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

[Congressional Record: May 21, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S6789-S6843]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr21my03-182]                         



 
        NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004
[ ... ] 

Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I want to say a few words about an 
amendment that I had hoped to offer to help our troops and that has 
strong bipartisan support. But the Parliamentarian says it doesn't 
quite meet the relevance test under the consent agreement, so I will 
offer it on another day.
  The amendment is intended to recognize the enormous contributions to 
our country by immigrants serving in the military. It gives immigrant 
men and women in our Armed Forces more rapid naturalization, and it 
establishes protections for their families if they are killed in 
action.
  In all our wars, immigrants have fought side by side and given their 
lives to defend America's freedom and ideals. One out of every five 
recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor our 
Nation bestows on our war heroes, has been an immigrant. Their bravery 
is unequivocal proof that immigrants are as dedicated as any other 
Americans to defending our country.
  Today, 37,000 men and women in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, 
and Coast Guard are not yet citizens, but have the status of permanent 
residents. Another 12,000 permanent residents are in the Reserves and 
the National Guard. Sadly, 10 immigrant soldiers were killed in Iraq; 2 
are missing; and 2 were POWs. The President did the right thing by 
granting posthumous citizenship to those who died, but it is clear that 
we can do more to ease the path to citizenship for all immigrants who 
serve in our forces.
  My amendment improves access to naturalization for permanent 
residents in the military and it protects spouses, children, and 
parents of soldiers killed in action by preserving their ability to 
file for permanent residence in the United States.
  Specifically, the amendment reduces from 3 to 2 the number of years 
required for these immigrants to become naturalized citizens. It 
exempts them from paying naturalization filing fees, and it enables 
them to be naturalized while stationed abroad. Affordable and timely 
naturalization is the least we can do for those who put their lives on 
the line to defend our nation.
  During times of war, recruiting needs are immediate and readiness is 
essential. Even though the war in Iraq has ended, our commitment to 
ending global terrorism will continue, and more of these brave men and 
women will be called to active duty. Many of them are members of the 
Selected Reserve--Reserve and National Guard members who may be called 
up for active duty during a war or other national emergency. Many have 
already been activated, and many more could be called up at a moment's 
notice to defend our country and assist in military operations.

  Over the years, Reserve and Guard units have often become full 
partners with their active-duty counterparts. Their active-duty 
colleagues cannot go to war without them. Being a member of the 
Selected Reserves is nothing less than a continuing commitment to meet 
very demanding standards, and they deserve recognition for their 
bravery and sacrifice. The amendment allows permanent resident members 
of

[[Page S6840]]

the Selected Reserves to expedite their naturalization applications 
during war or military hostilities.
  Finally, the amendment provides immigration protection to immediate 
family members of soldiers killed in action. Grieving mothers, fathers, 
spouses, and children would be given the opportunity to legalize their 
immigration status and avoid deportation in the event of death of their 
loved one serving in our military. We know the tragic losses endured by 
these families, and it is unfair that they lose their immigration 
status as well.
  The provisions of the amendment are identical to those in S. 922, the 
Naturalization and Family Protection for Military Members Act, which 
has strong bipartisan support and is also endorsed by numerous veterans 
organizations including: the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Air Force 
Sergeants Association, the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, and 
the Blue Star Mothers of America.
  The amendment is a tribute to the sacrifices that these future 
Americans are already making now for their adopted country. They 
deserve this important recognition and I look forward to working with 
my colleagues to see that these provisions are enacted into law.


[ ... ] 

SEC. ____. ASSIGNMENT OF MEMBERS TO ASSIST BUREAU OF BORDER 
                   SECURITY AND BUREAU OF CITIZENSHIP AND 
                   IMMIGRATION SERVICES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   HOMELAND SECURITY.

       (a) Assignment Authority of Secretary of Defense.--Chapter 
     18 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
     after section 374 the following new section:

