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Contact: David Host 202-225-4759

Pearce Travels with President to Artesia; Renews Call for “Third Way” to Secure the Border Now
2nd District lawmaker welcomes President’s dialogue with his constituents while continuing to identify serious flaws in “comprehensive” approach

Washington, D.C., Jun 6 -  

Having traveled with President Bush aboard Air Force One for the President’s visit to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia today, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce continued to express his serious reservations regarding the “comprehensive” approach the President has endorsed.

The 2nd District lawmaker also urged Congress and the President to consider a “third way” that could bridge the gulf between the House and Senate and secure the border now.

“I appreciate the President’s willingness to engage in a frank discussion about this issue with my constituents,” Rep. Pearce said. “I know that he joins all of us in genuinely wanting to solve the border crisis – and the fact that he is beginning to respond to the public’s concerns by emphasizing border security and no amnesty is a positive sign. Yet, there are many definitions of ‘amnesty.’

“Much discussion remains regarding the best way to reform our broken immigration system. That’s why I believe we are in danger of sacrificing border security upon the altar of comprehensive immigration reform.

“We need to start training the new border patrol agents the President has requested – today. We must begin adding the detention beds necessary to end catch and release – today. We have to begin moving the new surveillance technology the President has proposed to the border – today.

“Congress could pass these measures now with large bipartisan majorities. By contrast, if we wait for the House and Senate to resolve the differences in the immigration reform legislation each chamber has passed, another year will go by before we do anything to secure the border.

“To secure the border now, we don’t have to debate the intricacies of a temporary legal employment program. We shouldn’t try to pass “tough” new enforcement measures until we enforce the laws we already have. And we certainly have no business considering amnesty under any circumstances.

“I will continue fighting for the common sense ‘third way’ I have proposed to secure the border now.”

Rep. Pearce has introduced a pure border security bill, H.R. 5067 (the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2006), which reinstates the language of H.R. 4312 (the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005) as passed by the House Homeland Security Committee last fall.

H.R. 4312 was subsequently wrapped into H.R. 4437 (the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005) – thereby ensnaring H.R. 4312’s essential border security measures in the complex and controversial immigration reform debate.

Among its many border security measures, H.R. 5067 increases Border Patrol agents by 8,000 over four years and detention beds by 32,000 over four years while completely ends catch and release within six months and enhances surveillance technology at the border.

A summary of H.R. 4312 which was originally prepared by the Homeland Security Committee is attached. It has been updated by Rep. Pearce’s staff to reflect the amendments the Committee passed before it sent H.R. 4312 to the floor (Rep. Pearce included all of these amendments when he introduced H.R. 5067).

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