Earmark is not a dirty word. It is another name for funding requests that are attached to bills in the U.S. Congress. Earmarks have received a lot of bad press, some of which is rightfully deserved, for things such as the legendary bridge to nowhere in Alaska, but some earmarks are good. And what is the alternative? The alternative is that we allow bureaucrats to make the decisions on how money is spent, cutting lawmakers and Congress out of the process. Unfortunately, this year it looks as if the bureaucrats have won.

Last year I was proud to announce a $750,000 funding request for noise mitigation in and around Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) was included in the Transportation Appropriations Bill for 2007. It was the very first time a Member of Congress from the Houston area requested that money be allocated directly and specifically for the IAH residential acquisition and sound insulation program. Now new House leadership has put those funds in limbo.

I have worked closely with local, state and federal representatives since 2003 to address the airport noise issue. One of the first actions I took upon election to Congress was to establish an Airport Noise Task Force made up of representatives from the FAA, area chambers of commerce, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Continental Airlines, Houston Airport System, local officials, homeowners from noise impacted areas, CHARGE and the West 45 Noise Group. The Airport Noise Task Force meetings were the first time all stakeholders came together around the same table to work towards solutions. While the $750,000 earmark was much less than we wanted from the federal appropriators and not near enough for all the noise mitigation that needs to be done, it was a good start and the first in what we hoped would be a series of funding victories.

Now it feels as if the rug has been pulled out from under us. The new House leadership has cancelled all earmarks for 2007. Unfortunately, they can do that. In our federal governments committee-based legislature system the majority party has this type of authority. The new leadership and appropriations committee chairs have decided they are going to extend the same amount of funding that was given to agencies last year, but that they will not honor any earmarks that were attached to the billsthis includes our noise mitigation funding. When money is appropriated to agencies this wayin a lump sum instead of with instructions on how the money should be spentbureaucrats at those agencies end up making the decisions on how the money is spent instead of Congress.

I am greatly disappointed we have to go back to the drawing board for this funding, but I will not let it stop our progress. I will continue to let Washington D.C know that we have a problem here in Houston and that by cancelling this funding they are impacting our neighborhoods and our families. I remain dedicated, as I have always been, to facilitating the communication among all parties that are impacted by airport noise. I will continue to host meetings, pursue efforts to reach an amicable solution and request funding from the Washington appropriators.

Earmarks should be transparentall Americans should be able to see which requests are made and which are honored. But they should not be outlawed. We could simplify this process by requiring up or down votes on earmarks in the House of Representatives on each bill instead of lumping them all together in back room deals. We should not take away Representatives authority to request earmarks on behalf of their districts. If officials are out in the community and listening to their constituents, they know best what the needs are. Not a bunch of bureaucrats at agencies in Washington.

Elected in 2004, Congressman Poe represents the Second Congressional District. He serves on the House Transportation Committee, Aviation Subcommittee and established the Airport Noise Task Force during his first year in Congress.

Welcome to America

December 11, 2006


Welcome to America, Bien Venidos a Los Estados Unidos

We are being colonized, and I am not talking about settlers coming in on horses and

wagons to settle uninhabited areas. I am talking about illegals breaking the law and exploiting the integrity of our borders to come into the United States. Instead of sending them back to their homelands or punishing them for breaking our laws, we throw out the welcome mat and treat them with the same hard-earned rights of every legal citizen and legal immigrant. Not only do we protect them, we accommodate them in every possible way. We even have gone as far as integrating the Spanish language into every aspect of U.S. life.

One of the qualities that make a nation a nation is a common language. Our ancestors decided that the American national language would be English. German was the second choice. But, in our day, we don't want to hurt people's feelings that are not from around here, and we make the unwise choice to communicate with them in their language, not the American language.

If youve made a phone call in the last couple of years, you may have realized that English is no longer the official language of the United States. Why is it that we have to press one for English in our own country?

Not only do we have Spanish phone services, we also have bilingual voting ballots, product labels, advertisements and public notices. Anything printed or spoken in the English language almost always has a readily available Spanish translation.

If people come to America, they need, like the people before them, to learn to speak English. Failure to do so makes us not a nation but many nations within a nation.

Not only do we make it easy for illegals to communicate in our country, we also foot the bill for their needs. American taxpayers provide free medical care, education, food and housing for the illegals.

In addition, you also pay for day labor centers, which provide a way for the illegal alien to earn an income. These centers provide cheap plantation labor for businesses that exploit the law at the expense of real Americans.

Anyone can go to these facilities and get a job with no identification, no references and no experience. You show up, and after a few hours, you walk away with hard cash in your pocket. No questions asked. You pay no taxes. You pay no Social Security. You pay no health coverage, and at the end of the day, somebody else pays for all of that.

Our government should be buying into America and our culture, not selling out to illegals.

Pearl Harbor Lest We Forget

December 7, 2006

Mr. Speaker,

West Virginia,








These were fierce U.S. naval battleships whose silent guns and hulls became sacred graves in the peaceful Pacific for 2,403 Americans.

These sailors on board these battle wagons fought with the courage and heroism of entire legions of warriors when attacked by a fanatical and tyrannical enemy.

December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy'' were words spoken by President Roosevelt that became forever embedded in the minds of patriots across our land, igniting and launching a Nation into the fiery trenches of battle.

Japanese naval commanders were concerned because they said, ``What Japan has done was awake a sleeping giant,'' - the United States.

Mr. Speaker, those of the greatest generation proved that when invaded, our people will stand up and fight, bringing the thunder of God upon our enemies. Defending freedom and liberty was the battle cry of the sailors and soldiers that died 65 years ago today.

Mr. Speaker, we don't always choose war, but we must always choose victory.

And that's just the way it is.

Battle for Our Borders

August 18, 2006

The battle at the border continues, this time from Hidalgo County, Texas. I recently returned from the Texas/Mexico border where I met with Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino. This was my fifth trip to the border in the last year and each time is more startling than the last. It remains shocking to me that the security of the United States and the violence occurring in our own backyard is not on the national radar.

I went down to Donna, Texas, to the site of a brazen attack on U.S. law enforcement from across the Rio Grande. You may not have heard much about this in the media, they were busy covering violence on the other side of the world. Sheriff Trevino took me to the location where his deputies and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents took on more than 300 rounds of gunfire from about 100 yards away in Mexico. Hidalgo County Sheriffs Department responded to a call for assistance by an American citizen reporting that her two sons fled their ranch in Mexico after being ambushed by heavily armed men. During the attack at the Mexican ranch, their father was kidnapped and a ranch hand was murdered. Shortly after deputies arrived, gunfire erupted and deputies were forced to take immediate cover from the hail of bullets.

It was originally reported that the gunmen were part of a drug cartel taking over the ranch, but is now believed that they were the strong arm of the law, known as Madrinas. Sheriff Trevino explained that Madrinas are often bribed to provide protection rather than working to bring outlaws to justice. This is yet another example of the violence and corruption in Mexico that extends across the border into our country.

Sheriff Trevino said the number one threat to his county is the criminal alien that is coming to the United States with the sole intent to commit crimes. This week, I attended Homeland Security field hearings in Houston on that same subject. Members of Congress were shown a video of a gun battle between warring drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo. It was pointed out by one of my colleagues that this was not in our country and this type of violence takes place south of the border. Unfortunately, this is not true. These drug lords are not fighting to gain control of Nuevo Laredo to limit there activity there, this is a battle to take over the most lucrative point of entry into the United States. This incident, and every other one just like it, has a direct effect on the United States. You see, these people are not fighting to come to America for a better life; they are fighting for the right to destroy ours.

To give a first hand account of the violence committed by illegal criminals in our country, State Trooper Steve Stone and the parents of Felicia Ruiz testified as to how their lives were devastated by our open border policy. State Trooper Steve Stone of Tyler, Texas, was shot six times after a routine traffic stop of an illegal who had been twice deported. The parents of Felicia Ruiz of Pasadena, Texas, told the heartbreaking story of how their only daughter was brutally beaten, stabbed, and left for dead by a teenage illegal who has since fled to his native country of Venezuela.

