PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 4437, BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - December 15, 2005)
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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrey), my good friend, for yielding me time.
I rise in support of this rule and the underlying legislation, H.R. 4437. Let me just say at the outset, because I know this will be a very heated debate over the next several days, let me say I have had nothing but the utmost cooperation from my good friend, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee. We did report out a piece of legislation which did pass by voice vote. And while there were differences along the way, they were resolved equitably. I wanted to commend Mr. Thompson from Mississippi for that and put that on the record.
This legislation, which incorporates both the bill adopted in the Homeland Security Committee and then the bill adopted in the Judiciary Committee under Chairman Sensenbrenner, is a wide-ranging bill. All of us realize that more has to be done on the issue of immigration.
This is probably the first step in a three-legged stool. Much more has to be done. This is a very, very significant first step in protecting our borders, because until the borders are protected, we cannot have any type of meaningful immigration reform.
Just several of the high points is that it requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to do whatever has to be done to secure the border, using whatever physical infrastructure is required, whatever technology is required, whatever personnel is required. It also for the first time requires the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Defense to utilize military technology to control the borders. This is a significant first step and I believe very, very important.
It also ends the practice of catch and release, whereby hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants coming across the border would be captured and then released back into society and asked to return at some time for a hearing. Many, of course, never did. And the last several years we saw a significant increase in immigrants coming across the southern border illegally other than Mexicans, OTMs, which raises significant homeland security and national security issues.
This has gone beyond just being an immigration issue, just an issue with social aspects. It also has very, very severe homeland security, internal security and national security issues. The attacks of 9/11 made us aware of that. That is why I urge adoption of the rule and the underlying legislation.
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