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Legislation to Deploy Border Fence Cosponsored by Taylor, Passes House

Washington, Sep 14 - Western North Carolina Representative Charles Taylor voted in support today of H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a bill that will protect our nation’s borders from illegal immigrants and guard against the threat of terrorism. Rep. Taylor is an original cosponsor of the legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 283 to 138. The Secure Fence Act mandates enhanced Border Patrol operations, physical barriers, and state-of-the-art technology along the southwest border – including reinforced fencing to block illegal aliens and their vehicles.

“Illegal immigration is a huge concern to people in Western North Carolina and all across the nation,” said Taylor. “I held a Town Hall on Immigration in Hendersonville last Saturday and nearly 400 people attended to voice their concerns on this issue. A country cannot exist without secure borders; this bill is yet another step toward that goal.”

The Secure Fence Act of 2006:

  • Provides for more than 700 miles of two-layered, reinforced fencing along the southern border with Mexico at critical, highly-populated areas; it also requires an evaluation of infrastructure needs along the northern border with Canada;
  • Mandates that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) achieve and maintain operational control over the entire border through a “virtual fence” that deploys cameras, ground sensors, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and integrated surveillance technology; and,
  • Requires DHS to provide all necessary authority to border personnel to disable fleeing vehicles, similar to the authority held by the United States Coast Guard for maritime vessels

Border fencing has proven to be an especially effective deterrent against illegal immigration. In 1996, Congress mandated the construction of a 14-mile fence along the San Diego-Mexico border to stop drug trafficking and the flow of illegal immigration. In that region, illegal alien apprehensions have dropped from approximately 200,000 in 1992 to about 9,000 in 2005. Crime rates in that area have dropped by 47% since construction of the fence.

House Democrats offered a 116-page substitute bill to H.R. 6061, which was defeated by a vote of 193 to 224. The Democrat substitute had no provisions for a border fence, and indeed many Democratic Members took to the floor to speak out against a fence along our southern border as “ineffective” and “an insult to our neighbors in Mexico.”

“My colleagues on the other side of the political aisle are on the wrong side of the American people, when it comes to securing our borders,” said Taylor. “They throw do-nothing bills onto the House floor in a desperate attempt at political cover – while they continue to oppose the most basic protection against illegal aliens: a border fence.”

H.R. 6061 represents another step forward in the fight against illegal immigration. Under the Republican Congress, federal funding for the U.S. Border Patrol – for personnel, surveillance equipment and training – has more than tripled over the last ten years. Congress has also doubled the manpower of the Border Patrol in that same time period –more than 11,250 agents manned our borders by the end of federal Fiscal Year 2005. Those increases came about as a result of forward-thinking funding decisions by the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Subcommittee (now known as the SSJC Subcommittee), of which Congressman Taylor is the second-most senior member.

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