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  1. #1
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    May 2006

    Congressional leaders get tour of border security in San Diego

    Posted: 08/04/2013
    Last Updated: 21 hours ago

    SAN DIEGO - U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas led a group of eight congressional members to San Diego on Sunday to get a first-hand look at border security.

    U.S. Border Patrol Chief, Michael Fischer, accompanied members on their trip at the border Sunday morning.

    Besides San Diego, the congressional group will also make stops in Tucson, Ariz. and the Rio Grande Valley to examine border security on their southwest trip.

    While meeting with the Border Patrol in San Diego, congressional members saw demonstrations on tunnel detection technology and received aerial and ground tours of the terrain.

    They also met with the U.S. Coast Guard, toured maritime port security operations and took a helicopter tour.

    "As the House nears a vote on H.R. 1417, the Border Security Results Act, which demands a national border security strategy, operational control and real accountability, it is important for members to see the Southwest border terrain and security technology first-hand," McCaul said in a statement.
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  2. #2
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    House Republicans Tour Southern Border

    Aug 5, 2013 7:31pm
    By Serena Marshall & John Parkinson
    abc news

    As the House of Representatives assesses its strategy to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, a group of Republican congressmen are starting their August recess with a tour of the southern border.

    Unlike a border tour last March for a bipartisan group of senators, the House’s current three-day tour features only Republicans: House committee on Homeland Security chairman Mike McCaul of Texas, former House “Group of Eight” member Raul Labrador of Idaho, Trent Franks of Arizona, Leonard Lance of New Jersey, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, Rick Crawford of Arkansas and Richard Hudson of North Carolina. The group is accompanied by Border Patrol Chief Michael Fischer.

    The group of eight began their tour of the 1,969-mile-long border Sunday in San Diego, followed by a visit to Tucson, Ariz. today, with a trip to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas scheduled for Tuesday.

    In a recent statement, McCaul said the trip was important “for Members to see the Southwest border terrain and security technology first-hand.”

    “As we have witnessed this year, increased enforcement in Arizona has pushed illegal border crossings into Texas,” McCaul said. “We cannot continue the Administration’s ad hoc approach of patching holes only to see illegal immigration shift instead of stop, and we can’t continue to throw money at the problem without an idea of what is necessary to bridge gaps in security. This trip will demonstrate how much still needs to be accomplished, and what tools can help get us there.”

    McCaul also said the lawmakers will have the opportunity to speak with “experts on the ground including Border Patrol and Coast Guard, and local citizens about efforts to secure the border.”

    In California, the group received tours of the border and observed a demonstration on tunnel detection technology. The tour continued in Arizona today with demonstrations of unmanned aerial systems.

    Speaking with WBT-Radio in North Carolina, Hudson said that Sunday’s tour of San Diego, where there is a double-layer fence, illustrated the need for a “comprehensive strategy” because the fence has created a “maritime problem.”

    “One of our top priorities is we’ve got to get operational control of this border. The border is not secure,” Hudson said. “One of the things I learned yesterday talking to our Customs and Border Patrol folks is we need a strategy, a comprehensive strategy for security of our entire border… [Now] we are just pushing the problem out to the sea.”

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has signaled that the House “will have a vote on a series of bills at some point,” including measures to address border security and another not-yet-written bill to ensure that Congress not hold kids liable for illegal acts of their parents.

    Cantor, as well as other House Republican leaders, insists that the GOP’s strategy is “going to be a lot more deliberative and smart” than the comprehensive approach the Senate took to pass legislation earlier this summer.

    “We know the system is broken. We want to fix it,” Cantor said during an interview with Fox News Sunday. “We will be addressing the issue of immigration in the House, according to our terms, not the way the Senate did, because there’s a lot of doubt being cast on whether the folks who voted for that know even what, in the end, was voted on because of the scramble to get the votes in the last piece of that legislative activity.”

    In late March, half of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate participated in a tour along the border in Nogales, part of the Tucson sector. Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake hosted Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

    The Senate voted June 27 to approve its version of immigration reform, which included a $46 billion “border surge” that doubles the size of the Border Patrol from its current force of 21,000 and mandates the completion of the 700-mile border fence authorized by Congress in 2006.
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    House Panel Tours Texas-Mexico Border

    August 6, 2013 4:58 PM

    MISSION, Texas (AP) – The chairman of the House Homeland Security committee said Tuesday in South Texas that the U.S. Border Patrol’s resources in the area are “woefully inadequate.”

    U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, made the comments after cruising the Rio Grande with Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety officials in Mission.

    McCaul’s House bill calling for a plan to secure the border is expected to be the first of several immigration-related bills taken up after the chamber’s August recess. McCaul is also leading a group of congressman along the border, stopping this weekend in California and Arizona. Accompanying McCaul on Tuesday were U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, and Leonard Lance, R-New Jersey.

    The stakes of immigration reform were made evident to the group when they encountered a body floating in the Rio Grande on Tuesday.

    “My colleagues and I saw firsthand the tragedies of this border and the loss of life when we saw a body floating just a few minutes ago on this river,” McCaul said. “And that is a sad fact of this border.”

    Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Tirado said the body was recovered later by the Mission Fire Department.

    McCaul’s bill is a stark contrast to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate. The House has rejected that and is instead taking up individual components that so far do not include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

    His measure describes a list of metrics that homeland security officials would have to report to Congress, which would be used to determine what sort of resources work and what is needed where.

    “In this sector, it’s woefully inadequate,” McCaul said. “This sector probably needs more resources than any on the U.S.-Mexico border.” McCaul said Tuesday that he expects his bill to be the first the full House takes up.

    “Fencing alone is not going to solve this problem, it’s got to be a comprehensive strategy, a variety of assets whether they be fixed towers, mobile towers, (Department of Defense) assets from Afghanistan, aviation assets to see on the ground what’s happening,” McCaul said. “Only by doing that can we really calculate with metrics if we’re being successful and if we’re achieving results.”

    While arrests of immigrants crossing the border illegally had fallen for several years, the number of arrests has surged in the southernmost tip of Texas — more than 120,000 since Oct. 1, an increase of more than 50 percent on the same period last year, Tirado said. Most of that growth has come from what the Border Patrol terms “other-than-Mexicans,” primarily Central American immigrants who take the more direct route from their countries into the U.S.

    The sector is about to see a bump in personnel. On Monday, a first group of about 50 trainees left for the Border Patrol academy in New Mexico, Tirado said. Every week for the next six weeks, a similarly sized class will leave for training, and a new group of academy graduates is expected to return to the sector later this month, he said.

    Brooks County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Benny Martinez, who attended McCaul’s visit Tuesday, said any help is appreciated. His rural county about an hour north of the border has been stretched in recent years by the number of bodies found on its arid ranches.

    He said he hoped a drop in the number of bodies found in the county in July as compared to last year was a sign the situation might improve.

    Martinez said 52 bodies had been recovered in his county since Jan. 1. A record 129 bodies were recovered in the county in all of 2012.

    “Anything that’s going to deter, save lives is welcome,” he said.
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