From the office of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R, Illinois 11th District)…
Washington, D.C. – Following his nine days of military duty in Houston, Texas, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the missions he flew on the border of Mexico in order to assist Border Patrol:
Text of the speech:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“I want to just say before I actually get started, we just saw the space shuttle fly over on the back of a 747 and I salute the end of an amazing era in space exploration and I look forward to the next day of NASA being able to talk about space exploration and how we’re going to get out there so we don’t have to rely on Russians to get to space to continue to do what I think is a very important role of the federal government.
“I was in Houston, I actually went through the NASA center here about three or four days ago, but I was in Houston for military duty. I am a pilot in the Air National Guard. I fly an airplane called an RC-26, which is a reconnaissance plane. I did nine days of duty and what we did is we were in Texas flying missions on the border of Mexico in order to help Border Patrol to secure that border, to ensure that people that want to come here, come here legal answered if not more importantly, to ensure that the drug trade is not being brought in our country, to reduce the amount of drugs being brought in from Mexico. As well as to ensure that terrorists are not making their way through the border by sneaking in through that border of Mexico.
“Now, before I went I expected to see a border that was basically secure because that’s what I’ve been hearing from the administration, that the border is basically secure. There are examples of people coming across outside of that, but for the most part it’s pretty good to go. But what I saw was something completely different.
“You know, I am going to tell you a quick story about somebody who’s on the border every day trying to protect this country against drugs and against terrorism coming through that border. This guy as a border patrol agent, efficiently, I guess affectionately known as Uzi. He was a Marine for about five years. He started a small business when he got out of the Marine Corps and made the decision that he wants to go continue to serve and protect this country. I flew missions with Uzi. He was onboard my aircraft as we assisted Border Patrol and the one thing he said to me is, ‘Congressman look, we’re out here every day in the heat, the sweltering sun trying to continue to protect this country, make sure you give us what we need here.’ And when you hear about the stories about hamstrung they are about actually enforcing the border and how there are many tools available to them that they are not allowed to use, it’s actually pretty sad.
“Now, look, we want to be a nation of immigration. We want to be a nation of legal immigration, but one thing we don’t want to be is a nation that wakes up one day and finds out there was another terrorist attack in a major United States city, and that potentially that weapon of mass destruction or those terrorists that actually came in through an unsecured border with Mexico.
“I went down there really believing there was really a fence along the line and I saw nothing of the kind in southern Texas. Let’s tell the American people the truth. The truth is we want to be a nation that respects immigration because most of us here actually are immigrants removed ourselves. But we want to be a nation that has a legal process to do it. And when we have an open border, we’re encouraging people to go around that legal process and we’re opening ourselves up to attack.
“Let’s stand together. Let’s say to respect the immigration and the immigrant history of this country, but let’s do it in a legal way.
“My eyes were open as I did military duty on the border for the fact that we have a long way to go. This can be a bipartisan issue. It doesn’t need to be Republican versus Democrat. But, it needs to be something we actually finally do. And stand together and we say we will be a nation that is safe once and for all. With that I yield back.”