Mr. Speaker, our porous southwestern border is getting worse by the day and the number of illegal entries into the United States continues to grow at a ridiculously rapid rate.

Just yesterday, a study released by the Pew Hispanic Center said that the population of illegals is growing by 500,000 a year. This is because of the lack of border security in this country. Our government's failure to slow this illegal action is fueling financial crisis to American taxpayers, especially those in the 24 counties along the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico.

The costs that come along with this are draining local communities as they struggle to find money for health care, education, and other social service costs associated with caring for illegal individuals. Unfortunately, the people that pay for this illegal activity are American citizens, not illegals. Americans pay the price for illegal immigration. Americans always pay.

Unrestricted illegal immigration throughout Texas and the entire United States drains local cities of money that should be used elsewhere. About 20 percent of health care costs, 20 percent of education costs, goes to those illegally in the United States. They take from America and do not contribute to these expenses.

There is more, Mr. Speaker. In California, San Diego County spends $50 million a year in the arrest, jailing, and prosecution and defense of illegal immigrants for crimes committed after they enter the United States.

The University of Texas at El Paso has a study that found the following: Treating illegal immigrants in hospitals accounts for nearly one quarter of the uncompensated costs at border county hospitals in our country. Cochise County, Arizona spend tens of thousands of dollars picking up trash left at campsites by these illegals. Prosecuted and jailing illegals costs this county an additional $5 million a year. And 25 percent of Cochise County's budget is paid to health care for the uninsured. Most of those people are illegally in the country.

Our out-of-control border is not only affecting the taxpayers, it is also affecting local law enforcement officials. According to the USA Today, in 2004 there were 1.14 million arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border. There are not nearly enough Federal detention centers to house all of these individuals; therefore, some are captured and then let go. Others are put in local jails, and once again, the taxpayer and local communities are left to foot this bill.

I have been down to the Texas-Mexico border and I have spoken firsthand with numerous sheriffs in our communities. They are struggling and they need more help from the Federal Government. We have a policy in this country that we capture individuals who are illegally here and then release them. This catch-and-release policy defies common sense.

Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker, there are approximately 10,000 FEMA trailers sitting in Hope, Arkansas that have never been used. They were not used in hurricane recovery because FEMA has some ridiculous policy that those trailers cannot go to flood-prone areas, so they were never used for individuals who had to evacuate because of Katrina and Rita. So why don't we take those 10,000 trailers down to the Texas-Mexico border and when we capture people illegally in the United States, why don't we put them in those trailers and house them there until they can be deported?

Mr. Speaker, the violence along our southern border continues to increase and violent confrontations between drug smugglers and law enforcement officials is at an all-time high. Local Texas sheriffs have come to expect violent resistance when they encounter drug smugglers and human traffickers. Not to mention our sheriffs are out-gunned, out-numbered, and out-financed by these outlaws. Drug cartels and coyotes, those individuals who smuggle other individuals into this country for money, have gone so far as to hire contract mercenaries from other countries to bring drugs and people across to the United States, across our borders.

According to the Washington Times, in the past 5 months the U.S. Border Patrol has detained 42,000 illegals who were convicted criminals or persons wanted for crimes committed at our borders. Last year, Homeland Security reported that 140,000 detainees apprehended at the border had criminal records at the time of their arrest.

Mr. Speaker, we must fight harder against the insurgent uprising at our borders and become more vigilant than we already are. Three groups enter our land illegally: those drug dealers, terrorist operatives and citizens from other countries. The illegals and drug cartels are only becoming more ruthless and defiant every day. That is because lawlessness on our border breeds more lawlessness.

Mr. Speaker, Third World countries protect their borders better than we do, the most powerful Nation on Earth. The failure of this Congress to act quickly on correcting our country's broken borders trickles down to the communities we all represent. We must enforce existing laws, as well as pass new ones that stop this lawlessness. We cannot ignore the facts and the key word is ``illegal.'' It is illegal entry that we must stop.

Congress and America must have the moral resolve to protect the dignity of our country. Send the word. We will secure our borders. That is just the way it is.