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Foster heads to the border for fact-finding mission
By David Beery | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/18/2008 12:05 AM

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New Congressman Bill Foster, saying he has heard much from constituents about immigration issues, will spend the next four days on a fact-finding trip to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Foster's itinerary will include border tours near Tucson, Ariz., and San Diego, Calif., and conversations with Border Patrol officials and agents. He will speak with Immigration Customs Enforcement agents about border smuggling.

"I want to see firsthand how we are guarding our borders, meet the men and women who are doing the job, get their advice about what works and find out what resources they need to do their job better," Foster said in a statement. "As a scientist, one specific reason for my visit is an on-site technical evaluation of the 'electronic border fence' which is being tested along part of the Arizona-Mexico border."

Foster's communication director, Shannon O'Brien, said Foster organized the trip after hearing from constituents holding a wide variety of views on immigration. She said he invited U.S. House colleagues to accompany him, but other members' schedules did not permit their participation.

Foster, a Geneva Democrat, will return Tuesday, after speaking with reporters by phone Monday while he still is on the border.

Foster has represented Illinois' 14th Congressional District since May, when he won a special election to complete the term of Republican Dennis Hastert, who resigned his seat in November 2007. He will square off in November's general election against Republican Jim Oberweis, of Sugar Grove.