Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona's only Member on the House Committee on Homeland Security, today issued the following statement criticizing the Senate for eliminating funds from the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 to expand the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and deploy additional security personnel and resources to the border:
"Is it any wonder why Arizonans are so fed up with Washington on border security? This funding is critical to the planned security surge along the border. While we need far more manpower and resources than this plan would provide, it would be a first step in the right direction. Now instead of joining the House in increasing the commitment to better protect border communities, the Senate is actually standing in our way.
"This is no time to be playing political games with public safety. The leadership in the House should help us fix the Senate's mistake and keep this provision in the final bill."
After months of pressure from Representative Ann Kirkpatrick and many other Arizonans who have been calling for the Border Patrol to be expanded, the Department of Homeland Security requested in June that the House of Representatives add funding to the Supplemental Appropriations Act to tighten security along the borders. Support for 1,200 new USBP agents, as well as other additional border security personnel and two new unmanned aerial systems ("drones"), was included in the bill as it passed the House on July 1st. In a late night vote on Thursday, the U.S. Senate cut that funding from the legislation and sent it back to the House for approval.
Rep. Kirkpatrick has been a leader on border security issues in her first term, and she has been pushing the federal government to stop ducking the tough choices and start fulfilling its responsibilities.
While she is opposed to SB 1070, the Congresswoman feels that it has drawn much-needed attention to long-ignored issues, and she is calling on the White House and Congress to not waste the opportunity to make progress. Rep. Kirkpatrick has condemned the bill, the boycotts and the federal lawsuit against the state for doing nothing to help move forward on border security and immigration reform.
In May, the Congresswoman introduced the Southern Border Security Act which requires 3,500 new Border Patrol agents to be hired, trained and deployed at the U.S.-Mexican border by the end of next year. Last spring, she introduced the Border Violence Prevention Act of 2009 to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with improved weapons, better body armor and the modern technology they need to get the job done, along with legislation to give local, state and tribal law enforcement in Arizona new access to resources and information.
Rep. Kirkpatrick also introduced the Anti-Cash Smuggling Act of 2010 to allow CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to crack down on cartel use of stored value and prepaid cards to launder money, led the campaign against the White House's proposed budget cuts to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) and personally toured security operations along the border.
The Congresswoman feels strongly that amnesty is not an option and that illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in this country must be deported without exception. No one should be given a free ride -- any others must earn the privilege of staying in this country or go back home. They need to prove they are working and paying taxes, pay a fine, and not only learn English but be able to read the Constitution and recite the Pledge of Allegiance like Arizona children do in school every morning.