us to do that. Therefore, we certainly
I don't see any of the other Senators in the Chamber at this time. I
ask unanimous consent to print in the Record a letter by Bruce Josten
on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supporting the bill.
There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the
Record, as follows:
March 1, 2002.
Hon. Tom Daschle,
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate,
Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Daschle: On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, I would like to urge you to bring to the floor as
soon as possible the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry
Reform Act of 2001 (H.R. 3525/S. 1749). As you know, the
Chamber and its members have been long concerned about the
security and efficiency of our borders for commerce and
travel. We believe this legislation goes a long way toward
achieving those goals and is particularly necessary following
the tragic events of September 11. The legislation has broad
bipartisan support, and already passed the U.S. House of
Representatives by voice vote on December 19, 2001.
This legislation takes a careful and reasoned approach to
the issue of border security, and we strongly support the
provisions to increase resources for technology and personnel
for our Immigration and Customs Services, enhance data
sharing capabilities expand pre-clearance and pre-inspection
programs, and direct Federal agencies to work with our NAFTA
partners to ensure our joint security while enhancing the
flow of legitimate commerce and travel across shared borders.
These changes are long overdue.
While we understand that Congress must provide adequate
funding if the ambitious deadlines set forth in the
legislation are to be met, further delay in this legislation
will only postpone the needed reforms that can provide both
security and efficiency to our inspections processes. Such
changes will allow business to look to the future of cross-
border travel and trade with some sense of stability.
We look forward to working with you to secure passage of
this legislation, and working with the Congress and the
Administration on its implementation.
R. Bruce Josten.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record
letters from a number of other organizations: the American Council on
International Personnel; the Alliance for International Education and
Cultural Exchange; Americans for Better Borders; and the host of
agencies that are reflected by the Family of September 11th Victims;
and by the Association of International Educators; and the University
of California as well.
There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
NAFSA: Association of
Washington, DC, April 11, 2002.
Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
Chair, Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government
Information, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Feinstein: I write on behalf of the Nation's
largest association of international education
professionals--with more than 8,000 members nationwide,
including 992 in California--to express our strong support
for S. 1749, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry
We have a particular interest in those parts of the bill
that pertain to international students and scholars. We have
worked closely with your offices to ensure that the bill
includes any necessary provisions with respect to visa
screening and student tracking, while at the same time
maintaining the openness to international students and
scholars that is itself important to our Nation's security.
In our judgment, the bill strikes that crucial balance, and
we congratulate you for your work.
We look forward to early enactment of this legislation, and
we pledge our ongoing cooperation to ensure its successful
Marlene M. Johnson,
Executive Director and CEO.
Americans for Better Borders,
Washington, DC, March 8, 2002.
To Members of the U.S. Senate:
We urge you to help bring S. 1749 to the floor, the
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002
sponsored by Senators Kennedy, Brownback, Feinstein, and Kyl.
In December, the House passed H.R. 3525, the companion
measure, by voice vote. The Senate should quickly follow
Almost six months have passed since the September 11
terrorist attacks. Since that time we, like the rest of the
nation, have focused on how to enhance our Nation's security
through constructive changes to our immigration policies.
This legislation takes a significant step in ensuring that
our Nation's immigration policies are in line with our common
goal of effectively deterring terrorism. It includes many
long-overdue reforms that will deter terrorism by developing
layers of protection both outside and within the U.S., and
help our country increase its intelligence capacity. It
provides authorization for increased funding to support
additional personnel and technology at our border agencies,
mandates better cooperation among border agencies, and
encourages further cooperation on a North American Security
Perimeter with Canada and Mexico. The bill requires new and
advance information sharing between the privates sector and
government agencies, and enhances the use of biometrics in
our visas and passports.
While we support all of these efforts, we are aware that
this bill also poses significant challenges to the agencies
and Congress to implement new technologies and processes in
very short deadlines. Congress must allocate
adequate, ongoing resources to ensure that these deadlines
are met and new systems are property maintained and updated
into the future. Reliance on user fees will not be adequate
for this national security priority. Furthermore, if it
proves impossible to meet the deadlines in this legislation,
Congress must be willing to revisit them to ensure that the
legitimate cross-border flow of people, commerce and goods
can continue, or our economic security may be jeopardized.
Given the importance of this measure, we urge its swift
passage in the Senate and signature by the President. For our
part, we in the private sector pledge to work closely with
Congress and the agencies to ensure swift and effective
implementation of these needed reforms.
American Council on International Personnel.
American Hotel & Lodging Association.
American Immigration Lawyers Association.
American Trucking Associations.
Bellingham (WA) City Council.
Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Bellingham Whatcom Economic Development Council.
Border Trade Alliance.
Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance.
