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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
September 17, 2004

Vice President's Remarks and Q&A at a Town Hall Meeting in Oregon City, Oregon
Abernathy Center
Oregon City, Oregon

[ ... ]

Q I just -- in the next four years of your administration, or George's administration, what efforts are in the works for securing and strengthening our borders?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we've done a lot with respect to control of our borders. We've got a lot more to do, I guess, is the way I would describe it. Our historical practice -- and it has been an important part of our success as a society is to support and encourage the free flow of goods and people and ideas and service and so forth back and forth across the borders. We've had an open society, and we're the world's number one trading nation. We're also a nation of immigrants. And we, I think, dominate in terms of ideas and that has been just a crucial characteristic, if you will, of American society. And what we've now discovered, obviously, is that the openness of our society also represents a threat, that we've got to make certain that without doing damage to our basic economic infrastructure, for example, and our ability to engage in international commerce, we've still got to find a way to make certain that terrorists, or people conspiring with terrorists aren't able to smuggle deadly weapons into the United States, or to send in a group to launch further attacks against the United States.

And that has forced us to look at several things. We've had to look at our whole visa policy and how we handle people who want to come visit from foreign lands, the whole question of the borders with respect especially to Canada and Mexico. We have -- part of the reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security, we've combined a number of those organizations that used to deal -- Customs and Border Patrol and so forth -- on our borders, and we've beefed up those services. And we've gotten more cooperation out of Canada and Mexico than we had previously. But there's still a lot to do. And we're still such a magnate for illegal immigration that we get a large number of people coming here because they want to work, obviously. And that flow is stead, and we need to do everything we can to make certain that we're open for legal immigration. But that we effectively control our borders so that we are not subjected to illegal immigration, and to having a large influx of people coming in. We don't know what they're doing while they're here. (Applause.)

[ ... ]

[ End ]