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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: October 15, 2002 (House)]
[Page H7902-H7908]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr15oc02-52]                         



 
                           SOBER BORDERS ACT

  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass 
the bill (H.R. 2155) to amend title 18, United States Code, to make it 
illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a drug or alcohol in the body 
of the driver at a land border port entry, and for other purposes, as 
amended.
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 2155

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. MAKING IT ILLEGAL TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE WITH 
                   A DRUG OR ALCOHOL IN THE BODY OF THE DRIVER AT 
                   LAND BORDER PORTS OF ENTRY.

       Section 13(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(a)''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(2) Whoever with a drug or alcohol in his or her body 
     operates a motor vehicle at a land border port of entry in a 
     manner that is punishable, because of the presence of the 
     drug or alcohol, if committed within the jurisdiction of the 
     State in which that land border port of entry is located 
     (under the laws of that State in force at the time of the 
     act) shall be guilty of a like offense and subject to a like 
     punishment.
       ``(3) Any individual who operates a motor vehicle at a land 
     border port of entry is deemed to have given consent to 
     submit to a chemical or other test of the blood, breath, or 
     urine of the driver by an officer or employee of the 
     Immigration and Naturalization Service authorized under 
     section 287(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
     U.S.C. 1357(h)) for the purpose of determining the presence 
     or concentration of a drug or alcohol in such blood, breath, 
     or urine.
       ``(4) If an individual refuses to submit to such a test 
     after being advised by the officer or employee that the 
     refusal will result in notification under this paragraph, the 
     Attorney General shall give notice of the refusal to--
       ``(A) the State or foreign state that issued the license 
     permitting the individual to operate a motor vehicle; or
       ``(B) if the individual has no such license, the State or 
     foreign state in which the individual is a resident.
       ``(5) The Attorney General shall give notice of a 
     conviction of an individual under this section for operation 
     of a motor vehicle at a land border port of entry with a drug 
     or alcohol in the body of the individual, to--
       ``(A) the State or foreign state that issued the license 
     permitting the individual to operate a motor vehicle; or
       ``(B) if the individual has no such license, the State or 
     foreign state in which the individual is a resident.

[[Page H7903]]

       ``(6) For purposes of this subsection, the term `land 
     border port of entry' means any land border port of entry (as 
     defined in section 287(h)(3) of the Immigration and 
     Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1357(h)(3))) that was not reserved 
     or acquired as provided in section 7 of this title.''.

     SEC. 2. AUTHORIZING OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE IMMIGRATION 
                   AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE TO CONDUCT TESTS FOR 
                   A DRUG OR ALCOHOL.

       Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
     U.S.C. 1357) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(h)(1) If an officer or employee of the Service 
     authorized under regulations prescribed by the Attorney 
     General is inspecting a driver at a land border port of entry 
     and has reasonable grounds to believe that, because of 
     alcohol in the body of the driver, operation of a motor 
     vehicle by the driver is an offense under section 13 of title 
     18, United States Code, the officer or employee may require 
     the driver to submit to a test of the breath of the driver to 
     determine the presence or concentration of the alcohol.
       ``(2) If an officer or employee of the Service authorized 
     under regulations prescribed by the Attorney General arrests 
     a driver under this section for operation of a motor vehicle 
     in violation of section 13 of title 18, United States Code, 
     because of a drug or alcohol in the body of the driver, the 
     officer or employee may require the driver to submit to a 
     chemical or other test to determine the presence or 
     concentration of the drug or alcohol in the blood, breath, or 
     urine of the driver.
       ``(3) For purposes of this subsection:
       ``(A) The term `driver' means an individual who is 
     operating a motor vehicle at a land border port of entry.
       ``(B) The term `land border port of entry' means any 
     immigration checkpoint operated by the Immigration and 
     Naturalization Service at a land border between a State (as 
     that term is used in section 13 of title 18, United States 
     Code) and a foreign state.''.

     SEC. 3. REQUIRING NOTICE AT LAND BORDER PORTS OF ENTRY 
                   REGARDING OPERATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE AND 
                   DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.

       (a) In General.--The Immigration and Nationality Act is 
     amended by inserting after section 294 (8 U.S.C. 1363a) the 
     following:


 ``notice at land border ports of entry regarding operation of a motor 
                     vehicle and drugs and alcohol

       ``Sec. 295. At each point where motor vehicles regularly 
     enter a land border port of entry (as defined in section 
     287(h)(3)), the Attorney General shall post a notice that 
     operation of a motor vehicle with a drug or alcohol in the 
     body of the driver at a land border port of entry is an 
     offense under Federal law.''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The first section of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act is amended in the table of 
     contents by inserting after the item relating to section 294 
     the following:

``Sec. 295.  Notice at land border ports of entry regarding operation 
              of a motor vehicle and drugs and alcohol.''.