Detroit Regional Chamber.
Eastman Kodak Company.
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.
Greater Houston Partnership.
International Mass Retail Association.
International Trade Alliance of Spokane, WA.
National Alliance of Gateway Communities.
National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of
National Retail Federation.
National Tour Association.
Pacific Corridor Enterprise Council (PACE).
Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce.
Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition.
Southeast Tourism Society.
The National Industrial Transportation League.
Travel Industry Association of America.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Western States Tourism Policy Council.
Alliance for International Education and Cultural
Washington, DC, April 11, 2002.
Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
Chair, Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government
Information, Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Feinstein: I write on behalf of the Alliance
for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, an
association of 65 American nongovernmental organizations that
conduct exchange programs of all types. We wish to
congratulate you and express our strong support for S. 1749,
the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act.
We have worked with your staffs as the legislation has
developed, and have had opportunities for input to help
ensure that the bill strikes the right balance between our
strong national interests in increased security and in
continued openness to exchange visitors, students, and
scholars from around the world. We believe you have succeeded
in accomplishing that important goal.
We look forward to the passage of this legislation, and to
continuing to work with you to ensure that the United States
remains fully, and safely, engaged with the world.
March 8, 2002.
Dear Senator: We write to urge you to cosponsor and help
enact S. 1749/H.R. 3525, the Enhanced Border Security and
Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001, and to commend Senators
Feinstein, Kyl, Brownback and Kennedy for their leadership in
developing this important measure. We support their
This legislation includes constructive changes to our
immigration policies that can help strengthen our nation's
security. These changes fill current gaps in our immigration
system and will increase our nation's intelligence capacity
as well as develop layers of protection both outside and
within the U.S. Among other provisions, this bill:
Provides consular and border personnel with the training,
facilities and data needed to prevent the entry of people who
intend to do this country harm.
Calls for vital improvements in technology to provide more
Authorizes increased funding for the Department of State
and the Immigration and Naturalization Service so that they,
along with other federal agencies, can coordinate and share
information needed to identify and intercept terrorists.
Calls for a study to determine the feasibility of an North
American Perimeter Safety Zone. This study includes a review
of the feasibility of expanding and developing pre-clearance
and pre-inspections programs with protections for persons
Includes provisions for a workable entry-exit control
Provides for a one-year extension of the deadline for
individuals crossing the border to acquire biometric border
S. 1749/H.R. 3525 is a bipartisan effort that merits your
cosponsorship and swift passage. The House passed this
measure in December. We urge the Senate to immediately take
up and pass this measure as well.
American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Church World Service.
Episcopal Migration Ministries.
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Immigration and Refugee Services of America.
Institute of International Law and Economic Development.
Leadership Conference for Civil Rights.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed
National Council of La Raza.
National Immigration Forum.
American Council on
International Personnel, Inc.,
New York/Washington, DC, December 11, 2001.
Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
Dear Senator Feinstein: The American Council on
International Personnel (ACIP) would like to thank you for
your leadership in enhancing our Nation's security. ACIP
believes the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform
Act of 2001 (S. 1749) takes appropriate measures to better
screen and track foreign visitors without imposing
unreasonable burdens on the mobility of international
personnel so vital to our Nation's economy.
ACIP is not-for-profit organization of 300 corporate and
institutional members with an interest in the global mobility
of personnel. Each of our members employs at least 500
employees worldwide; and in total our members employ millions
of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in all industries
throughout the United States. ACIP sponsors seminars and
producers publications aimed at educating human resource
professionals on compliance with immigration laws, and works
with Congress and the Executive Branch to facilitate the
movement of international personnel.
ACIP has long supported the enhanced use of electronic
communications and information technology to process
immigration petitions and visas, assess risks, identify
fraud, and speed legitimate foreign visitors across the
borders. ACIP members are heavy users of the INSPASS and Visa
Waiver programs. We believe that in the long run, machine-
readable documents and biometric technology will make these
programs even more successful. We fully support the expansion
of preclearance, the integration of agency databases and the
electronic transmission of visa files and passenger manifests
and hope this will eventually be used to facilitate
legitimate travelers as well as to apprehend those who pose a
threat. Efforts to standardize our laws with neighboring
countries is also a welcome step that should facilitate
commerce. In addition, ACIP is authorized to maintain an
Umbrella J Visa program for international trainees employed
by our member companies. While it is unclear whether the
Foreign Student Monitoring Program will eventually be
extended to programs such as ours, ACIP would be pleased to
participate in any pilot programs.
We appreciate that S. 1749 provides authorizations to
implement and maintain these important programs. We look
forward to your leadership in ensuring that adequate funds
are appropriated to enable the agencies to carry out these
missions within the ambitious timeframes. ACIP looks forward
to assisting you in this important work.
