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[Congressional Record: January 22, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S1325-S1359]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


[ ... ]

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 40

(Purpose: To make funds available for the Entry Exit System) On page 95, line 7, strike ``$3,076,509,000'' and insert the following: ``$3,241,787,000: Provided, That of the amount appropriated under this heading $80,200,000 shall be available only for the Entry Exit System, to be managed by the Justice Management Division: Provided further, That, of the amounts made available in the preceding proviso, $42,400,000 shall only be available for planning, program support, environmental analysis and mitigation, real estate acquisition, design and construction: Provided further, That $25,500,000 shall only be available for an entry-exit system pilot, including demonstration projects on the southern and northern border, and $12,300,000 shall only be available for system development: Provided further, That none of the funds appropriated in this Act, or in Public Law 107-117, for the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Entry Exit System may be obligated until the INS submits a plan for expenditure that: (1) meets the capital planning and investment control review requirements established by the Office of Management and Budget, including OMB Circular A-11, part 3; (2) complies with the acquisition rules, requirements, guidelines, and systems acquisition management practices of the Federal Government; (3) is reviewed by the General Accounting Office; and (4) has been approved by the Committees on Appropriations: Provided further, That funds provided under this heading shall only be available for obligation and expenditure in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications set forth in section 605 of Public Law 107-77: Provided further, That none of the funds made available by this Act shall be available for any expenses relating to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), and that the Attorney General shall provide to the Committee on Appropriations all documents and materials: (1) used in the creation of the NSEERS program, including any predecessor programs; (2) assessing the effectiveness of the NSEERS program as a tool to enhance national security; (3) used to determine the scope of the NSEERS program, including countries selected for the program, and the gender, age, and immigration status of the persons required to register under the program; (4) regarding future plans to expand the NSEERS program to additional countries, age groups, women, and persons holding other immigration statuses not already covered; (5) explaining of whether the Department of Justice consulted with other federal agencies in the development of the NSEERS programs, and if so, all documents and materials relating to those consultations; (6) concerning policy directives or guidance issued to officials about implementation of NSEERS, including the role of the FBI in conducting national security background checks of registrants; (7) explaining why certain INS District Offices detained persons with pending status- adjustment applications; and (8) explaining how information gathered during interviews of registrants will be stored, used, or transmitted to other Federal, State, or local agencies.''. Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I join my friend, Senator Kyl, and thank him, Senator Kennedy, Senator Feinstein, and Senator Feingold. I also thank Senator Stevens for his agreement to this amendment which we think is a very important amendment. I understand that under the previous order, I have 10 minutes and the other Senator from Arizona has 10 minutes. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct. Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, this amendment restores $165 million, which was the level of funding requested by the President, to the INS for development and implementation of the exit-entry systems to be used at ports of entry across the United States. Before any of my colleagues might have an impression that somehow I am breaking some of my iron rules, the fact is this amount of money was requested by the President in the President's budget, so what Senator Kyl and [[Page S1351]] I are achieving here is the restoration of at least some of those funds for this very important program. This morning, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal: A Ranger's Death Shows New Hazards Of a Venerable Job. Law Enforcement Has Become A Bigger Part of Duties; Some Bridle at the Change. A Gunfight on the Border. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Ariz. In the ovenlike afternoon heat last Aug. 9, Kris Eggle got a call for help. Mexican police were chasing a truck that was about to cross the poorly marked national border into this desert park. Mr. Eggle, a 28-year-old park ranger, raced to the scene and found the truck stuck in a dust-filled pothole on the U.S. side. Several men spilled out and ran. Mr. Eggle spotted one of them trying to hide behind a bush. He approached the suspect and prepared to arrest him, when the man whipped out an AK-47 automatic rifle and fired. Mr. Eggle, a dedicated member of the U.S. Park Service, was killed in that encounter. He is the fourth park ranger to be killed in recent times as we are experiencing an increasing level of violence on our southern border. We are in a crisis on our southern border--not just Arizona, but Arizona, unfortunately, is experiencing a majority of these problems because there have been crackdowns in California and in Texas, which has then funneled people up through Arizona. This is a tragedy--a tragedy. Last year, 320 illegal immigrants died in the desert of Arizona trying to get across, usually exploited by unscrupulous coyotes, as they are called, who brought them across the border and said, ``Tucson is right over the next hill,'' and left them to die in the desert of Arizona. By the way, the motivation of those who died, I am sure, was simply to get a job so they could feed their families. The ones with the drug smugglers and the coyotes and the bad people, they don't starve in the desert because they know how to survive and they know where to go. Innocent people are dying every day in the deserts of Arizona and across this Nation. These innocent people, very frankly, are coming here because they want a better life in the United States. That is the same reason my ancestors came here and any of us who are not Native Americans. There is a crisis in health care in Arizona. Emergency rooms are being shut down. Over $100 million in medical expenses was incurred by the State of Arizona last year because of medical services paid for by illegal immigrants. Senator Kyl will talk about the fact that it is the INS people who are waving medical emergencies across the border. That is a Federal responsibility. It is not a State responsibility. It is a Federal responsibility. Enforcement of our border is a Federal responsibility. Do you know what else is happening? An interesting and very alarming thing is happening. People, believing--correctly--that the Federal Government won't take care of its responsibilities, are beginning to want to take these responsibilities in their own hands in the form of vigilantism. The Arizona Daily Star, January 3, 2003: Bisbee militia leader Chris Simcox says he is set today to launch the first patrols along the border with members of his Civil Homeland Defense group. Simcox has said he plans to have groups of armed citizens patrolling three areas of the Arizona-Mexico line, though he wouldn't specify the sites. Do you know what vigilantism leads to, Mr. President? There is no doubt what it leads to; that is the death of innocent people. Our border is