     SEC. 4. IMPOUNDMENT OF VEHICLE FOR REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO TEST 
                   FOR DRUG OR ALCOHOL.

       Not more than 180 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Attorney General shall issue regulations 
     authorizing an officer or employee of the Immigration and 
     Naturalization Service to impound a vehicle operated at a 
     land border port of entry, if--
       (1) the individual who operates the vehicle refuses to 
     submit to a chemical or other test under section 13(a)(3) of 
     title 18, United States Code; and
       (2) the impoundment is not inconsistent with the laws of 
     the State in which the port of entry is located.

     SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       This Act shall take effect 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) and the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. 
Jackson-Lee) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Sensenbrenner).


                             General Leave

  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 2155, the bill 
currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Wisconsin?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2155 helps prevent drunk driving at and around our 
borders. The bill authorizes INS inspectors at the border to take drunk 
or drugged drivers into custody based on their impaired state. 
Currently, border inspectors do not have the authority to do so other 
than as private citizens making arrests. Typically, inspectors now have 
to alert State or local law enforcement that an impaired driver is 
headed their way, wave impaired drivers through the port of entry, and 
hope that State or local law enforcement will pick them up before the 
driver does any harm.
  This bill makes it a Federal crime for a person to operate a motor 
vehicle at a land border patrol entry in an impaired manner because of 
the presence or drugs or alcohol. The bill deems any such driver to 
have given consent to submit to a chemical test by the INS to determine 
the presence or concentration of alcohol or drug in the driver's body. 
The bill authorizes INS inspectors at land border ports of entry to 
perform chemical tests upon drivers if the INS has reasonable grounds 
to believe that a driver is dangerous because of a drug or alcohol in 
the driver's body.
  If the individual refuses to submit to such a test, the bill requires 
the Attorney General to notify the driver's State or foreign state of 
the driver's refusal to submit to the test. The Attorney General is 
also required to notify the driver's government of a conviction of the 
driver for impaired driving. The bill requires the Attorney General to 
issue regulations authorizing INS officers and employees to impound a 
vehicle if the driver refuses to submit to a chemical or other test.
  Finally, the Attorney General is required to post a notice that 
operation of a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in the driver's body 
at a land border port of entry is a Federal offense. This bill will 
help prevent drunk driving and impaired driving tragedies in border 
areas, and I urge a ``yes'' vote on it.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might 
consume.
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise 
and extend her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I believe the intentions of 
this legislation certainly have merit, but I rise in opposition to the 
measure on the floor today, H.R. 2155, the Sober Borders Act.
  This bill authorizes officers and employees of the INS to conduct 
tests for drug or alcohol consumption when they have reasonable grounds 
to believe that a driver is operating a motor vehicle while under the 
influence. Second, to ensure travelers are fully aware of this policy, 
the bill further requires the INS to post notices at each land border 
port of entry, informing motorists that operating a vehicle while under 
the influence is an offense under Federal law.
  The major problem with this proposal is a matter of policy and 
procedure. At the time when their workload is heavy and the lines and 
waits for border traffic are already causing huge burdens to border 
economies, this legislation will impose new duties unrelated to 
terrorism on immigration inspectors at the border. Essentially, H.R. 
2155 is enlisting INS officers to enforce State law. Furthermore, 18 
U.S.C. section 13, the Assimilative Crimes Act, currently incorporates 
State criminal law into Federal law for issues for which there is no 
applicable Federal criminal law in places in Federal jurisdiction such 
as military bases and, no doubt, ports of entry. So a criminal offense 
such as a DUI under State law is already also a Federal criminal 
offense in a Federal area, areas not in State jurisdiction. This law 
would extend that by incorporating noncriminal sanctions, examples, 
suspension of license or failure to agree to a drug test, into Federal 
law. It also seems a questionable use of the admittedly broad authority 
the INS has at the border to conduct searches to expand this to blood, 
breath, or urine testing.
  Finally, during the subcommittee markup and the full committee markup 
of this legislation, after being assured that the majority would work 
with the minority on concerns with the legislation, an amendment was 
offered that would require the General Accounting Office to conduct an 
annual study concerning the exercise of the new authorities by officers 
and employees of the INS. It is well taken by this Congress, Mr. 
Speaker, that the GAO is an independent body. Republicans and Democrats 
alike have been known to ask and use the GAO for studies and to include 
such studies as language in legislation. This is not, if the Members 
will, a killer of the bill. The study would assemble and analyze the 
numbers of times the officers exercise this authority; the race, 
gender, and national origin of the driver involved; and the results of 
the exercise of this new authority.

