Mr. Speaker, more news from the front: The border war continues. Our terrorist field hearings last week proved one thing: The vulnerabilities on our southern border are monumental. But it is not just our southern border coming under attack. It is Puerto Rico, that silent back door of illegal entry into America.

This is something that we should be concerned with. Border agents there report a staggering lack of security. In fact, you can count on one hand the number of field agents that they have in Puerto Rico on patrol at any given time. Only four active patrol agents patrol this island at once, and they only have 23 agents on the whole island assigned to patrol an island with 363 miles of coastline. These field agents find themselves isolated with these limited resources. Our government even cherry-picks border agents there to send them to other spots, like our southwestern border.

What could be more vulnerable than one agent patrolling 90 miles of coastline? Even the Blackhawk helicopters that they used to use are so broken down they don't even fly anymore.

While we watch the southern border, the human smugglers, narcotics traffickers; and terrorists are not only watching our southern border, they are watching Puerto Rico, knowing it is an easy, back door gateway to America.

With rumors of amnesty spreading throughout the world, especially Latin America and Asia, human smugglers are seizing the moment, causing crime and violence at the borders to skyrocket.

This year Federal immigration officials say the waters off of Puerto Rico are filled with more human cargo than they have ever seen before. The tiny island just off Puerto Rico's coast, Mona Island, is a jumping-off spot for people who wish to illegally enter America.

Last year, it was the site of more than 6,500 arrests of illegals traveling on rickety wooden boats called yolas. They storm Puerto Rico's beaches as if they were troops landing at Normandy or the Marines in World War II as they island-hopped in the Pacific.

Out of 10 illegals that are crammed on one of these boats, border agents say they are lucky if they are able to capture two of them. And the smugglers who arrange these deadly and illegal invasions into Puerto Rico have seen a spike in their business.

In 2001, for example, less than five Cubans were captured on Mona Island illegally entering the United States. But in the past 9 months, almost 600 have arrived; and they pay between $1,500 and $2,000 apiece to their human smugglers, and the human smugglers have yet to be prosecuted. It is so lucrative smuggling humans in the United States that it pays even more than trafficking drugs.

But the most dangerous cargo are possible terrorists from Middle Eastern countries, China and Korea, that are easily masked by the thousands who rush the border monthly, thousands who rush the beaches; and Puerto Rico's leaders are worried that the island's drug traffickers could collaborate with terrorist organizations. Because, you see, once people get to Puerto Rico, they are home free to the rest of America if they do not stay in the Puerto Rico vicinity. They could stay there and destroy vital infrastructure that we have in Puerto Rico. For example, one of the two insulin plants that exist in the whole world is in Puerto Rico.

And, of course, Puerto Rico is unique because it has a cruise business. We don't have much of a cruise business down on the Texas-Mexico border with the Rio Grande River, but they certainly have a cruise business in Puerto Rico. It makes a unique security problem for the United States, so we certainly need to beef up border security in this area.

Once in Puerto Rico, illegal immigrants easily obtain false identification like birth certificates and driver's licenses. They fraudulently claim on these birth certificates and driver's licenses that they are U.S. citizens. So once they have convinced individuals at the border they are U.S. citizens, they easily assimilate into America. One official says getting a fake document in Puerto Rico is like getting a candy out of a candy jar.

And airport security is not an obstacle either. At the airport on the northwest portion of the island, the 4:00 a.m. flight to the mainland of the United States, it is always full of people, but the Border Patrol is never there because they don't have enough agents to cover that portion and time zone.

Mr. Speaker, Puerto Rico is an important part of America. It enjoys a unique relationship with the continental United States. It is part of America's homeland, and it is worth protecting from the sea of invasion by illegals.

It is important that we have more border agents in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico needs the services of the U.S. Coast Guard. It cannot become the silent back door of illegal entry into the United States. It is a homeland security problem, it is a border security problem, and it is a national security problem.

And that's just the way it is.