Allen Hails Strong Stand to Secure Our Borders and Protect Virginia and America
Passage of Massive Border Security Bill to Help Fortify Both Land and Sea
Standing on the dock at the Port of Virginia in late August, Senator George Allen (R-VA) strongly urged lawmakers back in Washington to take action on securing the nation's land and maritime borders, an action accomplished last night as Congress sent the President a $34.8 billion dollar Homeland Security appropriations bill to fortify both the southern border with Mexico and the nation's seaports. Hailing the legislation as a "vital step forward in protecting America," Senator Allen once again repeated that a nation "that can not protect its own borders can not protect its own destiny."
"I have long advocated that we must secure our ports and our borders without rewarding illegal behavior with amnesty," Senator Allen. "There's no better investment that we can make for the country and future generations than protecting the nation's homeland. This positive action makes a significant investment to secure our southern border and give our nation's ports the necessary support to thwart potential attacks by these vile, hate-filled terrorists that we must stand united against in this Global War on Terror."
The bill provides the Department of Homeland Security with $480 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, established to investigate, report and track nuclear and radiological threats in the United States. The spending measure also continues a glide path to dramatically increase the numbers of assets protecting U.S. borders, including: adding 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, over 2,700 new detention beds, $1.2 billion for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology, and 526 new Customs and Border Protection officers for ports of entry inspections.
"As I have stated many times during this debate on how to handle the influx of illegal immigrants to Virginia and other States, we are a nation of immigrants, and a nation of laws. Both ideals can be achieved in a compassionate, appropriate and effective way, but our first and foremost priority must be to secure our borders," said Senator Allen. "The American people deserve borders that are secure. By providing resources such as 700 miles of fencing, Border Patrol agents, more detention facilities and advanced technology, we are strengthening our resolve to stop the flow of those who seek to come here illegally and flaunt our laws of citizenship."
In addition to protecting our land borders, this bill contains significant resources to patrol and secure our maritime borders. Specifically, under this bill, the Coast Guard receives robust resources to improve maritime and port security. Of the $8.4 billion provided for the Coast Guard, $3.9 billion is for maritime border security, $2 billion is for port security and $1.1 billion is for deepwater assets.
"As I have done on numerous occasions since my days as Governor, I visited the docks at the Norfolk International Terminal in late August to see and receive briefings on what has been implemented to secure our port against terrorism and other illicit activities," said Senator Allen. "Fortunately, the Virginia Port Authority has been proactive in assessing its security needs and implementing plans and infrastructure to meet those requirements and I am pleased that in this legislation that we passed last night, Virginia and other ports nationwide will greatly benefit."
On his September 11th visit to the Pentagon to meet with the loved ones of those who died on that fateful day five years ago, Senator Allen and Mrs. Allen reminded those who they met of the need to remain vigilant and united in the current war on terror. "This legislation," says Senator Allen, "shows resolve and focuses our resources on the greatest threats facing our nation including the need to strengthen and protect America's homeland and its borders."