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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Chairman, the first coin ever minted in the Republic of Mexico contained the motto, ``Liberty in Law,'' something we understand so well in this country, that there can be no liberty without law. And fundamental to that is law enforcement, and this is a law enforcement issue.

This is a no-brainer. It really illustrates how utterly out of touch the Democrat minority is with the Nation's concern with the lack of law enforcement at our border.

My good friend from Arizona, who was the County Treasurer in Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, just pointed out to me that you experienced cost to your local taxpayers of $1.3 billion a year because of the cost of undocumented illegal aliens in Maricopa County.

In my work on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I've discovered that the Federal Government is only prosecuting about 15 percent of the illegal aliens entering the country in the Tucson sector. So 85 percent of those that they even catch are released, and they return voluntarily across the border so that they come right back.

There are wildly different levels of enforcement up and down the border. The people of the United States, all of us, understand particularly in the State of Texas, which I am so proud to represent, the importance of a healthy relationship with Mexico and the importance of a guest worker program that allows people to come and go freely with our number two trading partner in the world. Canada is our number one trading partner, and Mexico is our number two trading partner. We need a healthy back-and-forth relationship with our friends in Mexico, and the only way to do that is to have the laws enforced equally and fairly as to everyone.

There is no liberty without law enforcement. It is the first responsibility of our State officials to enforce the law. We know under the Constitution that the police powers are reserved to the States under the 10th Amendment because the Founders understood that the local sheriff, the Governor, and the State police were primarily responsible for protecting the lives and property of the people of their States and their communities.

How many times does it happen every day that a bank robber is arrested or a money launderer is arrested by the State police or a county sheriff, and then because there are Federal charges involved the local prosecutor will hand the individual over to Federal prosecutors for prosecution? Entering the country illegally, crossing the border, is a Federal violation. Those individuals are often picked up by State or local police, who work every day arm in arm with Federal law enforcement authorities to protect the lives and property of the people of America. This is a no-brainer. Local and State law enforcement authorities do it every day.

Enforcing the law is fundamental to who we are as a Nation, because as the Republic of Mexico said on the first coin they ever minted: liberty in law. It's fundamental to who we are as Americans. If we are going to restore the healthy relationship that we've always enjoyed with the people of Mexico, it begins with secure borders, with the uniform--equal--enforcement of the law and by ensuring that the people who come here do so legally and properly so that we know who you are, how long you're going to stay, when you're going home, and that you're not accessing government benefits and costing the people of Maricopa County or the people of the United States money that we simply cannot afford.

As generous as we are, we are out of money. This Nation is living on borrowed income that our kids and grandchildren will have to pay off. It's unacceptable. This new constitutional conservative majority in the House is determined to see the budget balanced, our laws enforced, our borders secured, and this Nation of laws--the greatest democracy ever created in the history of the world--returned to the constitutional set of principles on which it was founded. That begins with liberty in law, which this amendment so wisely attempts to restore. So I strongly support the amendment, and I urge its adoption.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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