Lynn Frendt Shotwell,
Legal Counsel and Director
of Government Relations.
University of California
Oakland, CA, December 3, 2001.
Hon. Dianne Feinstein,
U.S. Senate, Hart Senate Office Building,
Dear Senator Feinstein: On behalf of the University of
California, I am pleased to express our support for the
provisions regarding student visas in The Enhanced Border
Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001. This legislation
reflects a well-crafted balance between the nation's need to
enhance security with the benefits of international
The University of California has more than 9,000
undergraduate and graduate foreign students and approximately
23,000 foreign students in our Extension programs. We value
the contributions these students, and all of our students,
are making to education and research. Like you, we recognize
the tremendous benefits that UC students provide to
California and to our nation. International education is one
of our nation's best tools for sharing democratic ideas
around the world; we believe the instruction and research
opportunities UC provides are helping to better shape our
nation and democracy abroard.
The legislation you have introduced with Senator Kyl,
Senator Kennedy, and Senator Brownback will strengthen and
accelerate implementation of the foreign student tracking
system (SEVIS), and will provide interim measures until that
system is operational. On October 12, I wrote President Bush
asking him to support your request of $36.8 million
for SEVIS. It is my hope that Congress and the administration
recognize the need to fund fully this tracking system. You
may be interested to know that our campuses are already
working with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
to ensure the effective deployment of this system.
My colleagues and I appreciate your effort to work with us
in developing language that is agreeable to the University
and addresses your concerns about strengthening the student
visa system. As we have stated, the University of California
is ready to work with the INS and other relevant agencies in
implementing this legislation. Furthermore, we hope that
cooperative discussions will continue regarding the
collection of the fee associated with the tracking system.
Thank you for your leadership on national security issues
and your interest in working with the University of
Ricahrd C. Atkinson,
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I note the distinguished Senator from Arizona has
come to the Chamber. He is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on
Technology and Terrorism and has been the driving force behind this
legislation. I thank him for all his help. It has been a long road, but
we are almost there, we hope. I know he wants to make some remarks at
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
Mr. KYL. Madam President, Senator Feinstein, and I have been working
on issues relating to terrorism from the time I first came to the
Senate. We have been either chairman or ranking member, respectively,
of the committee ever since that time. I can think of few issues that
have galvanized our attention and effort--I can't think of any that
have accomplished that--as much as this legislation.
Of course, the reason is it is in response to what we found in the
aftermath of September 11--specifically, how the 19 terrorists who came
into the country and performed their evil deeds actually got here. What
we found, through testimony before the committee, was that they had all
gotten here legally with visas. When we talked to the people who
granted those visas and worked in the system, many of them expressed
great sorrow and disappointment that they had granted the visas. But
one in particular testified that, of course, she had no choice because
she had no information that would have told her she should deny the
That one little story is a metaphor for what is in this legislation.
If we had provided information to the people who grant visas, that
would have raised a red flag, at least with respect to some of these
terrorists, that would have caused the consular offices to say, wait a
minute, maybe we should not grant this visa.
I remember the testimony of one official saying, it is like the
driver of the car who is going through the school zone at 15 miles per
hour and a child runs out from between parked cars. You hit the child
and injure that child. You feel horrible about it, but you say: There
is nothing I could do about it; I was driving 15 miles an hour through
the school zone, doing what I was supposed to do, and the child ran out
in front of me. I could sense the degree of angst when she testified
saying: Yes, we granted this visa to Mohamed Atta, but we didn't know.
They could not know because we didn't have the system in place to tell
them that some of these people should have been denied visas.
We also had people coming in on student visas and then they stopped
going to class. This legislation that Senator Feinstein has talked
about closes loopholes in the existing law that permit people who mean
to do us harm to come into this country and stay here without being
detected. There is no question that, even if we passed this
legislation, it would still be possible for a terrorist to sneak into
this country and do something wrong. But if we pass this law and get it
effective immediately, we can reduce substantially the probability that
terrorists, such as those who came here prior to September 11, will
ever be able to do that again.
That is the essence of the bill. I am not going to take the time this
afternoon to go through the bill piece by piece. I will just mention a
couple of features of it in very general terms to make my point.
Due to Senator Feinstein's work, we found that prior to September 11,
schools in the United States actively recruited foreign students
because they paid a pretty high tuition to come to the schools, and the
schools need money. We know that all of our schools, from the
prestigious universities down to trade schools, can use extra money. So
they advertise for foreign students, who come here by the hundreds of
thousands. We welcome them with open arms. But Senator Feinstein at one
point said: Do you think we should be a little more careful about who
actually gets visas? The school said: Oh, no, we need the money. That
may not be exactly what they said, but that was the reason for being
skeptical of any limitations that might be placed on their recruitment
of these students.
