Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Our Borders Need More Than Rhetoric

President Bush delivered a public address last night on immigration reform, calling for 6,000 National Guard troops to help patrol our border. While he tried to bring a sense of urgency to the issue, his record provides a clear picture of his position on border security.
Despite efforts by Congress in 2004 to add 2,000 new border patrol agents each year for five years, the Bush Administration continues to underfund border security in his annual budget request. Instead of asking for the full 2,000 new border agents authorized each year, Bush asked for just 210 new agents last year, and just 1,500 new agents this year.

The Appropriations Committee will begin to mark-up the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2007 tomorrow. Although the current bill only funds 1,200 new agents, I can assure you my colleagues and I will do what we can to make sure we provide enough funding for the full 2,000 border agents authorized in the 2004 Intelligence Reform Act.

It is time to start taking border security seriously, and make it a priority in our budget process.