Issue Position: Homeland Security

Issue Position

* Ensuring that the safety and security of the American people remains the Federal government's top priority

* Fighting strengthen our borders, update our intelligence laws to combat emerging threats in the post-9/11 world, and support local first responders.

Operational control of our borders should be among the highest priorities of Congress. Every nation has the right to control entry and exit across its border. Porous borders leave us susceptible to the illegal crossing of terrorists, drug lords, and gang members, placing our homeland security in serious jeopardy. Because of the importance of this issue, I have been a vocal proponent in calling upon Congress to make border fence construction a top priority, and will continue working toward enforcement of our nation's borders.

I have successfully pushed an integral step forward in giving our intelligence community the tools they need to keep America safe, while upholding the treasured freedoms and civil liberties that we hold dear. I supported bipartisan legislation passed by the House that allows surveillance on calls made by foreign terrorists to foreign terrorists. Bringing FISA standards in line with communications technology of the 21st century will ensure the protection of Americans' civil rights without unduly burdening our ability to keep informed of terrorist threats to our nation.

I will continue to make funding for first responder programs a priority, specifically the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants program. This program provides critical federal assistance with broad discretion to local first responders to help address cross-jurisdictional crime, and I was pleased to vote in support of significant funding increases for this vital program.