Bush budget to call for tighter borders, ports
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (CNN) -- President Bush said Friday that his upcoming budget proposal will include $11 billion for border control efforts, as well as the biggest increase for the Coast Guard in U.S. history and a large boost for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Continuing a week long rollout of items and initiatives that will be included in his budget proposal and in Tuesday's State of the Union address, Bush for the second straight day kept an emphasis on homeland security.
On a day trip to Maine, he visited Portland International Marine Terminal and toured the Coast Guard cutter Tahoma -- which was dispatched for duty in New York Harbor immediately after the September 11 attacks. Then, he delivered a speech on homeland security efforts at Southern Maine Technical College.
"We must make sure that our Coast Guard has got a modern fleet of vessels. We must make sure that port security is as strong as possible," Bush said. "One of my biggest priorities, of course, is to make sure the homeland is secure."
Bush noted that his budget proposal, which is to be submitted to Congress on February 4, will include nearly $38 billion for homeland security efforts -- almost double the amount previously budgeted.
The budget will include a 29 percent increase for the INS, much of which will go toward modernizing the service's ability to track people coming and out of the U.S. Bush said the INS estimates that 40 percent of people living illegally in the U.S. have overstayed their visas.
"One of the things we want to make sure of is we find the 40 percent to make sure they're not part of some al Qaeda network that wants to hit the United States," Bush said.
Bush's $11 billion proposal for border control efforts amounts to a $2 billion increase over current levels.
The president said the federal government is conducting a broad review of border control policies, and discussing new initiatives with Canada and Mexico. The aim, he said, is to come up with initiatives that do not tie up commerce yet are effective in preventing the flow of narcotics, arms and terrorists.
"We're analyzing every aspect of the border and making sure that the effort is seamless, the communication is real, that the enforcement is strong," Bush said.
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