[[Page H7904]]

  Mr. Speaker, the border is used not only by noncitizens, but it is 
used by American citizens and we have stood on this floor of the House 
just last week to talk but our freedoms and our values and the justice 
and equality that we render. Then why not, why not, make sure that any 
legislative initiative that we pass has the ability to serve all 
Americans fairly, and those who may be unfairly stopped should be 
addressed as well while we also are committed to protecting the lives 
of our frontline officers at the border. A GAO study, simple, precise, 
and efficient, could have made this amendment of this legislation more 
effective.
  The amendment further directed the General Accounting Office to 
submit a report to Congress no later than March 31 of each year. It was 
important to include this amendment because the legislation raises the 
potential for abuse of authority to stop and detain individuals at the 
border. The amendment would have ensured that the new authorities 
granted the officers and employees of the INS to test for the use of 
alcohol and drugs by a driver at the border is carried out in an 
efficient, fair, and equitable manner without targeting any group of 
people specifically pertaining to prevent racial profiling. It could 
have been an instructive tool.
  Mr. Speaker, I have been to the borders of our country; and I have 
seen the very fine workers who are there. They want to do the right 
thing, and they want to do it well and efficiently. This information 
could have given them guidance on how to be effective and, of course, 
successful in doing the job.

                              {time}  1430

  Racial profiling occurs when the police target someone for 
investigation on the basis of that person's race, national origin, or 
ethnicity. Examples of profiling are the use of race to determine which 
drivers are stopped for minor traffic violations, often referred to 
``driving while black and brown,'' and the use of race to determine 
which motorists or pedestrians are searched for contraband.
  Racial profiling is still prevalent in America; and as I indicated, 
the borders are used by immigrants and citizens alike. Why could we not 
consider this as reasonable on behalf of the citizens of this country? 
In large cities across the country, African Americans and Hispanics and 
other people of color still move about with the fear that at any time 
they can be stopped and detained simply because they fit a broad 
profile characterized by little more than the color of a person's skin. 
Today, skin color makes one a suspect in America. It makes one more 
likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, more likely to be 
arrested and imprisoned.
  In a recent General Accounting Office study of March 2000, it found 
that persons of particular races and genders were generally more likely 
than others to be subjected to more intrusive searches. For example, 
black women were nine times more likely to be searched than white 
women. Based on x-ray searches, however, the black women were less than 
half as likely to be caught carrying contraband than white women.
  During the debate on H.R. 3129, the Customs Border Security Act, 
authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2002, detailed the story of 
Yvette Bradley, a 33-year-old advertising executive and her sister who 
arrived at Newark Airport from a vacation in Jamaica, and she is an 
African American woman, and a United States citizen to my knowledge. 
Upon encountering Customs agent, Ms. Bradley recalled that she, along 
with most of the other women on the flight, were singled out for 
searches and interrogation where she experienced one of the most 
humiliating moments of her life. Ms. Bradley was searched throughout 
her body, including her private parts. Mr. Speaker, no drugs or 
contraband were found.
  I happen to be a strong supporter of our INS, Customs, and other 
border security agents and the responsibilities that they have. I 
happen to be a strong supporter of adhering to the laws of this Nation. 
But I also believe that civil justice and civil liberties are important 
for those noncitizens and citizens alike. We have the responsibility of 
adhering to the values and the laws of this land.
  This bill, however, adds substantial provisions so that they already 
have all they need to ensure the safety of this Nation. To take away, 
to give a pass or a bye on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the 
understanding of unreasonable search and seizures is unfair.