     ``Sec. 374a. Assignment of members to assist border patrol 
       and control

       ``(a) Assignment Authorized.--Upon submission of a request 
     consistent with subsection (b), the Secretary of Defense may 
     assign members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps 
     to assist--
       ``(1) the Bureau of Border Security of the Department of 
     Homeland Security in preventing the entry of terrorists, drug 
     traffickers, and illegal aliens into the United States; and
       ``(2) the United States Customs Service of the Department 
     of Homeland Security in the inspection of cargo, vehicles, 
     and aircraft at points of entry into the United States to 
     prevent the entry of weapons of mass destruction, components 
     of weapons of mass destruction, prohibited narcotics or 
     drugs, or other terrorist or drug trafficking items.
       ``(b) Request for Assignment.--The assignment of members 
     under subsection (a) may occur only if--
       ``(1) the assignment is at the request of the Secretary of 
     Homeland Security; and
       ``(2) the request is accompanied by a certification by the 
     Secretary of Homeland Security that the assignment of members 
     pursuant to the request is necessary to respond to a threat 
     to national security posed by the entry into the United 
     States of terrorists, drug traffickers, or illegal aliens.
       ``(c) Training Program Required.--The Secretary of Homeland 
     Security and the Secretary of Defense, shall establish a 
     training program to ensure that members receive general 
     instruction regarding issues affecting law enforcement in the 
     border areas in which the members may perform duties under an 
     assignment under subsection (a). A member may not be deployed 
     at a border location pursuant to an assignment under 
     subsection (a) until the member has successfully completed 
     the training program.
       ``(d) Conditions of Use.--(1) Whenever a member who is 
     assigned under subsection (a) to assist the Bureau of Border 
     Security or the United States Customs Service is performing 
     duties at a border location pursuant to the assignment, a 
     civilian law enforcement officer from the agency concerned 
     shall accompany the member.
       ``(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to--
       ``(A) authorize a member assigned under subsection (a) to 
     conduct a search, seizure, or other similar law enforcement 
     activity or to make an arrest; and
       ``(B) supersede section 1385 of title 18 (popularly known 
     as the `Posse Comitatus Act').
       ``(e) Establishment of Ongoing Joint Task Forces.--(1) The 
     Secretary of Homeland Security may establish ongoing joint 
     task forces if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines 
     that the joint task force, and the assignment of members to 
     the joint task force, is necessary to respond to a threat to 
     national security posed by the entry into the United States 
     of terrorists, drug traffickers, or illegal aliens.
       ``(2) If established, the joint task force shall fully 
     comply with the standards as set forth in this section.
       ``(f) Notification Requirements.--The Secretary of Homeland 
     Security shall provide to the Governor of the State in which 
     members are to be deployed pursuant to an assignment under 
     subsection (a) and to local governments in the deployment 
     area notification of the deployment of the members to assist 
     the Department of Homeland Security under this section and 
     the types of tasks to be performed by the members.
       ``(g) Reimbursement Requirement.--Section 377 of this title 
     shall apply in the case of members assigned under subsection 
     (a).
       ``(h) Termination of Authority.--No assignment may be made 
     or continued under subsection (a) after September 30, 
     2005.''.
       (b) Commencement of Training Program.--The training program 
     required by subsection (b) of section 374a of title 10, 
     United States Code, shall be established as soon as 
     practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the 
     beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
     item relating to section 374 the following new item:

``374a. Assignment of members to assist border patrol and control.''.

  The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 245, the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goode) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Reyes) each will control 10 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goode).
  Mr. GOODE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  This amendment is called the troops on the border amendment. This 
amendment would authorize the use of troops on the borders of the 
United States if the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, after consultation, felt it was needed for our national 
security, if it was needed to curtail illegal immigration, if it was 
needed to curtail the flow of illegal drugs into our country.
  We saw just a few weeks ago the tragedy that occurred when 19 illegal 
immigrants died from suffocation. If we had had troops on the border or 
this legislation if it had been passed and they were worried about 
troops being on our border, it would have been a message not to attempt 
something so dangerous. Having troops on our borders would save lives 
and would be an enhancement to our security and our safety.

 Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

  Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I understand the gentleman from Virginia's concern. I understand also 
the need to increase enforcement along our borders to protect against 
terrorism and against drug trafficking.
  Mr. Chairman, I spent more than 26 years in Federal law enforcement 
on the border between the United States and Mexico. I was on the front 
line of our Nation's war on drugs and against terrorism. I know how 
difficult it is to secure our Nation's border, and I know the need for 
additional resources. However, I rise in opposition to this amendment 
because it is simply the wrong solution to our current problems along 
our border. This amendment will send our military personnel to our 
borders at a time when they are already stretched thin in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, the Philippines, and over 100 countries around the world.

                              {time}  1630

  We cannot and should not ask our military personnel to patrol our 
borders. We need our military to be at their best. Patrolling our 
borders against illegal immigration has minimal military value and 
detracts from training with war-fighting equipment for war-fighting 
missions. It will lead to decreased military training which reduces 
unit readiness levels and overall combat effectiveness of our Armed 
Forces. I may not agree with the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goode) 
today, but I know that he wants to do what is right for our country. I 
would therefore ask him now to join with me and find a way to place 
additional law enforcement personnel on the border, not military 
personnel.

[ ... ] 

 Mr. BACA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Goode 
amendment.
  The United States is battling the forces of international terrorism. 
This amendment hurts this battle by reallocating resources that already 
exist in our border patrols.
  The Department of Defense opposes this bill. Why? Because it is not 
intended to secure our border, it is intended to affect immigration and 
to intimidate the millions of Mexican-Americans and Latinos that live 
in our Nation's border region.
  Let us remember little Ezequiel Hernandez who was shot dead by Marine 
snipers while he was herding his goats.
  I am deeply concerned that by placing combat ready troops at our 
borders, our borders will become a war zone. Our Nation will be 
perceived, and rightly so, to be engaging in a war against Latino 
immigrants. This is nothing new.

[ ... ]

[ End ] 



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