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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CARTER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. CARTER. Mr. Chairman, I strongly endorse robust enforcement of our Nation's immigration laws. I happen to be from the State that has more of the Mexican border than any other State in the union. We are very familiar with that border. We have been living with it for our entire lives, and for the life of our State, from before the time when it was a State when it was a republic.

Our law enforcement officers see an epidemic of lawlessness flowing across the southern border of the United States, and our law enforcement officers in our area want to be involved in protecting the life, liberty, and property of Texans, and they are perfectly willing to be involved in protecting the life, liberty, and property of every American citizen. They are deeply concerned with what is going on at the border, and they want to be involved. They have volunteered to go into the 287(g) program, which gives them the kind of training which this Congress believes, and has made it a point to believe, that they should have, to know how to deal with immigrants who are looked upon as having special law enforcement needs.

The best I've been able to figure, I don't know who's imposing this on the people of Boulder, Colorado, but it is not being imposed on anybody else that I know of. It's a volunteer program. Law enforcement officers go and seek 287(g) training so that they can meet the standards that those who deal in immigration issues want them to know and understand. That's why we created 287(g), to make knowledgeable law enforcement officers at the local level who could be effective in assisting those who have the Federal requirement and the Federal duty to protect our borders.

I only agree with one thing that I have heard from my colleague: I agree we are failing at protecting our borders. And I would argue that this committee has done everything and continues to do everything that we can do to protect our borders, and this bill does everything it can do and does not short the people who protect our borders any because of the dangerousness that we are aware of on our southern border.

I don't understand why enlisting volunteers to assist in law enforcement would be offensive to anyone. Now if the folks in Colorado don't want to be part of the 287(g) program, don't volunteer. This is not hard stuff. But, you know, if you are one or two lone border patrolmen out in the middle of Brewster County in Texas, you've got a lonely, dangerous job. You've got some people coming through for economic reasons, and other people coming through who are clearly violators of the laws of the State of Texas and the laws of the United States, and our law enforcement officers who believe in their oath of office to protect people that they are there to protect. They volunteer for this program so that they can assist the border patrolmen in the effort both of the economic immigrants and the criminal immigrants that come across our border.

And don't tell a law enforcement officer that he's not happy to see a sheriff when he sees a body of armed men packing packs across open country in Texas.

This is a good program. It is a program that has effectively trained law enforcement to understand the rules that Federal agents have to play by, and still gives them the authority to assist people who need their assistance.

I would argue that the safest part of the Texas border is the part of the border where local law enforcement and local sheriffs and Operation Stonegarden in other areas--the safest part is where local law enforcement has joined with Federal law enforcement to enforce the laws of this land. I think anything short of that is leaving resources on the table that will protect the United States of America.

So I very much oppose this gentleman's amendment, and I very much hope that our colleagues will realize that we need every resource available, and in my opinion even troops, to protect the American border and make sure Americans citizens and their property and their lives are safe. So I urge my colleagues to not support this gentleman's amendment, to oppose this gentleman's amendment.


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