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John M.
Republican AZ

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  • Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act—Continued

    by Senator John McCain

    Posted on 2013-06-13

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    Read More about Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act--Continued

    McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.



    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, first of all, I wish to thank the Presiding Officer, the distinguished Senator from Delaware, who is not only an outstanding Member of the Senate, but he is the chairman of the homeland security committee. He has gone out of his way to understand the issues we face when we are addressing border security. The chairman was kind enough to visit the border between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, and spent a lot of time with us and with the people who are entrusted to secure the border. He made some remarks I think were entirely accurate about the challenges we face in enforcing our border. So I wish to again thank the distinguished chairman of the homeland security committee.

    I wish to address a few aspects of comprehensive immigration reform that need to be discussed. First of all, everybody says--and I say it too--we don't want to return to 1986 because in 1986 we guaranteed the American people we would secure the border, and it would never happen again. Well, the fact is, when we look at what we did in 1986--and I will, first of all, plead guilty for having voted for it--the only mandate in the entire legislation which gave ``amnesty'' to 3 million people was: Of the amounts authorized to be appropriated under paragraph one, sufficient funds shall be available to provide for an increase in the Border Patrol personnel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service so that the average level of such personnel in each of the fiscal years 1987 and 1988 is at least 50 percent higher than such level for fiscal year 1986.

    Let me translate that. It meant we would increase the Border Patrol. That was the only mention of how we were going to secure the border after we gave amnesty in 1986. And at that time, I say to my colleagues, the cost, as I mentioned, was 50 percent higher. The Border Patrol has to be 50 percent higher.

    Well, the number of Border Patrol agents in 1986 was 4,000--4,000. Now we have 21,000. So there was really nothing in the 1986 bill about fencing, about sensors, about other ways to get our border secure. So we learned from that.

    We learned from that, and this legislation that recently passed through the Judiciary Committee and is now on the floor, as compared with 1986 where they said they would increase the numbers of Border Patrol agents by 50 percent--this legislation appropriates $3 billion in funding for the comprehensive southern border security strategy. No one who is in RPI status will be able to petition for a green card until certain requirements are fulfilled, including the following: E- Verify in use by all employers, an entry-exit system in place, $1.5 billion in additional funding for the southern border fencing strategy that has to be submitted within 180 days of passage of this legislation and signed by the President.

    It sets the goal of a 90-percent effectiveness rate for all southern border States. If that goal is not reached within 5 years, there will be a bipartisan commission formed and authorized to spend $2 billion in additional funds to secure the border.

    [[Page S4463]] It will add an additional 3,500 Customs and Border Patrol agents. Remember, in 1986, there was a total of 4,000.

    It will authorize the National Guard to provide assistance along the border if requested. The National Guard has had tremendous success on our border. No, they don't carry weapons, but they do incredibly important work, and I am glad they don't carry weapons, to tell the truth.

    The bill funds additional Border Patrol stations and forward operating bases.

    It increases something called Operation Stonegarden funding, which is vital, in my view, in disincentivizing people to frequently cross the border, and strengthens Border Patrol training.

    It authorizes funds to triple the border-crossing prosecutions in the Tucson sector. Why do I mention the Tucson sector? Not because I am from the State of Arizona but because the Tucson sector for years has been a major thoroughfare for both people and drugs.

    The current bill will authorize funds to help States and localities incarcerate criminal unauthorized illegal immigrants.

    It grants the Department of Homeland Security access to Federal lands. That is a problem on our border, where we have an Indian reservation that is right on the border. They are sovereign nations, and this will authorize a greater ability for us to have access to those lands. There are wildlife refuges we need access to as well.

    The bill removes the discretion from the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop the southern border strategy and provides the minimum requirements recommended by the Border Patrol. Those are the people on the ground. These are the people who today, in 120-degree heat at the Sonora, AZ, border, are sitting in vehicles and patrolling our border to keep our Nation secure. This is recommended by them and must be included in the strategy that we want to achieve and must achieve, which is 100 percent situational awareness of each and every 1-mile segment of the southern border.

    The technology list will include, but is not limited to, sector-by- sector requirements for integrated fixed towers, VADER radar systems. These radar track people back from where they came.

    The list includes unmanned aerial systems--what we know as drones-- fixed cameras, mobile surveillance systems, ground sensors, handheld thermal imaging systems, infrared cameras, thermal imaging cameras, license plate readers, and radiation detection systems. All of these are part of this legislation and the billions of dollars we are going to spend to improve border security. We all admit the border is more secure, but where I disagree with the Secretary of Homeland Security is that it is not secure enough.

