Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS DEMAND REAL SECURITY AT PORTS AND BORDERS

Washington, DC–Five years after 9/11, Bush Republican incompetence has allowed America’s borders and ports to remain dangerously unsecured, and a modern “Do Nothing Congress” seems unable to tackle these critically important issues. Today, Democratic Senators Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ken Salazar, and Bob Menendez joined to demand the Republican Congress finally take action to secure and protect America.

For five years, Bush Republicans have put border security to the side, letting the number of arrests at the border, across the country, and at workplaces that hire illegally drop under their watch. Their incompetence continues to our nation’s ports where, despite the threats posed by nuclear threats in the post 9/11 world, they have allowed a system whereby only a fraction of the cargo entering the United States is actually screened. A fact sheet on port security is attached to this release.

Meanwhile, instead of taking action to pass critically important reforms like comprehensive immigration reform to secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system, this “Do Nothing Congress” is rivaling its legendary predecessor in being unable or unwilling to act on behalf of the American people. Democrats believe it is time for a new direction.

“Even after September 11, the Administration has been all talk when it comes to beefing up homeland security,” Senator Schumer said.  “From Dubai Ports World to the serious threats against New York’s subways, this Administration has left our ports, subways, tunnels and borders wide open.  We hear a lot of talk, but when it comes time to commit the resources necessary to protect our vulnerable assets, they’re nowhere to be found.  How many warnings and how many threats does this Administration need before it realizes we aren’t doing nearly enough to protect us from another attack?”

“New Yorkers know all too well the importance and the urgency of protecting our homeland security.  The news last week of the terrorist plot to bomb New York City’s tunnels was yet another vivid reminder of the threat we continue to face.  But nearly five years after 9/11, the Bush Administration and Republican leadership still will not address the vulnerabilities we face to our homeland security.  Along with my colleagues, I will fight to restore homeland security cuts to New York and other high risk areas, and make the investments needed to secure our ports, protect our borders and address other vulnerabilities,” said Senator Clinton. 

“Our Nation is embroiled in a debate of epic proportions – border security and the reality of illegal immigration,” said Senator Salazar. “The reality is that our borders are broken and lawless. And, in the past two decades, the number of undocumented immigrants living here has tripled to nearly 12 million. Politics in Washington, D.C. won’t make our nation more secure and won’t deal with the reality of millions of undocumented workers.  There are responsible paths forward that we are working on in a bipartisan approach in the U.S. Senate and it is my hope some members in the House of Representatives will put partisanship aside and work with us to resolve this issue.”

“Despite the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and the fact that our ports are the front lines of the war on terrorism, our ports continue to be under-funded, understaffed, and under-protected,” Senator Menendez said. “They are vulnerable targets for attack and venues for smuggling and human trafficking.  Our ports and our homeland will only be secure when we know exactly what is entering our ports. How anyone – at any level of government – could argue otherwise is beyond me and shows a flagrant disregard for the realities of protecting our homeland.”

Four years after 9/11, the American people have had enough. Republicans have talked tough about securing America, but their record is one of inaction and incompetence. Republicans are divided over the comprehensive immigration our national security needs, refusing to work to fund the port security programs our nation demands, and unsurprisingly struggling to protect their political chances in November. Democrats are working to give the American people the real security they deserve.

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Ports Remain Extremely Vulnerable to Terrorist Attacks

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