It is the primary responsibility of the federal government to protect its citizens, but the United States is failing to do so by continuing to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. The violence on the border doesnt end in the border towns of Texas, Arizona and California; it stretches across our country. While the media and the rest of the country focus their attention on wars a world away, the United States is losing the war along our borders. We can not wait until our country is hit with another devastating attack to take action. If we can protect the borders of foreign nations, the American people certainly deserve that same service here at home. Thats just the way it is.

The sounds of gunfire that ring out after dark along the Texas-Mexico border are best described by a brave patriot on the front lines, former Texas Ranger Doyle Holdridge, it gets western after dark. I have seen this scenario first hand along our southern border, where it was required that I wear a bullet proof vest and flanked by SWAT team members to walk on American soil. And he is certainly correct, it does get western. Just this past week we heard of more violence, as shots rang out from across the border at Hildalgo County Sheriff deputies and US Border Patrol in Donna, Texas, as drug dealers tried to take over a ranch on the Mexican border. Deliberate and brazen attacks on Americans such as this will only continue to get worse as long as Washington continues to ignore the severity of the problems associated with illegal entry into America.

As a member of the House Committee on International Relations and Terrorism Subcommittee, I attended field hearings in both San Diego, California, and Laredo, Texas, last week. Members from both political parties were given an opportunity to hear from local sheriffs, border patrol, community leaders and organizations in each of the respective border cities. These hearings provided vital information to the security of our country from those on the front lines. The people along our borders that are faced with the brunt force of illegal entry deserve to be heard and have their say before Members of Congress. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue, this is a red, white and blue issue. There is no room for partisan politics in securing our borders and safeguarding the United States against those who wish to do us harm.

Unfortunately that category of those who wish to do us harm is debatable. Law enforcement along our borders believe that narco-terrorists who are smuggling drugs and humans across our border are as big a threat to our security as al-Qeaeda terrorists because they work hand-in-hand. During testimony from Zapata County Sheriff Sigi Gonzalez, members of the committee were told of intelligence gathered that suggests terrorist cells are in Mexico, learning the Spanish language and assimilating into their culture to easily pass into the United States. Sheriff Gonzales further testified that there is a greater threat of this happening on the southern border because of the similarities in appearance to those in the Middle East. His testimony was backed up by Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores by explaining that the drug cartels in Mexico control all routes into the United States for both drugs and human smuggling. He said that securing our borders and stopping the drug dealers is an absolute must in the security of our country because it is impossible to distinguish between those that are coming here with good intentions and those that are not.

On the other side of the issue, we heard statements from Members of Congress that feel it is important to only stop those that wish to do us harm from entering our country illegally while others should be allowed to cross. It was even suggested by one Congressman that drug dealers are simply business men and they are not going to harm their American customer base. Unfortunately this is not reality, not even close. Entering our country illegally is against the law, no matter how big or small an infraction you think it is, it is a crime. We are not given the luxury to pick and choose which laws we obey in our country. It is the lawlessness on the border that breeds violence, gunfire, drug trafficking, human smuggling and is ripe for terrorists to operate and easily enter our country. It will continue to get western on our border until border security becomes a national security issue. That's just the way it is.

There is good news on the horizon for American consumers; Congress passed legislation to lessen the grip OPEC has on our countrys energy policies. I cosponsored the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (DOER) which passed Congress with bi-partisan support further showing that Members of this House hear what the American people are saying and are acting to put control of US energy policies back into the hands of Americans. This is a comprehensive bill that covers previous legislation I have filed to expand offshore drilling. Simply put, if we want to reduce energy prices, we need to explore for more energy. All the people in non-drilling coastal States want cheap gasoline and natural gas, without drilling off their own coastline. They want Texas and Louisiana to keep doing the drilling for them. As our demand for energy grows, we cannot have it both ways; cheap gasoline and refusing to drill offshore. We must do everything in our power to expand energy exploration all parts of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

This bill not only allows the United States to cultivate more of its own natural resources, but grants coastal States the power to control their own coastlines. They decide the extent to which they utilize the resources of the OCS area off their coasts and what energy exploration they will allow. States will now have the ability to control drilling rights up to 100 miles off their coast as opposed to the current 3 mile limit. This eliminates the common excuse that is ugly for tourists, even wide-eyed tourists cant see that far.

