A Call to Action—Border Securityby Representative Scott Perry
Posted on 2015-02-04
I want to also extend my appreciation to you for bringing up this important issue. I think this is going to kind of be a continuing conversation, at least for the next couple weeks, as we move forward into bringing this particular bill and the legislation to the floor.
With that, I was just thinking that in the last couple days I saw the President on TV, and he asked a question: What kind of country do we want to be? I think you can think of that in a lot of different ways, but regarding the border, the President, while he says that, has preached over the years that he has made our Nation's border more secure than ever. I just remember last year when he was literally saying that, we saw tens of thousands of unaccompanied people coming across the border, and all of America was saying to themselves: What are you talking about? How can you say that? The Border Patrol wasn't stopping these people. They were greeting these people and bringing them into the country. You are thinking, maybe that is a great thing, but we don't know who they are or what their intentions are, and you have no credibility, Mr. President, when you say that.
His statement is just supported by bloated statistics and a false sense of reality. I think most Americans understand that. As a matter of fact, the GAO recently found that only 44 percent of the southwest border was under operational control--44 percent. So 56 is just wide open apparently. Listen, that 44 percent, that is based on some best guess or some estimate because, believe it or not, they don't even keep the records.
Now, you know--you know as sure as you are watching this on TV or in the gallery or sitting at home thinking about it--that those Border Patrol agents and those sheriffs are keeping records of the things they do on a daily basis and a nightly basis, drove so many miles, picked up this many people coming across the border.
What happens to that information? Guess what, folks? They don't want us to have it. They don't want the GAO to have it because then we would know that our back door is wide open.
I mean, these gaps on the border lead to higher crime rates and unemployment for American citizens. It is really no more complicated than your own home. Sure, you love your neighbor to your left and your right and the people that adjoin your home to the north and to the south, but that doesn't mean that you leave your doors wide open for them to come in and go as they please at all hours of the day or night.
We want to be a country that is defined by who we are, and it requires protecting. If we are not going to define our country in those ways, why define it by having a border at all? That is what I think the President and many on the other side would propose, that we just abolish the borders. Well, guess what, folks? If we abolish the borders, we don't have any country at all.
I was thinking about another thing I heard recently. Over the last 6 years of the couple million jobs that were created in a downturn economy, almost all of them, statistically, were filled by people that weren't born in this country. Listen, it is great to have people come here and we need to have that policy, a smart policy, but our policy should be what works for America first, and securing our border and doing what works for America is the right thing to do. It is our duty. It is our oath.
Now, people say: Well, why is it so important? Look at the crime rates. More than 40 percent of all criminal cases initiated by Federal prosecutors were in districts that border Mexico. Is anybody surprised? Do you think that that doesn't correlate to something? That means something, folks. I mean, the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, stated more than 3,000 homicides were committed by illegal immigrants in the last 6 years.
Now, are we a nation of laws or aren't we? If we are a nation of laws, what does it matter if you have a law that you are not going to enforce? Does it mean anything? The President has not executed the law for biometric exit. That is where we determine who you are, what you are doing here, and when you leave. Come legally, come across our border, but that is part of securing the border. But when it is time to go, it is time to go. If you want to stay, hey, that is great, but show up and let our government know that you are going to stay a little bit longer and what your purpose is. We don't want [[Page H791]] you to stay if your purpose is for something other than what it should be.
The Congress has spoken, as a matter of fact, eight times passed a law requiring an exit system at all our ports; yet the executive branch, the one who executes the laws, has decided that is not important. They are just not going to do it.
Folks, this puts us at a huge disadvantage. It makes us unsafe. We are not secure in our homes. We don't have the peace of mind of knowing that we are safe in our homes. We don't have the peace of mind of knowing that the people coming across the border are being screened for maybe diseases or criminal activity.
There is a cost to that. There is a cost in lives. There is a financial cost to that in caring for people that get diseases that we have long eradicated in America that now come across the border unchecked because our border is wide open. That is why it is important to secure the border.
It is important. Congress has spoken. Congress, the representative of the American people, has spoken eight times on this issue, and the President has just said: I can't be bothered. He designates Federal lands, and our own agents can't be on these Federal lands and do their job.
I mean, who thinks that controlling the border and securing the border means being 50 miles off the border? I guarantee you, if you are in the combat zone securing your perimeter, your border--and the gentlelady knows what I am talking about because she has been there herself, as I have been there--you secure your perimeter and you watch your perimeter right on it, not just set up a little fence or draw a line in the sand and then head to the tent and hope nobody crosses it. That doesn't work there, and it doesn't work here. Yet that is what we are doing, and we are espousing it as though it was some kind of policy that is coherent and is realistic. It is not.
Our agents want to do their jobs. They are excited to do the job, they are committed to do the job, and our Federal Government literally is standing in the way and saying: Absolutely, you can't do the job.
We can get some assistance from our State and local, our National Guard, too. I have served on that mission as well. There is a lot of opportunity there to divide the duties and the resources and make this work that is cost effective. There is a lot of expertise from a military standpoint that can be used legally to help secure our borders, but, here again, the President can't be bothered. Mr. Speaker, it is unconscionable.
We need to keep track of these individuals with radical views. If the President had enacted the biometric requirements that have been required by the United States Congress eight times, maybe the Tsarnaev brothers wouldn't have had the ability to come to Boston and blow up people during the marathon. But we will never know because they just come and go as they darn well please to our country, and we don't ask anything. How is that securing the country? How is that good for America? Mr. Speaker, thanks again to the gentlelady for hosting this. This is an incredibly important subject that we need to be discussing, and it is great that we have some time on the House floor to discuss this.
I hope what this does is it kind of gets the people that are watching this to say: Huh, maybe there is something to this. Maybe I should call my Representative. What does he or she think? How would he or she vote on such a border bill? Is there something missing in the bill, and is there some reason they wouldn't support the bill, and what is that? What would I like, as an American, to see about my border? Should we be letting anybody that darn well pleases come across the border unchecked to come into my community and do whatever they would, take my job, harm my family, or do I want something more as an American? Where does my Representative stand? I think it is a great opportunity to call your Representative, write your Representative, email, talk to his staff and say: What does my Representative think of this? So I appreciate the opportunity. I appreciate your leadership. I know, I have been to where you live.