Tags: Bush | Wants | $10.7 | Billion | Secure | Borders

Bush Wants $10.7 Billion to Secure Borders

Friday, 25 January 2002 12:00 AM

Bush traveled to the U.S.-Canadian border to speak before an audience of mainly U.S. Coast Guard personnel at Southern Maine Technical College in Portland. He detailed his fiscal year 2003 request for border security that he will present to Congress Tuesday when he goes to Capitol Hill to deliver the State of the Union address.

Bush's initiative, "Smart Borders for the 21st Century," provides additional funding for the Coast Guard, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"I've asked for a

The United States has 7,000 miles of land and air border shared with Canada and Mexico. Protecting the entryways into the United States became a key priority for the administration after the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

Under the initiative, the Coast Guard would see a funding boost of $282 million to an overall level of $2.9 billion. The funding would aid the Coast Guard's efforts to develop tracking mechanisms for vessels operating within or transiting to U.S. ports and coastal waters and help the agency provide "point defenses" for high-risk vessels and coastal facilities, including nuclear power plants and oil refineries.

"The budget that I send to the United States Congress will have the largest increase in spending for the Coast Guard in our nation's history. We must make sure that our Coast Guard has got a modern fleet of vessels," said Bush, who toured the Coast Guard vessel Tahoma before his speech. The Tahoma was the command vessel on-site in New York Harbor on Sept. 11.

"We must make sure that port security is as strong as possible," Bush said. "We must make sure there's additional operating money available for the extended missions of the Coast Guard. And we must make sure those who wear our uniforms are well paid."

The U.S. Customs Service inspection budget would rise by $619 million, to $2.3 billion. The funding would allow the agency to complete the hiring of about 800 inspectors and agents and buy advanced technology that would assist in inspecting shipments coming into the United States.

The president's budget request would seek an increase in the INS budget for enforcement to $5.3 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion. These resources would be used to enhance border patrol, inspections, and the implementation of a technologically advanced system for monitoring the entry and exit of foreign visitors.

"The INS estimates that 40 percent of the people who are here illegally have overstayed their visa. Forty percent of the people who are here illegally came because of the generosity of America, were given a period of time in which they could stay, and then they didn't leave," Bush said.

They would also double the number of border patrol agents and inspectors, particularly on the northern border. Additionally, INS would install integrated information systems to ensure that timely, accurate and complete enforcement data transmitted to INS agents and other border security agencies operating in the field.

The initiative would also increase discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Quarantine Inspection program by $14 million, for $61 million in fiscal year 2003.

This will provide resources for inspections of people at land border crossing and on flights entering the mainland from other states and territories, such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Funding would help develop an automated targeting system to identify and automatically segregate, along with the Customs Service, high-risk cargo of agricultural interest. And it would place additional inspectors, X-ray machines and canine teams at high-risk cargo entry points along the border.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Bush traveled to the U.S.-Canadian border to speak before an audience of mainly U.S. Coast Guard personnel at Southern Maine Technical College in Portland. He detailed his fiscal year 2003 request for border security that he will present to Congress Tuesday when he goes to...
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2002-00-25
Friday, 25 January 2002 12:00 AM
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