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So, Mr. Bonner, are you suggesting to me that really if we went back to the old days when we were separated out and put more bodies there then that would have a significant impact?
Mr. BONNER. I think it would have a significant impact if you allowed these agents to specialize in one field, such as immigration. I think it's a mistake to expect so much of people and you're probably right. You could probably intercept 98 percent of what's coming across if you train people very well, but 98 percent is not good enough when you are dealing with terrorism because, as Mr. Cutler pointed out, they only have to be right once in order to inflict incredible damage and we have to be right 100 percent of the time to screen the people out of this country who should not be getting into this country.
Mr. LUNGREN. We also want to screen out things that we don't want in this country as well.
Mr. BONNER. Absolutely, and expecting one person to be an expert in all of these fields is asking too much. What you are going to end up with are jacks of all trades, but masters of none.
Mr. LUNGREN. Is it more important that we enforce employer sanctions or that we be concerned with dividing up these responsibilities?
Mr. BONNER. I don't think you are going to look at it as either/ or, I think you have to do both. I think employer sanctions is a very key part of enforcing the immigration laws.
Mr. LUNGREN. What would have a greater impact?
Mr. BONNER. I think the greater impact would be if you could honestly enforce employer sanctions. If you could remove 98 percent of the people from the equation who are coming across our borders illegally, I think that would have a huge impact, but I think the other is also important.
Mr. LUNGREN. And I have always been concerned that we haven't focused on that part, that 98 percent or whatever the percent of people coming here seeking jobs. The magnet is jobs. How do you affect that? You go to where the jobs are, which is employer sanctions. I'm convinced we are never going to have an employer sanction program that people will support unless we have a workable guest worker program. That is just my thought, and I think we need to focus on that. We make the job that much more difficult for people at the border to the extent that we have not controlled the tremendous magnet that attracts people here, which is jobs. And to the extent that we don't do that, we just make the haystack bigger. If you are looking for the needle in the haystack, we have created larger haystacks and a greater number of haystacks, which makes the job difficult if not impossible.
Mr. BONNER. No argument from me on that point.
Mr. LUNGREN. I heard some people suggest that we have made DHS too big. Do you really think that's the problem?
Mr. BONNER. I don't know that it's the size of the agency as much as it is the mission and how we have broken it up; the structure that allows people to go out and do the job that they were hired to do.
Mr. LUNGREN. Let me ask another way. It was my observation 10 years ago here and while I was Attorney General of the State of California that the INS, while it was in the Justice Department, never was looked upon as the gifted child.
Mr. BONNER. Being with the INS for the better part of my adult life, I concur with that. We were the red headed stepchild.
Mr. LUNGREN. So I am not willing at this point to say that it's because it's over there at DHS and they are too large, that that's what the problem is. Unless we focus on the mission of immigration, unless we focus on the mission of protecting our borders, unless we make that a priority, it doesn't matter where it sits, the job is not going to get done.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlemen. At this time, the questions from the panel have concluded. I want to thank the witnesses for your appearance here, your contribution to the record as we deal with this and many other very important issues.
All Members are reminded that they have 5 legislative days to add to the record and that if there are any questions for Members, additional questions for members of the panel, that we would ask members of the panel to return a response within 3 weeks.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Would the gentleman yield? I thank the Chairman very much. As the DHS has a multiple number of jurisdictions and responsibilities, so does Congress, and the Homeland Security Committee has the greater jurisdiction on the question of management and change. However, I'm going to speak with our Chairman at least to possibly draft a letter, since I sit on both Committees, to be able to put this hearing in focus because I think what we were able to learn today is very helpful, and the more voices that can be raised about the concerns expressed by Mr. Stana, Mr. Bonner, Mr. Cutler and to a certain extent Ms. Kephart and her work on the 9/11 Commission, the more closely we will get in solving the problem in securing America, but more importantly understanding immigration and its functions or at least the need to distinguish the responsibilities of enforcing immigration laws from, of course, the responsibility of making sure that we collectively fight the war on terror.
So, Mr. Chairman, I hope that we will have an opportunity to at least put this hearing in focus and to share it so that this problem can be involved.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Look forward to working with the gentlelady, and with regard to those priorities, I can tell you that it is the desire of this Subcommittee that we prioritize the enforcement of our immigration laws. And I understand that Homeland Security Committee has a lot of priorities and that may be a different issue for you and on that Committee and the Chairman of that Committee, but I look forward to working with you on this because I think we have learned today that a whole host of issues are contributing to the fact that we are not adequately enforcing our immigration laws. That goes without saying in my 244 years of my being Chairman of this Subcommittee, but there seems to be a host of issues conspiring for that to happen, and to the extent that this Subcommittee can be helpful in ironing out those differences and reiterating the priority of immigration enforcement, I look forward to working with the gentlelady.
The work before this Subcommittee having been completed, we are adjourned.
MATERIAL SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING RECORD
PREPARED STATEMENT OF EUGENE R. DAVIS, RETIRED DEPUTY CHIEF PATROL AGENT,
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT,
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee my name is Eugene R. Davis. I am retired Deputy Chief Border Patrol Agent. I retired in January of 2000 after having spent 29 years with legacy INS. I spent 23 years on my career along the northern border in Northwest Washington State. During those years Agents operating in the Blaine Sector under my jurisdiction were successful in arresting two known terrorists that entered the United States from Canada. Abu Mezer was arrested on multiple times in 1996 and 1997 and Ahmed Ressam was arrested in 1999. In April of 1999 I testified before your subcommittee and as part of that testimony I warned members of the terrorist threat that existed in Canada.
In 1996 I was one of local management officials that helped pioneer the concept of the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET). This innovative program established international cooperation between agencies along both sides of our international border with Canada. After the attacks of 9/11 multiple IBET teams were established along the entire U.S./Canada border based on the Blaine model.
Since my retirement in 2000 I have remained very active in the area of border security and training. I am self employed as a private contractor. Over the last several years I have taught numerous courses to law enforcement personnel from both sides of the local border. The main emphasis of this training has had the goal of encouraging interagency and international cooperation.
In addition to teaching local courses I have also traveled and taught courses on border security in foreign countries. My travels have taken me to West Africa and Central America. Most recently I spent a month in the fall of 2004 in Pakistan working with Pakistani Military Officers close to the Afghanistan Border. During this training mission I helped set up a training program to train new recruits in the Pakistan Frontier Corp.
I feel that these experiences have given me a unique perspective. I have used this perspective as I have taught courses in Anti-terrorism to local senior border inspectors with DHS since my return from Pakistan.
I am submitting this statement before your important committee to express grave concerns that I have about the present enforcement structure within the Department of Homeland Security.
During the last decade that I worked for Legacy INS I became a strong advocate that the enforcement elements with the agency should be combined and split off of the service elements. I felt that there was a direct conflict of one agency trying to administer benefits and enforcement at the same time. I expressed this believe in written and spoken testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Investigations in November of 2001.
It was my hope that when the Department of Homeland Security was organized that the enforcement divisions of INS which included the Border Patrol, Investigations, and Detention and Deportation would be combined. I felt that would form the nucleus from which a more effective enforcement platform could be established. Within this structure the Country would have benefited from the years of experience that each of these components would have brought to the mix.
Congress chose not to pursue this course. Instead they completely dismantled the legacy INS enforcement structure and placed them into two separate entities. The Border Patrol was placed into the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Inves