Published September 25, 2002
TRENTON, N.J. – Text of remarks from speech on Sept. 32, 2002. Joined in progress:
Congress can help. Congress needs to work hard before they go home. Congress needs to get some things done, which means a homeland security department, a budget that reflects our priorities. They've got to make sure they don't overspend your money. They've got to remember, everything they do must go to make sure America is a stronger and safer and better place.
... There are a lot of good people working hard to keep you safe. There are people at the federal level and at the state level, a lot of fine folks here at the local level, doing everything we can to run down every lead. If we find any kind of hint, we're moving on it -- all within the confines and all within the structure of the United States Constitution. We're chasing down every possible lead because we understand there's an enemy out there which hates America.
I asked the Congress to work with me to come up with a new Department of Homeland Security, to make sure that not only can this administration function better, but future administrations will be able to deal with the true threats we face as we get into the 21st century. A homeland security department which takes over the hundred different agencies and brings them under one umbrella so that there's a single priority and a new culture, all aimed at dealing with the threats.
I mean, after all, on our border we need to know who's coming into America, what they're bringing into America, are they leaving when they're supposed to be leaving America.
Yet, when you look at the border, there are three different federal agencies dealing with the border: there is Customs and INS and Border Patrol. And sometimes they work together and sometimes they don't -- they don't. They've got different work rules. They've got different customs.
Sometimes they have different strategies. And that's not right. So I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary to be able to deal with the true threats of the 21st century by being able to move the right people to the right place at the right time, so we can better assure America we're doing everything possible. The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. I will not accept a Department of Homeland Security that does not allow this President, and future Presidents, to better keep the American people secure.
And people are working hard in Washington to get it right in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats. See, this isn't a partisan issue. This is an American issue. This is an issue which is vital to our future. It'll help us determine how secure we'll be.
Senator Gramm, a Republican, Senator Miller, a Democrat, are working hard to bring people together. And the Senate must listen to them. It's a good bill. It's a bill I can accept. It's a bill that will make America more secure. And anything less than that is a bill which I will not accept, it's a bill which I will not saddle this administration and future administrations with allowing the United States Senate to micro-manage the process. The enemy is too quick for that. We must be flexible, we must be strong, we must be ready to take the enemy on anywhere he decides to hit us, whether it's America or anywhere else in the globe.
But the best way to secure our homeland, the only sure way to make sure our children are free and our children's children are free, is to hunt the killers down, wherever they hide, is to hunt them down, one by one, and bring them to justice. ...