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[Congressional Record: June 6, 2001 (House)]
[Page H2943-H2949]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

[[Page H2943]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Rogers of Michigan). Under the Speaker's 
announced policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. 
Tancredo) is recognized for 60 minutes.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, America is in the midst of another crisis. 
It is not just the energy crisis that we face and that was so lengthily 
dealt with here for the last hour. It is almost ironic, I suppose, that 
I end up following a discussion of the energy crisis in California, 
because a lot of what I have to say this evening revolves around that 
crisis, but it takes perhaps a little bit of a different look at the 
reason why we have such a crisis.
  I believe very strongly, Mr. Speaker, that America is in the midst of 
an immigration crisis, a crisis far greater in terms of its impact on 
the United States of America than the energy crisis that presently 
confronts us in several States and perhaps even around the country.
  Since 1970, more than 40 million foreign descendants have been added 
to the local communities of the United States. Just last month, the New 
York Times reported that the Nation's population grew by more people in 
the 1990s than in any other decade in United States history.
  Is it not time that we ask ourselves, what level of immigration is 
best for America and what level of immigration into the United States 
is even good for the rest of the world, to help the rest of the world?
  These can be difficult questions to ask about immigration, because we 
recall, all of us here I am sure, our own families coming to the United 
States, entering probably through Ellis Island during the height of the 
immigration period that we sometimes refer to as the golden age of 
immigration, the early 1900's, the late 1800's. That was a period of 
time most people believe that the greatest number of immigrants entered 
the United States through those gates.
  That is incorrect, Mr. Speaker. It is a myth. The greatest number of 
immigrants ever taken into the United States during the ``golden age'' 
of immigration was 200,000, approximately 200,000.
  Every year, every year, for the last 8 years at least, exactly five 
times that many immigrants enter the United States legally. Our 
immigration cap now is approximately 1 million people, plus another 
300,000 or 400,000 that we classify as looking for refuge. This would 
be refugee status. So we have about 1.3 million or 1.4 million 
immigrants coming into the Nation every year legally. We have probably 
double that many people coming into the United States illegally every 
year; and when I say ``coming in,'' we probably have 10 million people 
coming in, but we end up with about a 2 million person net gain every 
year, from illegal immigration alone.
  Now, what does this mean? Numbers like this are really quite 
extraordinary. If I could get a page to put up one of the charts over 
there, I will refer to it in just a moment.
  I think back to my own family's background, and certainly I am a 
relative newcomer to the United States. My grandparents came here in 
the late 1890's. They settled, all of them, in Colorado, in and around 
the Denver metropolitan area, strange as it seems, because most people 
had some intervening place they stayed, New York or Chicago or 
someplace like that. But not mine. They came right to Colorado.
  I often talked with my grandparents, my grandfather specifically, 
about the trip over from Italy to the United States and the kind of 
trials and tribulations that he faced. It is an interesting story. I 
certainly enjoy it. I tell my friends about it. I enjoy my heritage. I 
understand perfectly the desire for anybody to come to the United 
States, especially poor people, as my grandparents certainly were. They 
were looking for a better life. I completely sympathize with all of 
those people who are looking for that better life. I am sure that if I 
were in their shoes, I would be trying to do exactly the same thing 
they are doing, get to the United States.
  But we have another responsibility here in the United States. It is 
to our own country and to our own countrymen, because at some point in 
time we have to wonder how many more people we can absorb and how many 
more people this Nation can afford to provide for.
  I know all of the issues that have been debated about immigration and 
about immigration reform. Many people suggest that we have no reason to 
be concerned about massive immigration across our borders, that in fact 
it is an issue of economics; that the more people we let in, the more 
lower priced help we have, the lower priced labor that businesses can 
access, meaning in the long run lower prices for the American consumer.
  Well, I will tell you, what that is is really a euphemistic way of 
describing what happens when immigrants come here, especially illegal 
immigrants. They come here, and they are, oftentimes, unfortunately, 
given jobs that perhaps other Americans would not take, and they are 
exploited. They are exploited oftentimes by the employer, who pays them 
less or will not give them the benefits they deserve, because he knows 
that this person is probably not going to go and complain about it, 
because they are probably here illegally anyway. Even legal immigrants 
have an effect of depressing the wage base for people with mid or low 
skills, low-level skills.
  So, immigration of this nature, of this kind, massive immigration, is 
five times greater just in terms of the legal immigration coming into 
the country, five times greater than it ever was during the heyday of 
immigrants coming to the United States around the turn of the century, 
the last century.