  This bill, without protection against racial profiling, at least a 
study, is unfair and is not a solution.
  Organizations like the ACLU have conducted reports that one of the 
ACLU's highest priority issues is the fight against the outrageous 
practice of racial profiling. In its report ``Driving While Black, 
Racial Profiling on Our Nation's Highways,'' the ACLU documents the 
practice of substituting skin color for evidence as grounds for 
suspicion by law enforcement officials. Tens of thousands of innocent 
motorists on highways across the country are victims of racial 
profiling. It could be happening at our borders as well.
  These discriminatory stops have reached epidemic proportions in some 
recent years, fueled by the war on drugs and potentially fueled by 
bills like this.
  We want to make sure that our good police officers have the skills 
and tools to do the job. A study would provide them that instruction.
  We put an end to the practice of racial profiling with my amendment. 
My amendment, most importantly, through the collection of data, would, 
in fact, assist the agency in being instructive and constructive. Is 
that not why we are here, Mr. Speaker, to be constructive and 
instructive? Unfortunately, after vigorous debate, we were not able to 
include such an amendment. I am disappointed, Mr. Speaker; and for 
these reasons, among many others, I rise to oppose this legislation.
  I rise in opposition to the measure on the floor today H.R. 2155, the 
Sober Borders Act. This bill authorizes officers and employees of the 
INS to conduct tests for drug or alcohol consumption when they have 
reasonable grounds to believe that a driver is operating a motor 
vehicle while under the influence.
  Second, to ensure travelers are fully aware of this new policy, the 
bill further requires the INS to post notices at each land border port 
of entry informing motorists that operating a vehicle while under the 
influence is an offense under federal law.
  The major problem with this proposal is a matter of policy. At a time 
when their workload is heavy and the lines and waits for border traffic 
are already causing huge burdens to border economies, this legislation 
will impose new duties, unrelated to terrorism, on immigration 
inspectors at the border. Essentially, H.R. 2155 is enlisting INS 
officers to enforce state law.
  Furthermore, 18 U.S.C. section 13 (the Assimilative Crimes Act) 
currently incorporates state criminal law into federal law, for issues 
for which there is no applicable federal criminal law, in places in 
federal jurisdiction such as military bases and, no doubt, ports of 
entry. So, a criminal offense such as DUI under state law is already 
also a federal criminal offense in a federal area (ares not in state 
jurisdictions). This law would extend that by incorporating non-
criminal sanctions (e.g., suspension of licenses for failure to agree 
to a drug test) intro federal law. It also seems a questionable use of 
the admittedly broad authority the INS has at the border to conduct 
searches, to expand this to blood, breath or urine testing.
  Finally, during both the Subcommittee markup and the Full Committee 
markup of this legislation, after being assured that the majority would 
work with the minority on concerns with the legislation, an amendment 
was offered that would require the General Accounting Office to conduct 
an annual study concerning the exercise of the new authorities by 
officers and employees of the INS. The study would assemble and analyze 
the number of times the officers exercised this authority, the race, 
gender, and national origin of the driver involved, and the results of 
the exercise of this new authority. The Amendment further directed the 
General Accounting Office to submit a report to Congress no later than 
March 31 of each year.
  It was important to include this amendment because the legislation 
raises the potential for abuse of authority to stop and detain 
individuals at the border. The amendment would have ensured that the 
new authorities granted the officers and employees of the INS to test 
for the use of alcohol and drugs by a driver at the border is carried 
out in a efficient, fair, and equitable manner without targeting any 
group of people--specifically to prevent racial profiling.
  ``Racial profiling'' occurs when the police target someone for 
investigation on the basis of that person's race, national origin, or 
ethnicity. Examples of profiling are the use of race to

[[Page H7905]]

determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations (``often 
referred to driving while black'') and the use of race to determine 
which motorists or pedestrians to search for contraband.
  Racial profiling is still prevalent in America. In large cities 
across the country, African Americans and other people of color still 
move about with the fear that at any time, they can be stopped and 
detained simply because they fit a broad profile characterized by 
little more than the color of a person's skin. Today skin color makes 
you a suspect in America. It makes you more likely to be stopped, more 
likely to be searched, and more likely to searched, and more likely to 
be arrested and imprisoned.
  In a recent General Accounting Office study of March, 2000 ``found 
that persons of a particular races and genders were generally more 
likely than others to be subjected to more intrusive searches. For 
example, black women were 9 times more likely to be searched than white 
women. Based on x-ray searches, however, the black women were less than 
half as likely to be caught carrying contraband than white women.
  During the Debate on H.R. 3129, the Customs Border Security Act 
authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2002, I detailed the story 
of Yvette Bradley a 33-year-old advertising executive and her sister 
who arrived at Newark Airport from a vacation in Jamaica, and African 
American woman. Upon encountering Customs agents, Ms. Bradley recalled 
that she, along with most of the other black women on the flight, were 
singled out for searches and interrogation, where she experienced one 
of the most humiliating moments of her life. Ms. Bradley was searched 
throughout her body including her private parts. Mr. Speaker no drugs 
or contraband was found.
  I happen to be a strong supporter of our INS, Customs and other 
border security agents and the responsibilities that they have. This 
bill, however, adds to substantial provisions they already have all 
that they need to ensure the safety of this Nation. To take away--to 
give them a bye, a pass, on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, 
the understanding of unreasonable search and seizures, is unfair. This 
bill without protection against racial profiling is unfair and it is 
not a solution.
  Organizations like the ACLU have conducted reports that ne of the 
ACLU's highest priority issues is the fight against the outrageous 
practice of racial profiling. In its report Driving While Black: Racial 
Profiling On Our Nation's Highways, the ACLU documents the practice of 
substituting skin color for evidence as a grounds for suspicion by law 
enforcement officials.
  Tens of thousands of innocent motorists on highways across the 
country are victims of racial profiling. And these discriminatory 
police stops have reached epidemic proportions in recent years--fueled 
by the ``Wars on Drugs'' and potentially fueled by bills like this bad 
police officers have been given a pretext to target people who they 
think fit a profile. We must put an end to the practice of racial 
profiling. My Amendment, most importantly, through the collection of 
data, the amendment by its very nature would curb any tendency toward 
this abuse and help prevent this legislation from being used as a tool 
for racial profiling.
  Unfortunately, after a vigorous debate during the markup, however, 
the majority refused to accept the amendment arguing that the measure 
would place an extreme burden on the officers carrying out the 
provisions of the amendment. My attempts to have something in the bill 
to address this problem have been ignored.
  While I firmly believe something must be done to lower the rate of 
alcohol-related car accidents that take place on our nation's highways 
and in close proximity to our nation's borders there are concerns 
raised by the bill. It is unfortunate because it had minimal efforts to 
make the bill acceptable to the Democrats as the majority had committed 
to doing during the Committee process this bill could have passed 
without opposition.
  Mr, Speaker, in its current form, I must urge my colleagues to oppose 
H.R. 2155.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the Bradley case that the gentlewoman 
from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) cited is not relevant to this bill. She 
talked about a search of a woman who arrived at the Newark Airport. 
This bill only applies to land border crossings, not ports of entry 
that are not land border crossings. So the argument that the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) relies on is irrelevant to 
dealing with the issue of this bill.
  The gentlewoman from Texas complains about the fact that people might 
be unduly targeted for stops. Everybody who crosses the border between 
the United States and Mexico and Canada has to be stopped. Mr. Speaker, 
100 percent of the people do, regardless of what their race is or their 
national origin. I do not understand what the gentlewoman's complaints 
are because she should know that one must stop for inspection and the 
law requires it.
  Now, finally, during the markup of the Committee on the Judiciary, as 
chairman, I gave the gentlewoman from Texas my commitment to ask for a 
GAO study once this bill is signed into law. The gentlewoman from Texas 
should know that any Member of the House can ask for a GAO study. It 
does not have to be an amendment adopted by the committee; it does not 
have to be legislation on the floor of the House. She can ask for one, 
I can ask for one, and anyone of the other 433 Members of the House of 
Representatives can ask for one. So nobody is preventing a GAO study 
from being done should this bill be passed by both Houses and signed 
into law by the President.
  The issue is very simple, and that is that if somebody comes to a 
land border crossing at the United States who is drunk or who is under 
the influence of drugs and is not capable of safely operating a motor 
vehicle, should the immigration inspector who stops that individual be 
allowed to detain them and to administer a chemical test. We cannot do 
that now, but this bill does give the immigration inspectors the 
authority to do that. And if this bill fails and this hole in the law 
is not plugged, then the drunk driver or the impaired driver will go on 
his or her merry way at a border crossing which is, of necessity, 
crowded by people who are stopping and submitting to inspection as 
required by Federal law and vulnerable to injury or death simply 
because the INS inspector had to call up the local police and it is 
only when the local police arrive on the scene can there be a stop.
  This is a good bill. The arguments of the gentlewoman from Texas are 
complete red herrings. It should be passed.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. 
Flake).
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time. I want to thank and pay tribute to the chairman for bringing this 
bill to the floor and for working it through the committee in such a 
deliberative fashion. We debated this at the subcommittee level, at the 
committee level; and we had a great debate on it. Many Members shared 
their support for the bill.
  As mentioned, this is simply closing a glaring loophole in the law 
that allows someone in a border port of entry, at a land port of entry 
to drive totally intoxicated, and INS officers are powerless to stop 
them, unless they want to do it as a citizen for which they risk 
liability that they are unwilling to assume. We asked INS officers what 
happens when someone who is visibly drunk crosses a border. They said, 
we let them go on a wing and a prayer and just hope that somebody, hope 
that a law enforcement officer at the municipal or State level is able 
to stop them.
  Well, that has not been good enough. In California, in the past 2 
years, we have had two law enforcement officers killed, killed when 
drunk drivers drove up, under-age drivers who drove to Mexico with the 
express purpose of drinking because they can, because of lax 
enforcement, drink underage, drive across the border knowing full well 
that they will not be stopped by the person who sees them right inside 
the window, who stops them, who cannot stop them when they are drunk, 
who will just let them go on through. They killed two California 
highway patrol officers. Several fatal car crashes in my home State of 
Arizona are blamed on drunk drivers going to Mexico to drink, coming 
back across the border, knowing that they cannot be stopped. This is 
wrong.
  This is what this law is about. We have to change that. We have to 
close this glaring loophole. I do not know about my colleagues, but I 
do not want to stand and tell the widow or the widower of the next 
highway patrol officer or the next person who is killed on the border 
that we could have had this bill passed, we could have done it were it 
not for extraneous language that is purely secondary to the bill.
  As the chairman mentioned, we have offered and are more than willing 
to have a letter to the GAO. This need not be in statute as they are 
asking. We