So what Senator Feinstein said--and I joined her in this effort--was
let's craft a series of procedures that accompany the application for
the student visa, the accounting for that visa to the INS and Customs
and the State Department, and the confirmation back to the school that
the individual should be arriving because the student visa has been
granted, and a confirmation back to the U.S. Government that the
student is in fact enrolled in school, and so on--a series of
procedures that make it much more likely that the students these
schools recruit actually will come to the school, attend classes, and
won't be involved in terrorism.
The multiple forms they used to have that INS used--the so-called I-
20 form--will no longer be filled out by lots of different schools that
each accept the student for attendance. All of those forms, in the
past, have been either sold or shopped around in one way or another for
people to come into the United States ostensibly with a proper I-20
form from a school by which they have been accepted. But, of course, it
was a fraud because the student only went to 1 of the 10 schools by
which he was accepted. He shopped around the other forms to friends who
used them to come into the United States.
That is one of the many ways we have tightened up the law. We found
that people were coming into the country from nations that are on our
terrorist list, such as Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism. Even after
September 11, it was into the teens--I think something like 19 students
wanted to come and learn how to fly big airplanes in the United States
from a country that is a state sponsor of terrorism, so designated by
the State Department. Our legislation makes it much more difficult for
that to happen. In fact, it puts the burden on the students to prove
they are not going to be engaged in terrorism. They can still come, but
they have a burden of proof there.
One of the most important things we do is coordinate information that
we gather on people abroad who want to come here, whether it is the
CIA, FBI, INS, State Department, or even international agencies such as
Interpol, or anyone else who may have information that would cast doubt
on whether an individual should be granted a visa.
All of that information will be available. It will not be put
together in one database, but it is going to be accessible to the
people who make the decision whether to grant a visa. The consular
officer will be able to scroll down the list, and when he finds the
name of the person involved, he will see whether or not there is a red
flag there. It may say don't grant a visa because he is wanted for a
felony. That is fairly easy. It may say there is information pertaining
to this individual that can only be shared with a very limited number
of people, but it has a bearing on potential terrorism, and therefore
you need to back this up to your supervisor who can have access to the
classified information. One way or the other, though, any information
that should be available to the people who make the decisions will be
made available. That is probably the central feature of this
legislation. It is going to cost money.
Senator Byrd spoke before the Immigration Subcommittee this morning,
and he said: I sure hope that if we pass this bill, you will all
support the appropriations necessary to fund it. We all made the
commitment that we indeed would do that--that, clearly, we are going to
have to have the support of the INS and the appropriators in Congress
and the rest of us to ensure that once we authorize this closing of
loopholes, the programs we put into place to do that will be funded
properly and will be administered by the INS.
Senator Byrd raised the question about whether or not we should
reform INS first. I don't think there is one of us here who doesn't
think they need to reform INS. But, clearly, we cannot wait. We cannot
allow terrorists to come into this country while we are trying to
figure out how to reform INS. We have to ask the people at INS who work
hard and try hard to begin to put into place the protections that are
embodied in this legislation.
While we are also going about figuring out how to reform the INS, we
cannot afford to not proceed with this bill, which would begin to close
those loopholes. So I hope our colleagues will come to the floor and
One of the questions was: Should we do this by unanimous consent or
should we have debate on the floor? We agreed to have debate. So
anybody who wants that opportunity for debate now has it. I think that
after today, and perhaps Monday, if they have not come to the floor, we
can conclude that in fact there is no more debate necessary on the bill
and we can move to its adoption. I hope we can do that very quickly.
I encourage my colleagues who want to speak to come here and do so.
If they have amendments, fine, we will consider those. We think it is
pretty good without amendments. We are taking up the House-passed bill,
and it would be much easier to be able to pass that bill. If there are
amendments, let's see what they are. I hope we can quickly get this
bill to the President. He said he wants to be able to sign it. I have
personally spoken with Governor Tom Ridge, who is anxious to move
forward as quickly as possible to get this done.
I think we can at least say we have done what we can do. We cannot do
everything to prevent terrorism, but we know we can do some things in
the Senate. I have felt pretty bad for the last several months that we
have not put this into place. I have asked, have I done everything I
can do to get this bill on the floor and get it started on closing the
loopholes. The Senate can do something to fight this war on terrorism,
and that needs to be done now. I will feel a whole lot better when we
have passed this bill and sent it on to the President and he has signed
it into law. I will at least know I have done everything I can do, at
least with respect to these issues, to make sure we are not again
struck by people we should not have allowed into this country.
