GAO Testimony Confirms Republicans Failed to Protect the American People
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on reported GAO testimony that concludes that vulnerabilities exist that would permit "terrorists or others involved in criminal activity pass freely into the United States from Canada or Mexico with little or no chance of being detected":
"Today's testimony by the GAO is alarming. It is completely unacceptable that nearly five years since 9/11, Republicans have caused our nation's borders to be more insecure than ever.
"The record is clear: for more than five years, the President has failed to secure our borders and to enforce our immigration laws. Republicans in Congress have abetted that failure by repeatedly underfunding the border patrol, refusing to hold the President accountable, and fighting among themselves to destroy real immigration reform.
"Seven times over the last four and a half years, House Republicans rejected Democratic amendments to increase resources. Had the Republicans not rejected all these amendments, there would be 6,600 more Border Patrol agents, 14,000 more detention beds, and 2,700 more immigration enforcement agents than there are now.
"Likewise, the President's record in enforcing our immigration laws is abysmal. Under President Clinton, the federal government initiated fines for worksite immigration violations against 417 companies in 1999. By 2004, the Bush Administration issued fine notices to only three companies.
"The American people and Democrats support strong border enforcement and enforcing existing immigration laws. Democrats propose a New Direction with strong border security, effective law enforcement, comprehensive immigration reform, and the full implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
"It is time for a New Direction."