Rep. Burton: The President Didn't Reply To My Letter On Border Security

January 19, 2011 1:15 pm ET

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN): Mr. Speaker, in October, five members of Congress wrote to the president, ah, myself, Ted Poe of Texas, Ron Paul of Texas, Pete Olson and Ed Royce of California, and we, uh, we asked the president to, uh, take more steps to deal with the problem on the Texas border because people have been killed, beaten up down there, shots have been fired across the border and 80 miles into the country, the United States of America, we have signs telling people — warning people not to go south of there because they might be in danger from Mexican drug cartels or people across the border that are spying or sighting for the drug cartels.

So, there's a real problem. Well, we didn't get an answer back from the president, and so we wrote again in November and again we, uh — we didn't get a reply. And then around the end of December we got a reply from the Homeland Security, from a fella who's in legislative affairs, and he went through the same song and dance that they've gone through for a long time, talking about how they're solving the problem on the border.

Now, just recently, in the last few weeks, uh, four, uh, road workers were out there — ah, in, ah, Texas, and, uh, they were working on the roads trying to fill potholes with gravel and do some other things that was a "shovel-ready project," incidentally, and, uh, they were fired at from across the border which was about a half a mile away. Now, the bullets didn't hit any of them, but it sure scared the dickens out of 'em. And Mike Doyle, the chief deputy of the Hudspeth's County Sheriff's Office, uh, said that a rancher spotted a white pickup truck fleeing the area on the Mexican side after the fi — uh, shots were fired. And they think that the drug cartel made have — may have been firing those shots to divert attention away from what was going on there in order to get drugs smuggled across the border.

Now the reason I bring all this up, once again, is because we sent 17,000 National Guard troops down to deal with the oil spill in the Gulf, and it was something that we should have done. We should have dealt with that problem as quickly as possible to make sure that we stopped any environmental damage that might accrue from that and to help the people of Louisiana who were suffering and — and the other border states down there. But we haven't done anything but send about 1,400 National Guard troops down to the border — or close to the border, and many of them have been withdrawn. And we've got to do something to protect that 1,980-mile border between us and Mexico. Americans can't go within 50 miles of the border in Arizona or 80 miles within the border, uh, close to the border of Arizona, and Mexico, because there's the threat for their safety and security.

That is something that we cannot tolerate as a nation.

We have a war going on, on the Mexican-American border. And we have to do whatever is necessary to protect Americans and to stop the drug trafficking coming across that border. We did it in Colombia, with Plan Colombia — and that's not on our border, that's down south of the Panama Canal. And so we really need to address this problem, so if I were talking to the president tonight, Mr. Speaker, I would say, "Mr. President, come on. Let's do what has to be done to protect our southern border. We're doing the job over in the — in the — in the Far East. We're doing the job over in the Middle East, and — and, and that's OK. But our border, our front yard is threatened every single day by these drug cartels and these terrorists coming across the border — and American ranchers and businesspeople can't conduct their daily lives down there because there's no real security."

So, if I were talking to the president, I would say, "Mr. President, please review this issue. Don't ignore members of Congress, five members who wrote you, concerned about this issue. Don't ignore us, do something about it and please don't send us any more of these inane letters that really don't say anything about solving the — the problem. It's a real problem about the security of this country and the people who live down there and traverse that area, and Mr. President, let's get on with it."