    So we want to prevent the adjustment of status RPI, which is registered permanent status, for people who will be granted it once the passage of this bill is achieved until that strategy is deployed and operational--deployed and operational. This is just to achieve a legal status in this country; also, a technology list before anybody can adjust RPI to green card status.

    It removes the sole discretion from the Department of Homeland Security to certify the strategy is complete. It requires written, third-party certification to the President and Congress that affirms the elements required by the strategy are operational and capable of achieving effective control of the border.

    With these tools in place, we can achieve situational awareness and be guaranteed this technology is deployed and working along the border. So I say to my friends who say we do not have sufficient provisions for border security, we will be glad to do more, but let's look at this.

    Look at what we are doing: billions of dollars of technology as well as additional people, as well as other measures, including the E- Verify. The magnet that draws people to this country is jobs, and if the word is out that unless an E-Verify is in operation--unless a person can get a job in this country they are not going to come here unless it is through a legal means and not through illegal means.

    We are a nation of immigrants. I would remind my colleagues again, 40 percent of the people who are in this country illegally did not cross our border. They came on a visa that expired. So we need to have footprints and other physical evidence of illegal crossings. It is a tool for Border Patrol agents to identify and locate illegal border crossers. But it is imprecise. That is why we need to have this technology, so we can surveil and have situational awareness of the entire border.

    The General Accounting Office is an organization all of us over time begin to rely on enormously, and I will quote from them: In terms of collecting data, Border Patrol officials reported that sectors rely on a different mix of cameras, sign cutting-- That is tracking footprints-- credible sources, and visual observation to identify and report the number of turn backs and gotaways.

    Turnbacks are those we catch and turn back, and gotaways are those we see come across and do not apprehend.

    Again, quoting the GAO: According to Border Patrol officials, the ability to obtain accurate or consistent data using these identification sources depends on various factors such as terrain and weather. For example, data on turn backs and gotaways may be understated in areas with rugged mountains and steep canyons that can hinder detection of illegal entries. In other cases, data may be overstated--for example, in cases where the same turn back identified by a camera is also identified by tracks. Double counting may also occur when agents in one zone record as a gotaway an individual who is apprehended and then reported as an apprehension in another zone. As a result of these data limitations, Border Patrol headquarters officials said that while they consider turn back and gotaway data sufficiently reliable to assess each sector's progress toward border security and to inform sector decisions regarding resource deployment, they do not consider the data sufficiently reliable to compare--or externally report-- results across sectors.

    That is why we need this technology.

    Now, I wish to point out that from the Border Patrol, not from the Department of Homeland Security, I got a detailed list of what they believe is necessary, using their experience, as to the specific equipment and capabilities they need on each of the nine sectors of the border.

    For example, in the Arizona sectors, including Yuma and Tucson, we need 56 towers, 73 fixed camera systems, 28 mobile surveillance systems, 685 unattended ground sensors, and 22 handheld equipment devices.

    At points of entry or checkpoints we need one nonintrusive inspection system, and the list goes on. It is a specific list of what the Border Patrol believes we need in each of the nine sectors on our southern border in order to give us 100 percent situational awareness and put us on the path to a 90-percent effective control of the border.

    So I say to my friends who say we cannot control our border, I respectfully disagree because of what we are doing in this legislation. And those who say we are unable to keep track of what goes on at our border, I would argue that the minimum requirements to be included in the southern border security strategy as provided by the Border Patrol should convince anyone of what we need.

    I ask unanimous consent that these minimum requirements be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: Minimum requirements to be included in the Southern Border Security Strategy Arizona (Yuma and Tucson Sectors) Between the ports of entry 50 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 73 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 28 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 685 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 22 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

    At points of entry, checkpoints 1 Non-intrusive Inspection System 7 Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 19 License Plate Readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed 2 Backscatter 14 Portable Contraband Detectors 2 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices 18 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 16 Personal Radiation Detectors 24 Mobile Automated Targeting Systems [[Page S4464]] 3 Land Automated Targeting Systems Air and Marine 3 VADER radar systems 6 Air Mobility Helicopters San Diego Between the ports of entry 3 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 41 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 14 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 393 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 83 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

