The Corner

Is Rep. Jackson-Lee Discussing The Hokey-Pokey?

A Capitol Hill pal emails me this exchange from yesterday’s House debate on immigration legislation, specifically on an amendment offered by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and others requiring “the construction of security fencing, including lights and cameras, along certain ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. Such fencing would be constructed in areas that have high numbers of immigrant deaths, high rates of drug smuggling, and high rates of illegal border-crossing. The amendment also requires DHS to conduct a study into the use of physical barriers, such as fences, along the U.S.-Canada border.” Kudos to Rep. Dan Lungren. The bold-facing is mine.

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me just briefly bring to the attention of my colleagues again the point that we are trying to make.

We started out by saying that border security has no divide among Democrats and Republicans. It has no divide among Americans, but there is a right way to do and to enhance border security.

In this legislation, are going to offer the old Berlin Wall, again separating the north from the south, separating us from our Canadian neighbors.

It is interesting, however, that when we ask for 15,000 more border patrol agents, increased recruitment and training of those agents, adding more equipment to those agents, we get a resounding no.

We need to do sensible, comprehensive immigration reform, not one that simply feels good, because the American people need real security.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time…..

Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield the remaining time to close to the gentleman from California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren), the former Attorney General of the State of California, who understands border control.

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Chairman, I have heard the references to the Berlin Wall. There is only one problem: The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, not keep people out. I do not recall in searching my memory a single example of people trying to jump over the Berlin Wall to get into East Germany.

This is for a different purpose. It is a different thing, and your suggestion that this is a Berlin Wall is only off by about 180 degrees.

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the remaining time.

I thank the distinguished gentleman for his recharacterization of the Berlin Wall. It kept people out, and it kept people in, and that is what we are saying about the largest gated community in the western hemisphere. It will keep the good people of Canada, the good people of the southern border out, the trade and commerce, the friendship that we have developed, and it will cause no extra security to the American people.

Might I suggest to you that the 9/11 Commission reinforced the fact that it is intelligence, good intelligence, that keeps Americans secure. It is good equipment, good resources, good Border Patrol agents that are trained, professionally developed, not the falsehood of a security fence that cannot provide any security.

Might I remind my friends that the Berlin Wall allowed people to jump out and to jump in. The Berlin Wall was not a secure wall for the East Germans. People escaped from East Germany. People will escape from Mexico and the southern border.

This will only injure the relationships and cause no greater security. I believe this amendment is doomed to fail, and it should fail because the falseness of a security fence will not allow any Americans to sleep good at night.

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