DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 13, 2007)
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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentlelady. And I want to commend the committee for bringing this bill forward, but really take some difference in the remarks that were made regarding the gentlelady from Virginia's amendment on the 287(g) program. I couldn't think of anything that would be more effective in helping us enforce the law in the interior of this country than additional funds for this program.
As some of the speakers prior to me have said, we need all hands on deck as far as the criminal population that has made its way into this country. We need the ability to go after these criminals, in the words of the gentleman from Kentucky, these rapists, these murderers and these thieves. And there is no more effective way to identify them than to empower the folks, the first responders that are on the ground in our communities across this country.
Now, some of the words from the gentleman of North Carolina, the chairman of the subcommittee, were that, in fact, we have too much money in this program and it hasn't been used, and, in fact, they are unobligated funds. Well, then I would say to the gentleman and to my colleagues that we haven't done our job, because we have got to do our job to put the vision out there that we intend to get serious about the illegal immigration population, especially those that are criminals in this country.
The American people expect us to enforce the law. This vehicle allows the Federal Government to step up to the plate to provide local law enforcement and our agencies at home the necessary resources and the tools with which to identify and apprehend the illegal population that has run afoul of our law in the interior of this country.
Not more than a month ago we saw the individuals in New Jersey; we saw them apprehended, planning a terrorist attack on Fort Dix in that State. Later, we come to find out that those individuals had had various run-ins with the law, and in fact, combined, 75 times had been involved with some type of either traffic violation or other criminal interdiction, but yet these individuals were never identified as being illegal.
We have got to make sure that that scenario is not repeated. We have got to empower the most powerful force we've got, which is that on the grounds and in our local community.
So I would urge my colleagues to join the gentlelady from Virginia Beach in making sure that we adequately fund this program and insist that our local law enforcement agencies have the necessary tools and the resources that they need to assist in enforcing the law.
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