    At points of entry, checkpoints 2 Non-intrusive Inspection Systems, including fixed and mobile 1 Radiation Portal Monitor Air and Marine 2 Aerial Downlink Communication Systems 12 Night Vision Goggles 5 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 2 Search Radar 1 Long Range Thermal Imaging Camera 3 Radar for use in the maritime environment 1 Day Color Camera 3 Cameras for use in the maritime environment 1 Littoral Detection & Classification Network El Centro Between the ports of entry 66 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 18 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 85 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 57 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

    2 Sensor Repeaters 2 Communications Repeaters At points of entry, checkpoints 5 Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 1 License Plate Reader 1 Backscatter 2 Portable Contraband Detectors 2 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices 8 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 3 Personal Radiation Detectors 16 Mobile Automated Targeting Systems Air and Marine 2 Aerial Downlink Communication Systems 3 Aerial Receiver Communication Systems 2 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 1 Unmanned Aerial System El Paso Between the ports of entry 27 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 71 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 31 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 170 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 24 Handheld equipment devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

    1 Portable Camera Tower 1 Sensor Repeater 2 Camera Refresh At points of entry, checkpoints 4 Non-intrusive Inspection Systems, including fixed and mobile 23 Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 1 Portable Contraband Detectors 19 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 1 Real time Radioscopy version 4 8 Personal Radiation Detectors Air and Marine 1 Aerial Downlink Communication Systems 7 Aerial Receivers 24 Night Vision Goggles 4 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 20 Global Positioning Systems 17 UAS Radio Systems Big Bend Between the ports of entry 7 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 29 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 1105 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 131 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles 1 Mid-range Camera Refresh 1 Improved Surveillance Capabilities for existing aerostat 27 Sensor Repeaters 27 Communications Repeaters At points of entry, checkpoints 7 Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 3 License Plate Readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed 12 Portable Contraband Detectors 7 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices 12 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 254 Personal Radiation Detectors 19 Mobile Automated Targeting Systems Air and Marine 6 Aerial Receiver Communication Systems 3 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras UAS Radio Systems Del Rio Between the ports of entry 3 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 74 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 47 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 868 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 174 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles 26 Mobile/Handheld Inspection Scopes and Sensors for checkpoints 1 Improved Surveillance Capabilities for existing aerostat 21 Sensor Repeaters 21 Communications Repeaters At points of entry, checkpoints 4 License Plate Readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed 13 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 3 Mobile Automated Targeting Systems 6 Land Automated Targeting Systems Air and Marine 8 Aerial Receiver Communication Systems 15 Night Vision Goggles 7 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 3 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras with marine capabilities Laredo Between the ports of entry 2 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 69 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 38 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 573 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 124 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles 38 Sensor Repeaters 38 Communications Repeaters At points of entry, checkpoints 1 Non-intrusive Inspection System 7 Fiber-optic Tank Inspection Scopes 19 License Plate Readers, including mobile, tactical, and fixed 2 Backscatter 14 Portable Contraband Detectors 2 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices 18 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 16 Personal Radiation Detectors 24 Mobile Automated Targeting Systems 3 Land Automated Targeting Systems Air and Marine 6 Aerial Receiver Communication Systems 2 Remote Video Terminals 3 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 6 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras with marine capability 2 Medium Lift Helicopters Rio Grande Valley Between the ports of entry 1 Integrated Fixed Towers (with relocation capability) 83 Fixed Camera Systems (with relocation capability), which include Remote Video Surveillance Systems 25 Mobile Surveillance Systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems 716 Unattended Ground Sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared 205 Handheld Equipment Devices, including handheld thermal imaging systems and night vision goggles.

    4 Portable Camera Towers 4 Sensor Repeaters 1 Communications Repeater 2 Camera Refresh At points of entry, checkpoints 1 Mobile Non-intrusive Inspection System 11 Fiberoptic Tank Inspection Scopes 1 License Plate Reader 2 Backscatter 2 Card Reader System 8 Portable Contraband Detectors 5 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices 18 Radiation Isotope Identification Devices updates 135 Personal Radiation Detectors Air and Marine 3 VADER Radar Systems 2 Aerial Downlink Communication Systems [[Page S4465]] 12 Aerial Receiver Communication Systems 2 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras 3 Omni-directional Antennae 28 Forward Looking Infrared Radar Cameras with marine capabilities 1 Unmanned Aerial System Mr. McCAIN. I see my distinguished friend from Vermont on the floor, who is always worth listening to, so I will be brief.