Tribute to Tom Alexander
Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I wish to take 2 minutes of my colleagues'
time on an extraneous matter, if my colleagues will permit me. We would
not be able to do the work we do--I see Senator Feinstein's staff and
my colleagues can see my staff sitting here. LaVita and Elizabeth are
people who have made it possible for us to get this legislation before
Our staff means a great deal to those of us who work with them
closely. We know to a significant extent the successes we have are due
to their efforts.
Today one of my staff members is leaving my employment to go to the
Department of Labor. It is our loss and Secretary Chao's gain. He has
worked with me since 1994. Most staff members do not stay around that
long. His name is Tom Alexander. There is not a staff member who has
ever been employed by me who has worked harder, has been more
dedicated, more loyal, and has been more effective on the issues that
he has handled than Tom Alexander.
I have told the rest of my staff that if they want an example of who
to emulate, how to act, they should think of Tom. He is the kind of
person who sets the example, I said, with one caveat: Do not stay
around in the evening as long as Tom does. I have told him to go home
at 8 or 9 o'clock at night, and that is staying too long. Other than
working too hard, Tom has been that exemplary employee who, again,
makes us look good.
I will give a couple of notes about him so my colleagues have an idea
of the kind of person he is.
He is a former Missouri tax prosecutor and worked in the Reagan White
House and served in the first Bush administration Labor Department.
He also previously served on the legislative staff of Representative
Jim McCrery. I talked with Representative McCrery before I offered Tom
the job in my office. Jim recommended him highly and, as a result, I
was able to hire him.
He is married to Patricia. They have a son born last year, Shane. Tom
also has a 14-year-old son, of whom I know he is very proud, a
sophomore in high school.
As I said, he has served on my staff since 1994 primarily--that, by
the way, is January 1994--primarily working on health care matters. He
has also served as my legislative director for the last year or so. He
has worked on issues dealing with emergency medical treatment, EMTALA,
Medicare private contracting, Patients' Bill of Rights, IHS off-
reservation reimbursement issues for Native Americans, antitrust,
antigag rule, HMOs, and the teacher tax credit--a variety of issues
that are important to the people of Arizona and have resulted in good
policies for all of the people of the United States.
It is very rare I come to this Chamber to speak about an employee,
but Tom Alexander is special, and I hope by doing so, it will allow
folks who are not necessarily familiar with the staff of Senators to
get just a little bit of an appreciation as to how much these people
mean to us, how important they are in representing all Americans. They
are what allow us to make the policies and do the work we do.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank Tom Alexander for his service on
behalf of the people of Arizona and the United States and service in my
office. Thank you, Tom.
Mr. President, I yield to Senator Feinstein.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.
Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I thank Senator Kyl for those remarks.
One of the great treats of my tenure in the Senate, I guess now 9\1/2\
years, has been to work with him. I do not think we have ever had a
cross word between us. It has been a wonderful working relationship. I
am very grateful for it. When we can work across the aisle the way we
have worked, we can be much more productive. So I thank the Senator
from Arizona for his work. He is a great ranking member. He was a great
chairman of the committee. I have enjoyed it thoroughly. I thank him
for his work on this bill. I also thank his staff.
I wish to comment about my staff also. She is LaVita Strickland
sitting to my right. She is a Judiciary counsel. She is very mild
mannered, but she has been very tenacious in the pursuit of the
consideration of this bill and has become very forceful. LaVita is
enormously talented. I am very proud of her. I thank her for many hours
of hard work. I think we have a good product. Thank you very much,
I see the Senator from Kansas, the ranking member of the Immigration
Subcommittee, has come to the Chamber. I wish to turn this over to him
and also thank him for his cooperation. Senator Kyl and I sat down with
Senators Kennedy and Brownback and had some good discussions and were
able to put this together. Our respective staffs followed up.
I am very grateful to him for his cooperation and leadership as well.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
Mr. KYL. Mr. President, might I acknowledge Senator Feinstein. She
has talked about our cooperation and working together. I share the
pleasure she has had in that relationship. There is nobody I have
worked closer with in the Senate, Republican or Democrat, than Senator
Feinstein. It has not only been a good experience but has produced good
results, such as this legislation.
Since she mentioned LaVita Strickland, I will mention Elizabeth Maier
of my staff. Elizabeth is one of the experts on immigration in the
Senate. Working with Senator Brownback's staff and Senator Kennedy's
staff, those four staff people, working together in a bipartisan
suggest to Senators how we can work together in the future. I
appreciate the work all of them did. I thank the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas, Mr. Brownback, is
Mr. BROWNBACK. I thank the Chair. Mr. President, I thank my
colleagues for putting this bill forward. I particularly thank Senators
Kennedy, Feinstein, and Kyl for their great work and leadership on this
I am delighted that we have this broad bipartisan bill to deal with a
serious security issue in this country. I am hopeful we will pass this
in short order so we can provide better border security for our Nation.
