Skip to comments.President Bush Signs Secure Fence Act (TRANSCRIPT of Bush Remarks)
Posted on 10/26/2006 10:33:21 AM PDT by IntelliQuark
President Bush Signs Secure Fence Act The Roosevelt Room
9:34 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks. Please be seated. I'm pleased that you all are here to witness the signature of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.
I want to thank the members of Congress for their work on this important piece of legislation. I welcome you here to the White House. I'm looking forward to signing this bill.
I appreciate the Vice President joining us today. I thank the Deputy Secretary, Michael Jackson, of the Department of Homeland Security. Rob Portman -- he happens to be the Director of OMB. I want to thank Ralph Basham, who is the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. David Aguilar is the Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.
I appreciate the fact that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has joined us, as well as House Majority Leader John Boehner. I appreciate them coming in from their respective states as I sign this piece of legislation. I want to thank Congressman Peter King, who's the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives. I appreciate you being here, Peter.
Ours is a nation of immigrants. We're also a nation of law. Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and, therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise. We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously.
Earlier this year, I addressed the nation from the Oval Office. I laid out our strategy for immigration reform. Part of that strategy begins with securing the border. Since I took office we have more than doubled funding for border security -- from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion this year. We've increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 9,000 to more than 12,000, and by the end of 2008, we will have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents during my presidency.
We've deployed thousands of National Guard members to assist the Border Patrol. We've upgraded technology at our borders. We've added infrastructure, including new fencing and vehicle barriers. We're adding thousands of new beds in our detention facilities so we can continue working to end catch and release at our southern border. During the course of my administration we have apprehended and sent home more 6 million people entering our country illegally. And I thank the Border Patrol for their hard work.
The Secure Fence Act builds on this progress. The bill authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border. The bill authorizes more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to help prevent people from entering our country illegally. The bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology, like cameras and satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce our infrastructure at the border. We're modernizing the southern border of the United States so we can assure the American people we're doing our job of securing the border. By making wise of use of physical barriers and deploying 21st century technology we're helping our Border Patrol agents do their job.
The Secure Fence Act is part of our efforts to reform our immigration system. We have more to do. Meaningful immigration reforms means that we must enforce our immigration laws in the United States. It is against the law to hire someone who is here illegally. We fully understand that most businesses want to obey that law, but they cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of widespread document fraud. So we're creating a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility, and in the meantime, holding people to account for breaking the law.
We must reduce pressure on our border by creating a temporary worker plan. Willing workers ought to be matched with willing employers to do jobs Americans are not doing for a temporary -- on a temporary basis.
We must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship; that is amnesty. I oppose amnesty. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic pass to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. And I look forward to working with Congress to find that middle ground.
The bill I'm about to sign is an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our border and reform our immigration system. I thank the members of Congress for joining me as I sign the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
(The bill is signed.)
END 9:40 A.M. EDT
President Bush has done more than any president before him in recent history to secure our border. Much work needs to be done, but he deserves credit for starting to confront the problem that has been getting worse for decades.
Am I correct that the bill/fence is not yet funded?
I believe 1.2 billion was funded. I think the total ticket is more like 4.6 billion.
BTW: These figures are a Hell of a lot more than the numbers that were getting tossed around here when describing what it would cost to build a border fence to cover then entire length of the Southern Border.
NO, you are NOT correct. There was $1.2 billion in fence funding signed just last month in Homeland Security appropriations bill. More on the way.
Read the fact sheet. This is better, but not there yet. "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires That We Reduce The Pressure On Our Border By Creating A Lawful Path For Foreign Workers To Enter Our Country On A Temporary Basis." Sorry, W, we don't want immigration reform, comprehensive or otherwise. We want the borders closed and the lawbreakers out of our country. End welfare and we will have all the pickers we need.
"President Bush has done more than any president before him in recent history to secure our border. Much work needs to be done, but he deserves credit for starting to confront the problem that has been getting worse for decades"
Yes, let's give credit where it is due.
I am sick of all the naysayers who said he wouldnt sign it yadda yadda yadda... we have a victory now let's celebrate it!
It took them a while, but I think the GOP has finally gotten our message.
"So did Hillry show up to take credit for helping protect our border? She voted for it!!!"
Many weasel democrats voted for it after the voted against it (in May, the Dems and RINOs killed the same provision in the Senate CIRA bill). They did so to 'take it off the table' as a political issue.
No matter. Border Security Won Today, and that is the good news. Celebrate.
It's not an ordinary heavy gauge fence.....
Thank you, Mr. President. I'm glad you've been listening to us!
**** I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT UNTIL I SEE IT *****
"Anyone who does not like virtual fences should try to get into Area 51 which has 300 miles of rather effective virtual fence around it."
I'd prefer two 10 foot thick, 30 foot high concrete fences 20 feet apart with patrols in between...but this is a start.
Bush is FOS! The President should've closed our borders right after 9-11 and immigration reform should have been a top priority for the GOP five years ago. Now, two weeks before the election Bush and the GOP leadership are attempting to hoodwink Americans into believing they're serious about immigration reform. BULLoney! Bush remains a believer in open borders and amnesty for illegals. IOW, Bush supports liberal immigration policy.
He loses even more credibility every time he opens his mouth when the subject is Mexico/illegal immigration.
At least he signed it, that's a start. Let's give credit where credit is due, win this damn election, THEN hold his feet to the fire on November 8.
Bush is FOS!
Congratulations to Duncan Hunter, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and to all of the others who worked so hard to make this a reality.
Now it's our job to make sure it is fully funded, and that the next bill builds the other 1300 miles of fence.
Even if one agrees about the fence, you damage the cause of conservatism with your foul emotionalism.
