BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. McCAIN. I thank my colleague from Texas and other Senators from border States who are deeply concerned about the issue of broken borders and the drug cartels and human smuggling that has put the lives and security of our American citizens in some danger.
A fact: The kidnapping capital of the world is Mexico City. The city that ranks second in kidnapping to Mexico City is Phoenix, AZ, which is a long way from the border. It happens to be a place where drop houses exist where people are held for ransom, where unspeakable cruelties are inflicted upon those who are being smuggled, where they have become a distribution center for drugs coming up through the so-called central corridor. We are badly in need of assistance.
Yesterday, May 26, 2010, 12:20 p.m.:
Sierra Vista, Ariz.--Acting on a tip, Sierra Vista police went to a drop house and recovered close to 2,000 pounds of marijuana Tuesday.
Police spokesman Sgt. Lawrence Boutte said officers found a total of 83 bails weighing 2,054 pounds.
The marijuana has an estimated street value of $821,000.
Police arrested a 21-year-old Mexican citizen. Officers said the man was expected to be charged with possession of marijuana for sale. It's not known if the man was in the U.S. illegally.
Boutte said drug smugglers use stash houses to store drugs coming from Mexico before transporting them elsewhere.
``Elsewhere'' means different parts of the country.
By the way, there is an argument that this amendment may be unconstitutional. I remind my colleagues, the Constitution--article I, section 8, clause 15--preserves to the Congress the power to call ``forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,'' including the immigration laws. This is an independent constitutional power that does not rest on any power exercised by the President as the Chief Executive in article II.
A recent example of Congress's power to task the executive branch in this area, even outside calling forth the militia, is the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in which the Congress tasked the Secretary of Homeland Security to secure the border. Even though Congress was not relying on its article I, section 8, clause 15 power, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was and is constitutional.
The President announced he was sending 1,200 National Guard to the southwest border. This is one-fifth of what is needed. If the Congress will not heed the call of the Governors of Arizona and Texas, who have asked the President to send troops to the border, the Congress should do so now.
During Operation Jump Start, the National Guard was deployed to the southwest border and provided logistical support, conducted surveillance, and built and repaired critical infrastructure. Until DHS has the technology and infrastructure in place to fully secure the border, at least 6,000 National Guard must be deployed to assist the Border Patrol in stopping the illegal immigration, drug smugglers, and human traffickers flowing across the border.
The borders are broken. There has been improvement. We have shown in San Diego, in Texas, even in the Yuma sector of Arizona that we can secure our border, but we need manpower, surveillance, and fences. We can do it. We have an obligation to our citizens to secure our border and allow them to lead lives where they do not live in fear of home invasions, of property being destroyed, where well-armed, well-equipped drug smugglers, as well as human smugglers, operate with--if not with impunity, certainly with great latitude.
There will be the statement made that the border is more secure. I am sure the Senator from New York will say that. The fact is the border is not secure. It is more secure; it is not secure. The citizens in the southern part of my State do not have a secure environment in which to live and raise their children.
Every enforcement agent on the border with whom I have talked says we need additional National Guard and we need it now. I am sure that in New York City and other major cities in America there is a secure environment, frankly, thanks to Mayor Giuliani. This is not the case in parts of my State, including Phoenix, AZ, having the dubious distinction of being No. 2 as far as the kidnapping capital of the world is concerned.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The time of the Senator has expired.
Mr. McCAIN. I appreciate the involvement of Senators from other parts of the United States of America. I invite them to come to the border and talk with my citizens. I invite them to talk with the Border Patrol agents who are overwhelmed in their task in trying to stop the flow of goods and human beings across our border. I hope they will weigh in on behalf of the human rights of the people who are being terribly abused, kept in drop houses, held for ransom, and subjected to unspeakable atrocities. It is another human rights argument for getting our border secure. We can get it more secure by sending these National Guard troops to the border, as former Governor and now Secretary of Homeland Security called for in 2006.
I urge a ``yea'' vote on this amendment.
I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT