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Bush takes border security message to Texas

EL PASO, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush went to the border with Mexico Thursday to underscore the need for border security to be beefed up to thwart terrorists.

Five billion dollars of his recent $27 billion emergency request has been earmarked to improve security at the nation's airports and borders, "to make sure Americans are more secure and more safe than ever before."

Before an enthusiastic crowd in El Paso, Bush -- once the governor of Texas -- said security has improved in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, with government agencies "sharing information the likes of which we've never shared before."

He added, "The best way to protect the homeland, the best way to make sure that Americans can grow up in a peaceful country, is to find terrorists wherever they hide and bring them to justice, and that's what we're going to do."

But the goal will not be easily achieved, he said.

"We're in for a long struggle."

Bush cited Thursday's suicide bombing in Israel and another Wednesday in Peru as proof that the terror threat remains a present one.

"This is a dangerous world. Too many people are losing their lives to murderers. History has called us into action."

Bush singled out Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat for criticism: "America will fight terror wherever we find it, and as well, we will call upon leaders throughout the world to do so as well. Mr. Arafat must do more to stop the violence in the Middle East."

He then repeated his contention that anyone who aids a terrorist is "as guilty as the terrorists themselves."




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