Mr. Speaker, I bring you news from the third front. The battle wages for control of the border, and I'm not talking about the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban runs back and forth at will to commit crimes in Afghanistan and then goes and hides in Pakistan. No, I'm bringing you news from the border, the southern border of the United States, which is very violent.

In Reynosa, Mexico, right across the border from the Rio Grande River in Texas, recently the U.S. consulate closed because of the violence on the border. In fact, Americans are prohibited from being in that consulate office because of the kidnappings, the murders, the shootings, the Old West-style events that are taking place on this border town south of our border.

The inconvenient truth is there is a battle for the border that is taking place in our own country. Across the southern border of the United States the drug cartels, all in the name of money and their financing of illegal activities, including organized crime and violence, and working with the coyotes--those people, for money, that smuggle people into the United States--are seeking control of our border so that they can bring in drugs and people. It seems as though drugs and people are coming into the United States and going south are money and guns.

Someone has said recently that the northern border is porous and the southern border is porous. But at the northern border all you've got to do is walk across; on the southern border you can shoot your way across into the United States. But be that as it may, we have a problem. It's an inconvenient truth that we spend time on other issues besides national security of our own borders, and it seems to me that we ought to solve this problem.

But before we do this, we now hear this talk again, this talk by those who don't live on the border about, well, let's just give everybody that's in the country illegally a little amnesty. Amnesty for all is what they say. But these individuals that preach amnesty are ignoring the obvious: if we grant amnesty, that means all of the criminals that have come into the United States--like drug dealers, like those bandits that come here to commit crimes--they get that free amnesty as well. And they get the permission to stay here in the United States, not just those people that come here trying to seek a better life and to work.

Some have estimated that in our county jails and our prisons up to 20 percent of the people incarcerated are in this country from foreign countries. And yet we want to grant amnesty to all of these people? Amnesty has proven in this country it doesn't work; it encourages people to come here illegally.

So what should we do? We should do three things and we should do them in this order: the first thing we do is secure the border and mean it when we say we will secure the border. If necessary, we should have our military on the southern border of the United States so that people don't cross into this country illegally without permission of the United States. We have given lipservice to border security, and we haven't solved that problem.

You tell me, Mr. Speaker, that the greatest country that has ever existed, the greatest country militarily that has ever existed, the strongest country that has ever existed in the history of the world can't protect its own borders? I think not. We can do it, but we don't have the moral will to do it, and we have to make the decision that we will secure the Nation's border. The first duty of government is national security.

After we secure the border, we've got to deal with the immigration problem. The legal immigration system we have now is a disaster. It has been a disaster since the fifties. It is time to set that aside and to draw up an easier model, a more efficient model, a business model that solves the issues of immigration, a model that makes it more streamlined, efficient, and secure so that, when people come into the United States legally, we know who they are and so that we keep up with who they are--whether they want to be here as citizens, whether they want to work, whether they want to be tourists, or whether they're coming over here just to visit somebody.

Solve the border problem first. Solve the immigration problem second. Then deal with the problem of the 20 million-plus people illegally in the United States. We can solve that problem, but we can't solve that problem until we deal with the first two. It is time for the government to do its job. The duty of government is to protect us, not to give our country away to other people who want to come here illegally.

So, right now, the border war continues--controlled by the drug cartels, controlled by the human smugglers who wish to make money and who profiteer from illegal activities on the southern border of the United States. We owe it to the citizens of this country, and we also owe it to the citizens of the countries which are south of the United States to secure the border, to fix the immigration issue, and then to deal with the issue of the illegal immigrants who are here.

And that's just the way it is.