[[Page H7906]]

can do the same by a letter to the GAO. But let us get this bill 
passed. We need it. There is a glaring loophole now. Lives are being 
lost on the border in my State and others. I would ask for support of 
this bill.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I gives me great pleasure to 
yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Conyers), the ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, who 
knows a lot about racial profiling inasmuch as he has authored 
legislation on that issue.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Texas for her 
leadership as ranking member of the subcommittee, and I want to thank 
the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake) for his leadership as chairman 
of the subcommittee.
  The question that the gentleman from Arizona has raised is a very 
disturbing one: two police officers from his State killed in connection 
with activity involving people driving under the influence. And that 
should be disturbing to everybody in Arizona as well as everybody in 
this Congress. Then why, I say to the gentleman from Arizona, would he 
jeopardize the passage of this bill over, and I will accept his 
description of it as an irrelevant addition to it, when the gentleman 
knows full well that one-third of the Members of the Congress can turn 
back a bill that is on suspension? This means that the gentleman is 
rolling the dice big time, I say to my friend. I do not want to take 
that chance. If the gentleman does, then we will have a vote shortly 
that will determine which one of us was more correct.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CONYERS. I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I too fear that this bill will be imperiled, 
but I fear it if we attach such language. That is why we had a debate 
in the committee. The chairman is correct. That is where we debate 
bills like this. We had the debate in committee, we put that amendment 
up to a vote and it failed. Were we to accept the unanimous consent 
request or to amend this on the floor, we would be going and stepping 
over the committee. That is not the process. That is the relevant 
process we have to follow.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I thank the gentleman. 
I appreciate that procedural explanation. If the gentleman is going to 
risk police officers' lives in the gentleman's State based on a vote in 
the committee, then that, my friend, is a choice that the gentleman has 
who, as a Member, has as much right to cast that opinion as anybody 
else. I wish the gentleman good luck, frankly, because police officers' 
lives are at stake.
  Mr. Speaker, I have just approached the distinguished chairman of the 
Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Sensenbrenner), my good friend, who has informed me that unfortunately 
we are not able to remove this bill from the suspension calendar to 
have this amendment repaired because this is the last suspension day 
for bills under suspension that we will have in this Congress. And if 
he is right, that puts us in a more difficult situation.
  Mr. Speaker, the reason that we are in this position is that the 
subcommittee ranking chairperson had assumed that there had been an 
agreement worked out on this amendment, and it was not until we came to 
the full committee markup that we found that there was a serious 
difference still outstanding.
  All I stand here in the well of the House today to do is to work in 
every way that I can with the chairman of my committee and the chairman 
of the subcommittee to see that we can repair this so that we can get a 
bill out to protect the lives of all of our law enforcement people at 
the border. This is a bill that we support, a bill we support, a bill 
that we want to get to the Senate and enacted into law as quickly as 
possible.

