SILVESTRE REYES

16TH DISTRICT,TEXAS

WASHINGTON OFFICE:

COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
RANKING MEMBER SUBCOMMI~EE ON STRATEGICFORCES

2433 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON, D C 2051 5 (202) 225-4831 FAX: (202) 225-2016

DISTRICT OFFICE:

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS

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August 1,2006 The Honorable Michael Chertoff Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Washington, DC 20528 Dear Secretary Chertoff and Attorney General Gonzales, With the federal courts in the Southwest border region in desperate need of additional manpower and assistance, I want to congratulate you for your plans to dedicate 25 additional Assistant United States Attorneys to the Southwest border to prosecute immigration-related offenses and drug-trafficking organizations. The five federal law enforcement districts along the border, and in particular the Western District of Texas, which includes my congressional district of El Paso, have long been overworked and overburdened. These new prosecutors will provide our courts with much-needed support and relief, and I applaud you for assigning these new positions. As a 26 ?4year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, I have a unique perspective on the challenges facing law enforcement personnel in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have worked to provide additional federal resources to increase the number of federal attorneys in the border region, as well as address the security and law enforcement needs of the border as a whole. We must continue an open dialogue on these critical subjects, and I hope to continue working with you in a collaborative manner to assist the hardworking men and women of the Southwest border. It is important that the federal government provide all components necessary for law enforcement and the judiciary to prosecute crime and serve justice in a timely manner. As you know, an important element to meeting those needs is the enforcement of our federal employer sanctions laws. Today, these programs are woefully underfunded and understaffed; however, when I served as Sector Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol in Texas in the 1990s, employer sanctions successfully resulted in a significant decrease in illegal immigration. The time is long-overdue to enforce these laws, and as the leaders of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, I ask you to work together over the next 30 days to identifj and assign 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators across the country to enforce our employer sanctions laws. This act will remove the "pull factor" that brings law-abiding The Honorable Alberto Gonzales Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

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citizens to this country illegally to seek work, and will enable the U.S. Border Patrol to focus on those few who cross our Southern border seeking to do us harm.
I also ask that you make a formal recommendation to Congress citing the number of U.S. Marshals, judges, and personnel required by the Bureau of Prisons to address the growth that these additional prosecutors and employer sanctions will facilitate. As law enforcement efforts and incarcerations in the border region continue to grow, we must plan for the ever increasing needs of federal judiciary personnel and the Bureau of Prisons. The Bureau of Prisons is already facing severe budget shortfalls, and we cannot increase their mission without increasing their funding.

Thank you for your continued efforts serving our country, and I look forward to working with you in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact me at 202-225-4831 with any questions

Member of Congress cc: The Honorable George W. Bush Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman, House Armed Services Committee Representative Peter T King (R-NY), Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary