Homeland Security Chairman Carter Statement on H.J. Res. 79, the Border Safety & Security Act

Oct 10, 2013

House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 79, the Border Safety and Security Act:

"Mr. Chairman, I rise to present the House with a bill that sustains our critical border security and enforcement operations within the Department of Homeland Security.

"Right now, at this very moment, there are brave men and women patrolling our border, manning our ports of entry, and conducting border enforcement, drug interdiction, and investigative missions, but not being paid.

"Right now, at this very moment, border security and enforcement operations are being conducted, but with minimal, essential personnel.

"And, right now, at this very moment, the E-Verify system is not operating and employers cannot check the lawful immigration status of prospective employees.

"So, this bill before us provides for continuing appropriations to ensure frontline agents along our borders receive their pay and certain components of DHS can carry out their border security and enforcement missions at full strength.

"Let me remind my colleagues that our border is not secure.  In fact, our border is constantly under siege from smugglers and traffickers alike and it is our duty to ensure sufficient resources are provided to carry our necessary security, enforcement, and interdiction efforts.

"And that is precisely what this bill before us does—

"This bill ensures Border Patrol can fully conduct its operations from San Diego to Brownsville and all along our Northern border as well;

"This bill ensures that ICE can fully conduct its investigations;

"This bill ensures that the Coast Guard can fully conduct interdiction in both the source and transit zone and off the coasts of California, Texas, Florida, and all maritime approaches to the United States; and

"This bill ensures that our immigration verification and biometric identity systems are up and running.

"Mr. Chairman, all of us are aware that the government is shutdown despite numerous attempts to move forward.  We have repeatedly offered versions of a continuing resolution to sustain the government’s operations… to no avail.

"Furthermore, we have offered to negotiate, to convene a conference, and to work out the differences in a professional and orderly manner, but such offers have been refused out of hand.

"So, Mr. Chairman, this bill is yet another offer to the other side of the aisle to at least fund vital components of the government. 

"We have a duty to ensure our borders and coastlines are safe and secure and that our laws are being enforced…and this bill does so without increasing the rate of spending and in a manner entirely consistent with the text of the non-controversial H.J. Res 59.

"In short, this bill before us today is about getting our priorities right. 

"It is my hope that passage of this bill will not only support our border security and frontline agencies, but also lead to a re-opening of the entire Federal government.

"In closing, I urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to lower their partisan blinders, come to the table, and work out the current impasse so that we can get on with the business of fixing our Nation’s budgetary mess.

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I reserve the balance of my time."