                              {time}  1445

  We think that it is a lifesaving measure. But because of this 
disagreement over the importance of a study on racial profiling, we are 
not able to do that.
  The Members of this House, before they vote on this measure tomorrow, 
should be fully aware of the fact that the reason we put the GAO in the 
amendment was that the subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from 
Arizona (Mr. Flake), is the one that asked that it be included. The 
original provision of the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) 
referred this to the Attorney General's office, and they objected.
  Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Members, what are we doing here? Where 
we are now, I say to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake), is that 
the American Civil Liberties Union, and this is not a funny matter, I 
say to the gentleman from Arizona. Please listen to me.
  The American Civil Liberties Union announced this morning that they 
are in opposition to the bill in its present form. That is not a 
laughing matter. The Leadership Council on Civil Rights has announced 
their opposition to the bill. This is not a laughing matter. The 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, with a half 
a million members, has announced that until this bill is repaired they 
are against the bill. It is not a laughing matter.
  So if it does not matter to the Members, okay. If it is funny, okay. 
If they have the votes, okay. But I think they are doing a grave 
disservice to an excellent piece of legislation that they and the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) have crafted.
  If they choose to roll the dice on it in the way they apparently 
have, then I will have to live by that decision, because I am not in 
the House leadership, and I cannot assure the Members that if the bill 
is pulled off the floor, there will be another Suspension Calendar.
  The reason I will not yield is because the chairman controls all the 
time on the gentleman's side.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Arizona (Mr. Flake), who is not a chairman.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to 
me.
  Mr. Speaker, regarding the gentleman from Michigan's point about this 
not being a laughing matter, certainly I do not make a laughing matter 
out of it. The only humor I found is in being elevated to the status of 
chairman of the subcommittee, which I am not. The chairman just 
informed me if I am, it has been revoked. That is the only part that I 
find humorous. This is not a laughing matter at all.
  When the ranking minority member mentions that in the subcommittee we 
had discussions about where the authority ought to rest for a study, we 
simply pointed out that the amendment, as drafted, mentioned the INS 
Commissioner when, under our own language out of the committee, that 
position will no longer exist. So that would not be the proper place 
for the study.
  What we suggested was that that responsibility would lie with the 
GAO.
  As the chairman mentioned, we have offered again and again and again, 
at the gentleman's suggestion, I say to the ranking minority member, 
that we draft a letter to the GAO and to ask them to conduct such a 
study, to do that. I stand ready to do that, and I hope that we can.
  This is an important issue. We simply need not have it in statute 
because that would imperil the bill. We cannot, for every law 
enforcement action taken in this House or in this body, attach racial 
profiling language. We simply cannot. That would imperil too much good 
legislation going forward.
  It is not a laughing matter at all; this is serious. People are dying 
in the border towns every day, and a lot of it is linked to drunken 
drivers coming across the borders. This is a serious matter, we ought 
to take it that way, and move this bill forward without secondary 
amendments.


                Announcement by the Speaker pro tempore

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pence). Members are reminded that they 
should direct their comments to the Chair, and avoid dialogue in the 
second person.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter. It really saddens me that 
we have come to this.
  I notice that there was some discussion that no one seems to 
understand racial profiling. There is a bill that we wish had moved 
through this House with some 95 or more cosponsors that if

[[Page H7907]]

