Cornyn Addresses Smart Borders Conference

In: All News   Posted 10/27/2004

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee, addressed the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) conference, "Smart Borders: The Implementation of US VISIT and Other Biometric Border Control Systems" Wednesday. Below are excerpts from his speech: "We’re making strides in bolstering our security. Some have suggested, wrongly, that our security needs dictate the need to build a wall between our countries, or deploy military troops along our border. Security must be achieved without causing irreparable damage to mutually beneficial trade and economic relationships, which create jobs and a better quality of life for those on both sides of the border. We also need to have common sense policies that reward those who obey our laws."I am personally committed to achieving an entry-exit system that meets our duty to protect the security of the American people, while allowing for legitimate traffic and trade along our border. We need to seek common sense policies that make border crossings quick, safe and as efficient as possible for those who follow our laws – but also form a solid barrier against those who violate our laws or seek to do us harm."The US-VISIT program is an effort that I believe is essential to this goal. It provides us with a continuum of security measures that will help ensure that those who follow the law will benefit from easier travel, while dramatically improving our ability to detect those who violate our immigration laws."Even at this early point, US-VISIT is working. Since the rollout in our airports and seaports, more than 10 million foreign visitors have been processed. And we’ve been able to arrest or deny admission to nearly 300 criminals or immigration law violators – including convicted rapists, drug traffickers, federal penitentiary escapees, people convicted of armed robbery and manslaughter, and numerous immigration violators and those attempting visa fraud."In an effort to reform immigration policy and re-center law enforcement on border security, Cornyn introduced the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (S. 1387) in July, 2003. The legislation is a comprehensive immigration reform to develop a temporary worker program and strengthen homeland security efforts at the borders. Identifying those who are here to work and then return home would allow law enforcement to focus on those who attempt to enter the United States illegally, or worse, enter for purposes of committing terrorist acts. Sen. Cornyn chairs the subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights & Property Rights. He is the only former judge on the Judiciary Committee and served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.