    I wish to share with our colleagues another aspect of this problem that we really have not talked about very much, and that is the issue of drugs. Drugs are a problem of enormous proportion in this country. We see the effects of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and others, and we see it is doing incredible damage to our Nation and particularly to our young people.

    This document is called the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Threat Assessment of 2013. Now, I am not going to go into a lot of the details, but there are some stark facts about the flow of drugs across our southern border that should disturb all of us. I quote: The Tucson and Phoenix areas remain the primary distribution hubs for ton quantities of marijuana in the southwest region-- Ton quantities of marijuana in the southwest region-- as Tucson and Phoenix-based sources sell throughout the United States.

    In other words, the drugs come up across the Arizona-Sonora border, they are tracked by guides on mountaintops and into Phoenix, and from Phoenix they are distributed throughout the country.

    The Phoenix field DEA--Drug Enforcement Agency--Phoenix field division's biannual drug price list for 2012 indicates marijuana in the Tucson and Phoenix metropolitan areas remained stable during the period January 2011 to 2012.

    Why is that important? Because the only real indication as to whether we are reducing a supply is the price of that supply. So when we see the price of marijuana on the street in Phoenix and Tucson is exactly what it was for the entire year, no matter what we see in the papers and on television of these large apprehensions, unless the price is going up, then we are not apprehending these drugs.

    So I just want to mention a couple of other facts to my colleagues and why I think we are not addressing the drug problem sufficiently in this legislation.

    The assessment continues: The retail price of methamphetamine decreased in the Phoenix area and now ranges from $500 to $1,000 per ounce.

    If there is a terrible drug on the market today, it has to be methamphetamine. I am told that one--one--ingestion of methamphetamine makes a person an addict. So what have we been able to do as far as methamphetamine? The retail price of methamphetamine decreased, which obviously means the supply has certainly not been impacted.

    Wholesale black tar heroin prices in Arizona have remained stable or decreased slightly, including market stability.

    Only 35 percent of the HIDTA-- The high density trafficking area-- respondents reported high cocaine availability in their respective jurisdictions. Intelligence indicates cocaine price increases in Mexico and Arizona during the past year may have impacted the supply of cocaine to the Arizona drug market, thus impacting other drug markets.

    So that is good news.

    Continuing to read from the threat assessment: The price per kilogram of cocaine increased $5,000 to $6,000 per kilogram in the Phoenix area.

    My friends, I know my colleagues are very busy, but I would at least have your staff read this threat assessment of 2013 in the State of Arizona. Again, I do not say that because I represent the State of Arizona. But these same people--the Drug Enforcement Agency--will tell you still the bulk of illegal drugs crossing our southern border comes through the Arizona-Tucson sector.

    So what is my recipe on this situation? Frankly, I do not know a real good recipe because clearly demand is either stable or on the rise in the United States of America depending on to whom you talk. In some places in America, the use of drugs is glamorized. In some places, it is kind of the sophisticated thing to do. I do not think there is any doubt that there are influences in the United States of America that increase the attractiveness of drugs to our citizens.

    I am not saying I know the answer, but I do think that as we address the issue of border security, we have to understand that if there is a demand for drugs in the streets of every major city in America, they will use all ultralights, they will use submarines, they will use tunnels, they will do whatever is necessary in order to get that supply to where there is a market.

    I will never forget being down in Colombia, where the government people there showed me a submarine the drug cartel people had built--a very sophisticated submarine. They had hired engineers to build it. It was one that travels under the water--not far but under the water.

    I said: How much did it cost them to build this? He said: Five million dollars.

    I said: Five millions dollars. That is a lot of money.

    The guy said: They make $15 million in one load--in one load.

    So I am not coming to this floor with a lot of answers, but I am coming to the floor of this Senate and saying that the drug issue in this country is a serious one, and if anybody thinks we are reducing the supply of those drugs, I think the facts contradict that, and it is time we started seriously as a society addressing what is killing our young and old Americans.

    So, again, I thank my colleagues for their consideration of this legislation. I really came to the floor to convince them that this is a far different situation from 1986. We have gone from 4,000 border agents to 21,000. We have put in all kinds of barriers to the border. But, most importantly, as the Presiding Officer from Delaware pointed out earlier today, we now have technology that can surveil and interdict people from crossing our border. Our challenge is to get it done.

    I thank my colleague from Vermont for his patience, and I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.

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