2006/06/16

Bush declines to meet with border officials

Bush snubs border sheriffs President refuses to meet coalition as lawmakers prepare hearings

Sara A. Carter Staff Writer


President Bush has refused to meet with border law enforcement officials from Texas for a second time. His response to their request came in the form of a letter Monday, angering both lawmakers and sheriffs.

In fact, some Republican members of Congress, upset by what they call the administration's seeming lack of concern for border security, are preparing to hold investigative hearings in San Diego and Laredo, Texas, early next month.
Members of the House subcommittee on international terrorism and nonproliferation hope to expose serious security flaws that could potentially lead to terrorist attacks in the country, said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who is a member of the panel and has pushed for the hearings.

"The next terrorist is not going to come in through (Transportation Security Administration) screening at Kennedy airport," Poe said. "We already have information that people from the Middle East have come through the border from Mexico. They assimilate in Mexico learning to speak Spanish and adopt customs and then they cross the border into the United States."

Poe requested the meeting for members of the Southwestern Sheriffs' Border Coalition -- a group that includes all 26 border county sheriffs from California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The sheriffs wanted to speak to the president about the increasing dangers in their communities and along the border.

"The president is the busiest man in the world but he needs to take the time to talk to the border sheriffs and learn what's happening in the real world from them," Poe said. "We can't understand why he refuses to meet with them."

In May, all of the Republican House members from Texas traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet the president regarding border security. Bush did not meet with them, however, and former White House spokesman Scott McClellan was sent in his stead.

Poe said the White House letter dated Monday showed the disconnect between the administration and the American people who want the border secured.

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LDS Temple in Mesa

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