Additionally, the DOER Act will allow states to share in the leasing royalties should they choose to drill off their coast and encourage more states to participate as they will now share in the benefits from leasing rights. For my State of Texas, we have long held the belief that drilling can be done in a responsible and environmentally safe way. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita proved that we can drill safely without causing harm to the environment in even the strongest hurricanes. Now, Texas will be able to share in those leasing royalties that in the past have been exclusively limited to the federal government. These funds can be used by Texas to offset the cost of Rita, fund education for Katrina refugees or other important programs needed in the State.

The bottom line remains: the United States must be more self-sufficient when it comes to energy. The United States imports 60 percent of its crude oil from foreign countries, even though we have large quantities of oil and natural gas available in our own OCS. With much of this area off-limits to energy exploration, the United States is the only developed nation that limits access to their own natural resources. Other nations are willing to drill close to their own shores. Canada drills in the Great Lakes. Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand all drill within 50 miles of their own coastline. The Netherlands drills 20 miles off their shoes and Scotland drills just 10 miles off their coast. By limiting our ability to explore for energy we are only stifling our own energy supply, and therefore punishing our citizens with soaring energy costs.

This is a win-win bill that allows for further exploration while rewarding states that want to control their own energy supply and respecting state plans to protect sensitive environments. While it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, I encourage my colleagues to listen to the American people and do what is in the best interest of the people of the United States. We can not continue down this road of dependence on foreign oil rich nations. Thats just the way it is.

In the ongoing debate over illegal immigration, supporters of those who break our laws justify the crime by saying they do so with only good intentions. Unfortunately, not everyone who illegally enters the United States is here to achieve the American Dream and contribute to the good of our country.

Human garbage, its what Milagro Cunningham thought of an 8-year-old girl who he raped, choked and left underneath massive chunks of concrete in a landfill in Florida. Police dont know how she was able to find the strength to wiggle her fingers while trapped underneath the great slabs, still barely alive. Matter of fact, it was the only sign she survived. Milagro Cunningham, an illegal from the Bahamas, was arrested three times by police before he tried to kill the tiny girl. Not once did they detain him for trespassing on American soil.

People living by the very railroad tracks that mobilized our Great country, once were paralyzed with fear when a mass murderer, know as the Railroad Killer was on the loose. Angel Maturino Resendez raped, bludgeoned, hammered and even sledge hammered nine people to death, all of whom lived within yards of railroad tracks. Small town shops sold out of pistols and people who never locked their doors, sealed even their windows. The killer, an illegal Mexican murderer, hopped trains never knowing where he was going, but always knowing what would happen when he got there.

To Resendez, every border - Mexican, US, Canadian - meant bloodshed. He was arrested or deported more than ten times. He was sent home after carrying guns, defrauding Social Security, burglary, trespassing and pretending to be a Texas citizen. But he was only arrested after claiming the lives of nine American citizens. His first known murder victim was beaten to death two years after his last deportation. The victims girlfriend was raped and beaten, but miraculously survived and was found near railroad tracks.

These deadly illegal invaders knew what they were doing and they are not the only ones who tracked northward leaving a trail of trouble. Their clandestine border crossing and thousands others like them mean twelve legal citizens will be murdered today, tomorrow and everyday. Thirteen legal citizens will die because a drunk illegal alien got behind the wheel of a car today, tomorrow and everyday. Eight children will be sexually abused by perverts who will cross the line, after illegally crossing the border. Thats today, tomorrow and everyday. Not all illegal immigrants are criminals before they cross the border, but they break the law with their first step on American soil. And unfortunately their first crime, may not be their last.