It is a delight to be with them in the Chamber and with my staff, David
Neal, who has worked so hard on getting this legislation to the point
where we can consider it and hopefully pass it.
The House has acted. The President wants it. We can act in short
order and provide greater security at our borders. I thank my
colleagues for their leadership and all they have done on this
Mr. President, this really is a time of trial for our Nation. Those
were horrific acts on September 11 of last fall. We were shocked, and
this Nation went into a situation of prosecuting the war on terrorism
and building up our defenses at home at the same time. This bill is a
key component of building those defenses at home.
Senators Feinstein, Kennedy, Kyl, and myself have worked on the bill.
We have to make sure we are secure at home. We have to make sure the
people who come into the United States seek to not do us harm but to do
We have millions of border crossings each year. The number I have
seen is about 250 million total legal border crossings into the United
States each year of people who are not U.S. citizens.
Out of that, we are looking for a handful that seek to do us harm. We
have to be able to be very smart about this and very targeted about
this in stopping them. We literally are looking for a needle in a
I talked previously about it being a needle in a haystack. This
literally is a needle in a hayfield.
On September 11, we fell victim to evil of such incomprehensible
barbarism we did not see it coming. Confronted with the unthinkable, we
find our Nation now being tested. Do we have the ingenuity to defend
ourselves from this evil? What protections will we take to safeguard
our people and our way of life? Can we thwart terrorism without
compromising the freedoms and values that make us strong?
That is the balance Senator Kennedy, Senator Feinstein, Senator Kyl,
and myself really sought to try to achieve in this legislation, that
balance of protection and safeguarding the freedoms that are America.
I have no doubt we are up to this task. President Bush and the
dedicated men and women of the Armed Forces, of law enforcement, and of
public service diligently fight the good and noble fight. To all of
these people we are very grateful.
I commend the administration for everything it has done and is doing
to safeguard our great Nation. However, September 11 has shaken the
public's confidence in the laws and institutions that guard our
borders. There are nagging concerns about whether our Government is
fully prepared to intercept and prevent terrorists as they seek to
cross our borders. That is why last fall my distinguished colleagues,
Senator Kennedy, Senator Kyl, Senator Feinstein, and I, combined our
efforts to craft legislation that would close the security gaps in our
immigration system and make needed reform to our visa practices.
We assembled the legislation before us, the Enhanced Border Security
and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, to address several critical
weaknesses in our border security. Let me underscore this point: Our
legislation does not make desirable changes to our law and practices;
It makes essential changes. It makes essential changes that we need not
now do; we needed them yesterday.
The importance of doing such now is critical. We should have done it
yesterday, but now is the time we can finally do it. These are not
desirable; they are essential. We do not need them today. We needed
them yesterday. We have to get this done.
The provisions in this legislation are not created out of hurried or
rash deliberation. Far from it. The border security bill was carefully
vetted with our colleagues in the Senate before its introduction last
November, and it was carefully manipulated and worked in bicameral
negotiations before its passage by the House last December. There were
lots of negotiations, discussions, and people from whom we solicited
input on what we should be doing.
This legislation has widespread support in the Senate, including the
majority leader, the minority leader, the chairman and ranking member
of the Judiciary Committee, the chairman and ranking member of the
Immigration Subcommittee, and the chairman and ranking member of the
Technology and Terrorism Subcommittee.
This legislation has ringing endorsements from a wide array of
interests in the public, including family groups, business groups, law
enforcement and academic institutions. We have extensively consulted
experts from both within the executive branch and outside it. In short,
we have utilized the insights of the affected agencies and the affected
public. Even though the legislation may contain some tough provisions,
the people and entities affected by this legislation see the wisdom in
This bill has broad bipartisan support for it carefully balances all
the competing interests in the immigration equation. Our Nation
receives millions of foreign nationals each year, persons who come to
the United States to visit family, to do business, to tour our sites,
to study and to learn. Most of these people enter lawfully. They are
our relatives, our friends, and our business partners. They are good
for our economy and a witness to our democracy and our way of life.
They become our ambassadors of goodwill to their own countries.
We do not want terrorists to shut our doors to the people we want to
visit. At the same time, we must take intelligent measures to keep out
the small fraction of people who mean us harm. This legislation
requires such measures and makes them possible.
The terrorists of September 11 exploited our lack of information and
governmental coordination. The border security bill recognizes that the
war on terrorism is, in large part, a war of information. To be
successful, we must improve our ability to collect, compile, and
utilize information critical to our safety and our national security.
