'Acting Like It's Done' : Homeland Security's Gaping Holes

By Rep. Mark E. Souder (R-IN)
Congressional Record
June 12, 2007 (H6273)

Mr. Chairman, I want to point out a tremendous irony that is happening here in the Capitol Building today. In the other body [the US Senate], the President of the United States has come over to lobby for an immigration bill and the other body is considering this. Yet we are debating a homeland security bill where we have had Republicans come down to the floor who say it’s too expensive, that it’s spending too much money, but if you took this times four on an annual basis for 5 years, you couldn’t begin to meet the standards that are in the Senate bill.

We have people like Mr. Rogers of Kentucky pointing out that we’re mandating Homeland Security to go check everybody in these detention centers but without any money for it. Unless your intention is complete and pure amnesty, how would you do that if you don’t fund programs?

Mr. Rogers of Alabama pointed out that we don’t have a realistic program for training Border Patrol, that it’s costing too much. Yeah. Well, how are we going to ramp this up two or three times if we don’t have money to do the Border Patrol people?

[The DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008] is an advertisement, a walking billboard for the gaping holes in the bill of the [US Senate].

On pages 12 and 13 of this bill, and I agree with all these criticisms as we worked through our subcommittee, it says that they have to define activities, milestones and costs of implementing the program for the Secure Border Initiative. You mean they don’t have that? You mean they’re promising that we’re going to have a secure border and they don’t even have the cost estimates? Yes, that’s correct.

Number 2 here on page 12 says, demonstrate how the activities will further the objectives of it and have a multi-year strategic plan. You mean they don’t have a multi-year strategic plan? No, they don’t.

Identify funding and staffing. You mean they haven’t done that?

Describe how the plan addresses security needs at the northern border. They don’t even have the date set for when they’re going to develop a plan for the northern border, yet we’re debating a bill in the other body that says that we’re supposedly securing our border?

On page 37, it says, complete the schedule for the full implementation of a biometric exit program or certification that such program is not possible within 5 years. Well, I’ve talked to US-VISIT. They haven’t even been talked to about it. Of course they can’t meet 5 years. We’re talking 10 years minimum.

What are they debating over in the other body? When the American public looks at what’s happening in the Capitol Building on the same day and we’re passing an appropriations bill that has theoretically looking at a biometric exit maybe in the next 5 years and the other body is acting like it’s done, what’s going on here?

On page 59, there’s a direct challenge to the question of our matching system. Now, the other day we had somebody with TB who had the warning on the screen, one we actually caught and we released him. But what we have is a question of are our lists even valid and there are restrictions on that.

Other parts of the bill are actually going to delay the implementation of the fence by saying that, for example, 75 percent of the land in Arizona is actually either government-owned, Native-American-owned, it’s a wilderness area, it’s a range; and it says we have to work out each of those things before we can put any fence in.

Another part of the bill says we have to work with State and local governments in their areas. How in the world can the other body be making these promises when this bill points out the gaping holes?

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