They arent just trespassing on our soil, they are trampling our laws, violating our values and shattering our safety. It must be stopped with a sealed border and an impenetrable immigration process. That is just the way it is.

The Bottom Line

May 19, 2006

The debate over illegal immigration has turned into a typical political tug-of-war with every bit of common sense checked at the door and the Administration trying to appease both sides of the aisle. Leave it to bureaucrats to complicate a simple issue of right and wrong. It is illegal to enter our country without permission from the United States government no matter which way you try to sell it. Bottom line: it is it is illegal to be here illegally.

While not all people entering our country are from Mexico, quiet frankly I am tired of hearing Mexicos President, Vicente Fox, weighing in on American law and policy. I think his country, and ours for that matter, would be much better served if he spent more time weighing in on Mexicos problems. He is not an American citizen, he does not have any more say as to how we protect our country than do the millions living here illegally. The American people find this and most of the debate on illegal immigration complete nonsense.

Lets start with the ridiculous notion of the Catch and Release program. What happens is Border Agents arrest illegals for entering the country illegally, and then release them with an order to return for a deportation hearing. If the suspect in question knowingly broke the law by entering our country illegally, what makes anyone think that he would obey a court order to return? Even fisherman who coined the Catch and Release phrase, tag their catch before releasing it. There is no reason that we should allow this to continue. There are several simple solutions to housing illegals, the best one is called jail. Jail is not supposed to be a luxury hotel, it is to serve as a deterrent for future illegal behavior. Tent cities will work for quick and swift deportation, as will the 10,000 FEMA trailers sitting in Arkansas.

Lets be honest, this new guest worker program is not for guest workers, it is for illegal workers. We dont need another program, we already have the most generous guest worker program in the world and it has done nothing to slow the tide of illegals entering our country. This new worker is being touted a as path way to citizenship for those who have established roots here. They will be expected to pay back taxes, learn English and get at the back of the line for citizenship. It begs the question, if they have been here so long and never made the effort to legitimize their status, what makes anyone think they care to become American citizens now? If they live in a cash economy, how do we know what their back taxes are? And what is going to happen to them if they dont learn English, pay back taxes or become Americans? Nothing, and they know it. A worker program that leads to citizenship for illegal immigrants by any other name is amnesty and I will not support amnesty in any form.

The debate over illegal immigration has many facets, but we must not lose sight over the main issue. While the debate the social and moral implications of what to do with those already illegally here continues, we as a sovereign nation must secure our borders and insist on ending incentives for people to come to our country illegally. Businesses and individuals must be held accountable. Social services, including education, must be for American citizens. If people in our country illegally dont have the rights and privileges of citizenship they will finally be forced to abide by our laws or return to their own country. That is just the way it is.

Illegal Extortion

May 5, 2006

I find it curious that news outlets across the country portrayed this weeks illegal immigrant boycott as a pro-active political movement to support immigration. When in fact it was just the opposite, it was an organized slap-in-the-face of our immigration laws. The message to the American people was not one of solidarity; it was a message of defiance and disrespect. It was a blatant attempt to extort amnesty.

What was equally as appalling as the failed extortion attempt was the effort by American organizations to register illegal immigrants to vote. You must be a citizen of the United States to have a say in how our laws are made and how our country operates. Many of the protestors carried signs saying, protest today, vote tomorrow. I encourage every American to exercise their right to vote, but you must be an American first. It is a privilege of citizenship, a right and duty bestowed upon each and every citizen of our country that it is not be taken for granted or abused.

On the heels of Mondays boycott, the Mexican government announced their support of legalizing hard drugs, such as heroine and cocaine. It would be nave to think that this is going to do anything to lessen the violence and murder at he hands of the drug cartels. The violence along the Texas-Mexico Border is at a breaking point as we speak, the thugs running dope are becoming more brazen everyday. The Mexican government has made no attempt to address the violence and appears has given into the drug lords that will soon rule their country.

This is just one more reason it is time the United States take back the border. We have wasted so much time and energy focusing on the plight of the poor illegal immigrant that we are losing sight of the real dangers lurking along the Rio Grande. It is time the bureaucrats stop pontificating on what should be done and take innovative steps to securing the border now. It is obvious that what we have done in the past has not slowed the tide of people entering our country illegally. By not enforcing our laws we have empowered the drug dealers and terrorists around the world.

Mexicos decision to legalize dangerous drugs will only put more money and power into the hands of the enemy. Terrorist operations around the world are well funded and have no moral boundaries as to where they filter their money as long as it facilitates their radical agenda. The legalization of drugs in Mexico makes the Texas-Mexico border prime breeding ground. Drug dealers work with human smugglers and with the encouragement of drug use in their country, more illegals with drug addiction will enter the US continuing to make their problem, our problem.

We can not sit idly by and let Texas be overruled by illegal inhabitants and a corrupt foreign country. I have personally invited President George W. Bush to come to Texas and meet with the Texas Border Sheriffs Association so that he can hear first hand the serious consequences we are facing. I have an open-ended invitation to my northeastern colleagues in Congress to visit the border with me as well; so far I have not had any takers.

Our own history shows us amnesty does not stop illegal entry and only rewards illegal conduct to people who disrespect American law. Lawlessness only breeds more lawlessness. You must be proud to be an American and pledge allegiance to her and her only. We have only but one flag in this country and only one National Anthem. That is just the way it is.

As gas prices soar, common sense solutions are on the decline. Once again, the American consumer is paying the price at the hand of foreign oil rich nations and OPEC. Simply put, we do not produce enough oil or natural gas from domestic sources despite our overwhelming abundance and every year less and less crude oil comes from our own nation.

Gas prices are hovering near all-time highs, hitting the three dollar mark right here on the Gulf Coast, the petrochemical capital. I know, I fill up at the same gas pumps and pay the same prices as my constituents. Not to mention my old Jeep doesnt get the same gas mileage it use to. But what most people do not know is the reasons behind the recent increase in gas prices.

It is important to understand that U.S. oil companies only have a 10 percent stake in actual crude oil production. The vast majority of crude oil is produced by members of OPEC, therefore they are in control of setting the price. OPEC is upping their reserves, but putting less crude on the market driving up the price per barrel.

Another reason for escalating prices is actually one billion reasons, China. Countries such as China and India are paying above market prices for crude oil. The Chinese economy is expanding so rapidly that they are buying up every ounce of oil that they can get their hands on at any price. Simple economics dictates that when supply becomes limited, prices increase.

In an effort to gain control of our oil and gas destiny, I have filed legislation that will allow us to expand domestic drilling, lessening our dependence on nations unfriendly to the United States. I have sponsored and co-sponsored legislation that would immediately expand drilling throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico, off the east and west coasts and increase the states share of royalties oil companies pay for off shore leases. This additional revenue for the State of Texas would be a significant boost to funding our education system and better prepare us financially for disaster relief.

According to the Department of Energy, last year the United States imported more crude oil than ever before. The White House this week released a staggering statistic that 1 in every 10 gallons of refined gasoline being sold at U.S. pumps is imported. Not hard to believe since we have not built a refinery in this country in 30 years. Due to the extensive and expensive permitting process is not feasible for companies to start from the ground up.

However, some good news is on the horizon. Shell recently announced that they plan to expand their Motiva refining facility in Port Arthur, making it the largest in the country. Pending approval of government regulations, Shell plans to have the refinery online by 2010 and produce 610,000 barrels of gasoline a day, exceeding Exxon Mobils Baytown refinery as the largest in the country.

Congress must come up with a diverse energy plan that incorporates increasing domestic production of crude oil and natural gas from off shore leases and in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR), increase our domestic refining capacity, invest in alternative fuel choices, aggressively address price gouging reports and call for a short-term release of crude oil from the Strategic Oil Reserves to immediately ease the pain at the pump.

We must quit giving lip service to being energy sufficient. It is time for America to take charge of our energy policy and lessen the stranglehold of foreign countries. Thats just the way it is.