This bill, therefore, requires that the agencies tasked with screening
visa applications and applicants for admission to the United States,
namely the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, be provided with law enforcement and intelligence information
necessary for them to identify terrorists.
By directing better coordination and access, this legislation will
bring together the agencies that have the information and others that
need it, making prompt and effective information sharing between those
agencies a reality.
Of course, to the degree we can realistically do so, we should seek
to intercept terrorists well before they reach our borders. We must,
therefore, consider security measures to be placed not only at domestic
ports of entry but also at foreign ports of departure. To that end,
this legislation directs the State Department and the Service to
examine, expand, and enhance screening procedures to take place outside
the United States, such as preinspection and preclearance. It also
requires international air carriers to transmit passenger manifests for
prearrival review by the Service.
Further, it eliminates the 45-minute statutory limit on airport
inspections which compromises the Service's ability to screen arriving
Finally, this bill requires these agencies to work with Canada and
Mexico to create a collaborative North American security perimeter, and
this is a point that I want to emphasize, as some of my colleagues have
already. We need to extend the perimeters of our borders in this
country to include Canada and Mexico.
I was with the Attorney General last spring, in March of last year,
before September 11, at the El Paso INS detention facility. At that
detention facility were people who had tried to come across our borders
There were people there from 59 different countries, many of whom had
come in through Central America, some places in South America, had
taken land transportation up through Central America, through Mexico,
to our borders. We need to extend that perimeter to include Canada and
Mexico and work closely and cooperatively with them to be able to stop
these people when they are in the process of trying to enter illegally
into the United States.
While this legislation mandates certain technological improvements,
it does not ignore the human element in the security equation. This
bill requires that terrorist lookout committees be instituted at every
consular post and the consular offices be given special training for
identifying would-be terrorists. It also provides special training to
Border Patrol agents, inspectors, and Foreign Service officers to
better identify terrorists and security threats to the United States.
This legislation considers certain classes of aliens that raise
security concerns for our country, nationals from states that sponsor
terrorism and foreign students from those countries. This bill
expressly prohibits the State Department from issuing a nonimmigration
visa to any alien from a country that sponsors terrorism until it has
been determined that the alien does not pose a security threat to the
safety or national security of the United States.
As for students, this legislation fills data and reporting gaps in
our foreign student programs by requiring the Service to electronically
monitor every stage in the student visa process. It also requires the
school to report a foreign student's failure to enroll, and the Service
to monitor a school's compliance with this reporting requirement.
We certainly should be careful not to compromise our values or our
economy in this border security measure. However, we must take
intelligent steps to enhance the security of our borders, and we must
do so now.
This legislation, which was already urgently needed when it was
introduced and put forward last fall, does just what I have articulated
and does so without compromising our values or our economy. I certainly
will urge the swift passage of this critical legislation.
I inform Members we held a hearing this morning on this piece of
legislation. We had an expert from the American Immigration Lawyers
Association, Miss Kathleen Cambell Walker, who went through the various
provisions of the bill and her strong support for it. She noted a
couple of key things I will pass on to Members. She felt it was
critical to put the increased funding for inspectors into the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. It is good what we are doing.
She supports the legislation and thinks it is the right thing to do,
but we need more inspectors to enforce it, not just Border Patrol but
inspectors to make sure the laws are followed.
Senator Byrd appeared before our committee after her and testified
about his desire to adequately fund this task, his desire to do it last
fall, and the need to be able to do that now. Within the President's
budget is $742 million to help fund the enhanced border security
The committee, in our deliberations, from the information we received
from the Department of Justice, said this would take about $3.1 billion
for total implementation, about $1.13 billion this year for the initial
first year implementation, to give Members some idea of the cost we are
talking about. Over half, two-thirds, of the cost for this year's
implementation is already built into the Bush budget. That is an
important step we are taking to get the money needed to help enhance
this legislation and get it passed.
We have to have this information sharing. We have talked about it,
but the key point I make is currently we collect information from a
number of different sources. INS has information, CIA has information,
DIA, the FBI has information. They are mostly in stovepipes. We have to
get the information shared when we are looking for the needle in the
haystack, this bad person who seeks to come into our country and do
harm, among the millions who seek to come to our country and do good.
We need to know this of somebody desiring ill toward the United States
so we will be able to get at them. That information sharing is
We need to have resources in the system to make sure if we put in
biometric cards we have biometric readers at the borders, equipment
that can read that. That funding will be critical to this legislation.
Down the road, we are going to have to consider reorganization of the
INS. Bills are pending in the House to do that. We are working on one
now in the Senate. We should not wait on that reorganization before we
do the border security enhancement. It is important we do this border
security enhancement now. The reorganization of the INS will take some
time. We needed this legislation yesterday, last year. We should not
wait on that to hold up this piece of legislation.