"We must reduce pressure on our border by creating a temporary worker plan. Willing workers ought to be matched with willing employers to do jobs Americans are not doing for a temporary -- on a temporary basis.
We must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship; that is amnesty. I oppose amnesty. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic pass to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. And I look forward to working with Congress to find that middle ground."
Interesting change of tune here.
Could it be he is finally listening to the majority of people who voted him into office?
We can only hope.
Upsets you, doesn't it, janet?
This 'worst President in history' has taken another step to secure our borders.
Must stink to hate him like you do.
Amen, EV. Amen!
Sorry. Bush deserves zero credit for signing this bill. Conservatives have been holding his feet to the fire on immigration reform and most other domestic issues for the last 5-1/2 years. What's happened? On most domestic policy, Bush and the GOP have turned their backs on conservatism and advanced the WashDc-Beltway status quo, aka. LIBERALISM. No matter who sits in power, America is not being properly served by its elected officials. The status quo has to go.
Then we must maintain the House of Representatives cause that is where every nickle and dime gets appropriated.
These liberals do not intend to see that fence gets built that is why they used Foley when they did, offend the "morals" voters into staying home.
I don't see a time frame on the White House website. Being a typical Federal Job, the fence should be completed around 2020?
By that time it will be too late.
Hard to say. See Post 28:
"Its [the fence's] cost is not known, although a homeland security spending measure the president signed earlier this month makes a $1.2 billion down payment on the project. The money also can be used for access roads, vehicle barriers, lighting, high-tech equipment and other tools to secure the border."
Not that long ago he wouldn't have signed it. The reality of the election is the ONLY reason he did sign it. Most incumbents got their heads handed to them over immigration when they went home for summer break.
Facts, quotes and links please....
So what do you think we should do about it? Let Pelosi become Speaker? That'll help...
Why did Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. or Clinton not close the border? The illegal problem did not begin under GW. When Reagan saw all those sleeping marines blown up in their sleep in Beirut, why did he not understand the threat of terrorism and close our borders? Everyone is to blame for the failure of illegal immigration. We have not been attacked for five years on our soil, so someone must be doing something right. Throwing it all at the feet of GW is wrong.
I feel sorry for every miserable last one of them. What a way to waste your life.....
Bingo here too.
That is your opinion. In my opinion, you know where you can stuff that crap.
For the umpteenth time. You believe Bush walks on water. I do not. I didn't believe Reagan walked on water either. But this has nothing to do with Reagan. You are infatuated with Bush, and anyone who dares to offer any criticism of this President receives your wrath. So be it.
There ya go, that's how out of touch this president is. I'm not an immigrant, how about you, janetgreen, are you an immigrant? In fact there hasn't been an "immigrant" to this country in my family since the 1600's.
Secure Fence Act Signed by the President
"I just left the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, critical legislation that authorizes at least 700 miles of two-layered fencing along our southwest border.
The American people demand action to stem the tide of illegal immigration and Republicans have responded by dramatically increasing physical barriers by adding 3,736 new Border Patrol agents by building 9,150 new detention beds by hiring 1,373 detention personnel by ending catch-and-release and by more than quadrupling spending on border and immigration enforcement over the last five years.
Although Im leaving the Senate in fulfillment of the pledge I made 12 years ago, Ill be fighting to ensure that every inch of the fence authorized today is funding fully and constructed promptly and so should my fellow conservatives throughout America. And Ill be fighting for better interior enforcement of our immigration laws. We simply must provide tamper proof, biometric identification cards that will enable employers to hire only legal workers. And we must authorize strict penalties for those employers who willingly defy our immigration laws.
Securing our borders is not an insurmountable problem. But it is a problem that House and Senate Democrat leadership who voted against the Secure Fence Act irresponsibly ignore." - Senator Frist
I feel sorry for every miserable last one of them.
"Now remember how little media coverage was extended to the Senate approving of all things a House of Representatives Border Security Bill, remember Hillry accused the House of making Jesus illegal if they got the chance.
Remember what we awoke to, the next day, sure wasn't the overwhelming number voting YEA for a border fence, it was the gushing, whispering, faux outrage.... that prefabbed captured - internet communications regarding a Republican legislator. Why, cause unless these liberals can retake the House of Representatives they will have to watch that fence get built!!!!"
THE TIMING IS SUSPICIOUS, EH?
Anything to deflect away from the real Democrat record.
Message to border security freepers: Do what you can to save the GOP Congress, the fate of immigration laws depends on the fate of the House ... polls are looking bad and we need all the GOTV and internet/grassroots help we can get to mak a difference ...
Broken-glass time, Republicans! Save the Congress!
A special thanks to conservatives in the U.S. House for holding firm on border security first before other immigration measures are enacted.
There is no way I can sit out the upcoming election now, withdraw from this fight, or cede any advantage to the Democrats who view illegal aliens as an endless source of fraudulent voters for their sordid, liberal philosophy and a means to obtain power over our lives.
I RESPECTED Reagan. I ADMIRED Reagan.
I just wish you would do the same.
Conservatives don't support amnesty and conservatives don't vote for liberals!)
Completely agree. This is a big step, and those who wouldn't back down needed to be lauded by all of us who really care about national security and securing the border.
You are ABSOLUTELY correct.
Carter, Reagan, Bush41 and Clinton aren't President today. Bush43 is President, and he hasn't properly addressed the immigration issue for over five years. Employing 20-20 hindsight is a weak debate tactic. And taking cheap shots at Reagan solves nothing. Reagan's great challenge was fighting and winning the Cold War. The WOT was 18 years away. While the Beirut bombing took place on Reagan's watch, the attacks of 9-11 took place on Bush`s watch.