we could have gotten a hearing on it in the Committee on the Judiciary, 
maybe we could have educated our colleagues about this issue.
  The fact is that we have to live the way we live, many of us who come 
from different walks of life, to understand racial profiling. One has 
to live in our skin as an American and be able to acknowledge this is 
the best country we could ever live in, but every day we work to 
improve that country. So I think it is important for those who do not 
live as many of us do to recognize that, as legislators, we try to work 
together.
  In this instance, I think it is important to note that the INS border 
inspectors, by State law that is already codified, in complete 
disagreement with my colleagues, have the authority to stop those whom 
they might feel are impaired. This study only allows instruction, 
giving them the ability to do their job better, and to be able to 
recognize that all of us have the right to be treated fairly, no matter 
who we are, and that this Nation is founded on those who escaped 
persecution so they could be treated fairly.
  I am sorry that my colleagues believe this to be frivolous and a 
laughing matter, and refuse to exercise the comity of this House and 
work with those of us who are sincere in promoting legislation that 
works for everyone. It is a great disappointment to me. In fact, Mr. 
Speaker, it is hurting, because I have constituents who have felt the 
abuse of this process.
  So I would offer to say that a letter does not equate to legislation. 
Mr. Speaker, I would simply say, we have been fighting to pass racial 
profiling legislation in this House. Of course, as a minority, we have 
not been successful.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to pose a question to the ranking member, 
the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers). It really goes to the 
legislation that he has had filed in this House for a period of time.
  I recall traveling with the gentleman throughout the Nation on a 
series of racial profiling hearings. I think the persons appearing came 
from all walks of life, if I am correct; and I know that it was a 
searing issue to the extent that we had sponsors and supporters of 
legislation in the Senate, the other body, because it was so clear that 
this Nation needed to address this question.
  I would ask the gentleman simply to expand on that point. There seems 
to be some question of the seriousness and the need for having at least 
an instructive amendment that allows us to be instructed by a study 
that will give guidance to having us do our jobs better.
  I know the gentleman has spent a lot of time on this issue, so I 
would ask him to speak on this point, on this legislation that he filed 
and the need for its hearing; but more importantly, the work that he 
did in coming to the point of drafting this legislation.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentlewoman yield?
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I yield to the gentleman from Michigan.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member, the gentlewoman 
from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), of the Subcommittee on Immigration, 
Border Security, and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, for 
yielding to me.
  Mr. Speaker, racial profiling cannot be considered irrelevant 
anywhere in the country, but particularly in a circumstance where we 
are giving additional powers to law enforcement agents on the border. 
For us not to include a study is sending a very dangerous signal to 
them, especially after this debate.
  I frankly do not see how a measure like this, after this kind of 
discussion, could possibly clear the House of Representatives in 
consideration of the times and the problems with law enforcement and 
the minority community that plague the criminal justice system and law 
enforcement all over the country. I plead with my colleagues to please 
withdraw this measure until we can work out some rapprochement.
  I can say that the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) has been 
totally willing to cooperate, and I think, up until the day of the 
hearing, I would have said the same thing about the subcommittee 
chairman; or if he is not the subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from 
Arizona (Mr. Flake). He has been totally cooperative, as well.
  I know that the gentleman from Wisconsin (Chairman Sensenbrenner) and 
I have been working together in a very fine spirit to try to resolve 
this, and maybe the leadership of the House would schedule another 
session for suspensions, which would give us the time to at least bring 
this one back to the floor.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Michigan for his comments.
  I would just simply close by saying that there is a throng of 
legislation passed on racial profiling. What we tried to do here is 
work in a bipartisan manner to enhance our Border Patrol agents, and, 
as well, protect the liberties of all of our people.
  I would simply ask that my colleagues vote against this legislation, 
for it stands for nothing as it relates to being able to protect our 
Border Patrol agents and enhance their lives in contrast to diminishing 
the lives of others. I ask for a no vote on this legislation.
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I think it is regrettable that my two colleagues, the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) and the gentlewoman from Texas 
(Ms. Jackson-Lee) have decided to make this very meritorious bill into 
a debate on racial profiling.
  I have offered, as has the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake), to 
send a letter to the Comptroller General asking for the precise study 
that the gentleman from Michigan and the gentlewoman from Texas have 
asked for.
  As I said previously, every Member of Congress can get GAO studies on 
any relevant issue that they desire. We do not need to clutter up the 
statute books by requiring the Comptroller General to do a study on 
this subject or on any other subject. It merely requires sending a 
letter signed by a Member of Congress.
  Now, if the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), who represents a 
border community, and the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), who 
represents a district which is pretty close to the other border, if 
their idea becomes law, I am afraid that every immigration inspector 
who has to stop everybody who is legally crossing the border and ask 
them questions, they are going to have to compile this data for the GAO 
study, and the lines behind the border are going to get longer and 
longer, and people are going to be more frustrated, whether they are 
coming across the border to go to school, which we are going to talk 
about in a few minutes, or to further commerce, or just to visit the 
United States of America as a tourist, which is something that I think 
we encourage, as well, because we like foreigners spending their money 
here.
  I am going to work with the gentleman from Michigan and the 
gentlewoman from Texas. But that is no reason, just because the issue 
of racial profiling is brought up, and a process where everybody has to 
be stopped and detained and questioned as they cross the border, that 
this very meritorious bill should be voted down.
  Anybody in law enforcement will tell us that the quicker a drunk 
driver or a driver whose ability is impaired by drugs is stopped, the 
fewer people are placed at risk; so why not stop them on the border, 
and if they are drunk or impaired, do the appropriate chemical tests?
  Mr. Speaker, I think this is a good idea. It might save lives. I 
commend the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake) for keeping this a clean 
bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1500

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pence). The question is on the motion 
offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner) that the 
House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2155, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds of 
those present have voted in the affirmative.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the

[[Page H7908]]

Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
postponed.

                          ____________________





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