I discussed the preinspection and the passenger manifest list, the
student program. We get a number of foreign students in the United
States. It is important we have them. We have to have better tracking
of the foreign students. It is reported in the committee that two
involved in September 11 were here on student visas. They did not
report to their student sites. We need better monitoring of foreign
students. We can head some of this off in the future if we monitor
We have other provisions but those are the most important. We need to
pass this bill. We should not take more than, I hope, a day or two to
get it debated and consider any amendments, to get this passed and to
the President. The House has acted. It has passed this measure. We need
to act and get it to the President to secure our borders.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah is recognized.
Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the
Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001, of which I
am an original cosponsor. I am relieved that the Senate is finally
considering this bill, which the House has passed not once, but twice,
and has the strong support of President Bush.
With the passage of the USA Patriot Act, Congress resolved some of
the ambiguities in the Immigration and Nationality Act as it related to
the admission and deportation of terrorists. We also provided the
Attorney General the power to detain suspected terrorists before they
could do further harm. The changes to the law were very necessary, but
more must be done.
The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001 closes
additional loopholes in our immigration law, procedure, and practice
that have in the past provided terrorists access to our country. First,
it strengthens our initial line of defense--the borders and our
embassies abroad--by providing additional staff and training. Moreover,
it breaks down some of the barriers that have prevented a comprehensive
data sharing operation between intelligence agencies, law enforcement,
the State Department, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service
and compels the use of biometric technology to enhance our ability to
confirm the identity of those seeking admission into our country.
Second, it restricts the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to nationals
of countries that sponsor terrorism by requiring that our government
first conclude that the admission of that person poses no safety or
national security threat to the United States. And it repeals that
provision of the law compelling a 45-minute clearance time for arriving
aliens at our ports of entry, which has, to date, handcuffed the INS's
ability to properly screen all incoming travelers.
Finally, it solves some of the problems with our foreign student
program. The bill provides for increased data collection from students
so we can know more precisely who they are and where they will reside
while in the United States. Also, under this bill, the State Department
must now confirm that the student has been admitted to a qualified
educational institution before it can issue any student visa, and the
schools themselves will be placed under the affirmative obligation of
reporting, every single term, those who fail to attend. Finally, the
bill requires the INS to periodically review the educational
institutions and other entities authorized to enroll or sponsor foreign
students to determine whether they
are complying with prescribed reporting requirements.
This bill deserves our support. The House of Representatives moved
quickly on its passage last December and, again, last month. They
recognized the need for its provisions. Likewise we should move, and
move quickly, to send this bill to the President for his signature. We
can delay no longer. The principal parties, and I commend them,
Senators Brownback, Kyl, Kennedy, and Feinstein and their staffs
deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the many hours of discussion,
meetings, and negotiations which have led to the end result. This bill
has the support of our government, the State and Justice Departments,
and represents a very common-sense approach to further immigration
reform. Thankfully, many of you agree, as evidenced by the nearly 60
cosponsors to the original bill. I am confident, then, that the Senate
will pass this profoundly significant legislation and I look forward to
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Dayton). Without objection, it is so
Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, we have had a good presentation from our
colleagues on the issue of border security that has had several hours.
I am enormously grateful for the presentation of my friend and
colleague, Senator Feinstein, and also Senator Brownback, Senator Kyl,
and the thoroughness of their presentations. During the course of the
day, since we have been considering this bill, we have been responding
to a number of questions that have been brought up.
For all intents and purposes, I don't know another of our colleagues
wanting to speak. I don't intend to foreclose that possibility, but I
think we were prepared to consider amendments this afternoon. We
understood, as the majority leader indicated, there would not be any
votes, but we were hopeful at least that we would be able to consider
some amendments and set those aside and at least have the opportunity
to review them this afternoon and put them in the Record so our
colleagues could examine them on Monday next. But we will look forward,
when we resume this discussion on Monday, to considering other
amendments. We invite colleagues, if they have them and if they would
be good enough, to share those amendments with myself or the other
principal sponsors. We will do the best we can to respond to them, and
those who are related we may be willing to accept. We will consider
them and indicate to Members if they are acceptable and, if not, why
they are not.
We are thankful to the leaders for their cooperation in arranging for
us to be able to bring this matter before the Senate. I will not repeat
at this time why there is a sense of urgency about it. I think that
case has been well made.
Earlier today, we had a good hearing on this subject matter and we
received additional support for this measure, for which we are very
grateful. So I think it represents our best judgment on a matter that
we consider to be important to the security of our country. I hope we
will be able to dispose of this legislation in the early part of next
Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The
Senator from Alaska.
Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, is there an order for business following
the consideration of the pending legislation?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is not. We are on the border security
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