uncontrolled. If we are going to win a war on terrorism, how do we know who those 1,000 people a day are? A thousand people a day who are coming across the Arizona border into our country are not just people who are seeking a job, not even just drug smugglers, but could be terrorists, as well. This amendment is attacking a small part of a major problem that we have in this Nation. I don't think it is a parochial attitude toward my own State when the facts are that three out of every five illegal aliens who are coming into the United States of America are apprehended in the State of Arizona. There are miles and miles and miles of border. What separates the United States of America from Mexico is seven strands of barbed wire. The latest tactic--I don't mean to take too much of my colleagues' time--is to take an SUV, put something in front of it, and bust right through the barbed-wire fence and bring in the drugs and bring in the illegals and everybody else who wants to get in. Senator Kyl went down and talked to a rancher--11 times in 1 week SUVs have driven right across his property, a couple of them armed. Our citizens deserve better than that; those who live along the border, those who run health care facilities along the border, deserve better than that and certainly the citizens of this country deserve a better enforcement of our national borders than they are receiving today. I say in closing that Senator Kyl and I, along with other border State Senators, intend to make this an issue this year because it has to be addressed. It has to be addressed. If we are going to preserve the security of this Nation, we have to have protection of our borders. It may cost money. It may be a difficult task to achieve. But the consequences of a failure to act are unacceptable. I yield the remainder of my time and again I thank Senator Stevens for helping us with this amendment. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska. Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, we are prepared to accept the amendment, and I ask it be adopted. The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is time remaining. Mr. KYL. I would like to speak on it as well. Mr. STEVENS. I am sorry, I thought the Senator had already spoken. I withhold my motion. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona. Mr. KYL. Mr. President, let me take a couple of minutes to amplify a couple of points my colleague, Senator McCain, made and also I ask unanimous consent Senator Domenici of New Mexico be added as a cosponsor of the amendment. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. KYL. Mr. President, as Senator McCain just noted, we have a crisis on the southern border with Mexico. We have drug and human smuggling daily. There are over 500,000 illegal immigrants a year crossing into the United States; 320 people died last year crossing into the desert area of Arizona. There is a significant degradation of the environment that has occurred because of the large number of people and vehicles coming across. The ranchers' operations are disrupted, their cattle are sent scurrying, their fences are cut, their water is taken. We have hundreds of millions of dollars of medical costs that are unreimbursed because of the emergency care that is being provided to illegal immigrants. We have the vigilantes that Senator McCain talked about springing up now, an understandable reaction to a problem but not an appropriate one. We have attacks on the Border Patrol every day, and even park rangers are being killed. This is a crisis and it has to be dealt with. I thank Senator Stevens and the other Senators who were helpful, for helping us to restore some of the funding the President had requested, and for their willingness to accept this amendment to begin to deal with at least one aspect of this problem. We have not only, however, a problem of controlling the border at the border, but we also have a problem of dealing with the people who come to the United States legally but stay here illegally. That is one of the specific focuses of this amendment. I would like to take just a second to talk about it. Did you know that half of the approximately 10 million people who are here in the United States illegally today came here legally and they overstayed their visas? The problem is, we don't have an effective system in our country that can track the people who are here illegally. We have mandated it three times in the law now. It is called an Entry Exit System. One of the things this amendment will do is to restore about $80 million to help fund this Entry Exit System. This was originally left out of the Senate version of the bill, but as I said, thanks to the work of Senator Gregg and Senator Hollings, Senator Byrd and Senator Stevens, we were able to get this funding back into the bill. The Entry Exit System was originally authorized in 1996 through the Illegal Immigrant and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, and then it was [[Page S1352]] strengthened again in the U.S.A. Patriot Act after September 11, and again in the Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act. In all three cases we need to basically mandate the Federal Government to institute and administer this program. Finally, Congress has gotten the attention of the appropriate officials, and we are beginning to get this done. It makes no sense to spend all of the resources we spend to control the border and then totally ignore the fact that half of the people who are here illegally got here legally, but we have no way of tracking them and determining where they are at a given time. There are a lot of reasons this is important, but just think about the terrorism aspect for just a moment. This will help us identify terrorists, someone who arrived on a valid visa but hasn't exited the country because they want to stay here and engage in some nefarious activity. Just imagine if we had an effective system working at the time the September 11 hijackers came here. All of them came legally but of course they weren't all remaining in the country legally after they arrived. It will also obviously help in a lot of other ways. As a matter of fact, when someone exits the country, if our law enforcement officials need to question them for any reason, they can be stopped and therefore they can be questioned because of the effectiveness of this system. I want to make a final comment for the benefit of the administration because Congress is now acting to begin the funding of this program. Senator Gregg, the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, has made the point in the past it always has not been a wise expenditure of money by Congress to fund INS systems because the money doesn't seem to be spent very wisely. What we are saying is, as a result of this amendment, we are willing to put confidence in the INS, in the new Homeland Security Department, Justice Department, Border Patrol, and the other agencies that have this responsibility. But we expect them to follow through on the laws that we pass so when we mandate a system, it is implemented, and we expect it to be implemented on time. We are going to be restoring the funding so they can do that. We expect them to do their part of the job and put these systems into effect. Not only is it important to help us with the problems of illegal drug smuggling and illegal immigration and general crime control, but it is now very important to deal with the problem of terrorism and the terrorist threat to our country. I thank Senators Stevens, Gregg, and Hollings. I thank the cosponsors of this legislation. I am very much looking forward to working with them on the problems that Senator McCain and I have identified in many other areas that we are going to have to deal with this year to deal with this crisis

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