                              {time}  1700

  Well, these numbers have an impact on everything in the United 
States. It has an impact on the quality of life that we all share here.
  Do you ever wonder why, when you are driving down the street and you 
remember that just a few months ago, maybe even a month ago, when you 
went past this very same point that was at that time a nice pasture 
land or open area, a greenbelt, do you remember thinking to yourself, 
gosh, is it not amazing? Now all of these houses are being built here, 
all these apartments are being built. Is it not incredible how many 
cars are on the road? I cannot get to work anymore in the same amount 
of time that it took me just a few short months ago to get here. What 
is going on? How come there is so much talk about growth? How come 
there is so much concern about growth in the United States? Is it 
because our country, the people who live here are simply having so many 
kids that they are placing this kind of infrastructural pressure on the 
system? No, Mr. Speaker, that is not the case.
  The chart I have on the easel down in the well is a very interesting 
chart. It is a population chart starting in the year 1970. The green 
area on the bottom is what we would identify as the population growth 
in this Nation from those people who are already here. These are what 
we would call indigenous Americans. The fact is that we have had 
population growth among that group. We call it the baby boomers. There 
has been a baby boom echo; and it has gone up, as we can see, from 
about 203 million people living here in 1970 to 281 million people here 
at the last census, the 2000 Census. But we also see there that of the 
281 million of us that there are now in the United States, that 243 
million of those would have been the natural growth rate of the 
country. Those reflect the natural growth rate of the country. The 
rest, those identified in red, represent what has happened to us from 
immigration and their descendents.
  So we can see that we have had the same amount of growth among that 
particular group as we have among native-born Americans. So we have 
essentially doubled our natural growth rate in this country by 
immigration patterns.
  Is it surprising, then, to anyone that we heard our colleagues on the 
floor from California spend the last 1 hour complaining about the lack 
of resources, about the incredible problems that the State of 
California faces from an absence of energy? I also recognize that my 
colleagues from California were complaining about the administration's 
proposals to increase the amount of energy available to all of us.
  Well, let me suggest this, that there is another responsibility that 
is uniquely the responsibility of the Federal Government, that the 
States have

[[Page H2944]]

absolutely no power to control whatsoever, and that is immigration 
policy. That is the responsibility of all of us who serve in this body, 
to establish an immigration policy for the country. And when we ignore 
the fact that people are coming into the country at the rates they are 
coming into the country, then it is very difficult for me to get 
terribly excited about the impact that those numbers have if no one 
wants to address the issue, no one wants to talk about it.
  Everybody wants to talk about just simply the fact that we no longer 
have a lot of oil, or we no longer have a lot of electricity, and is 
that not terrible, and how are we going to get more. What I am saying 
is that the reason we do not have the resources is because the demands 
being placed on our resource base are so great that they are depleting 
it faster than we can replenish it. Why are the demands so great? It is 
because of the numbers, the huge numbers of people coming into this 
country and the children that they both bring with them and have here. 
It places an enormous amount of strain on our resource base.
  Now, it is all right, it is perfectly fine for us, I think, to go 
ahead with a massive immigration policy if we have it, as we have, if 
everybody in this body agrees with it, understands it, knows what we 
are doing and says, yes, we have debated it fully. We recognize that 
bringing a little over a million, a million and a quarter people in 
here legally and have at least 2 million immigrants into this country 
net every year is okay. We understand all of the implications of that. 
We recognize that it will cause California, for one thing, to have to 
build a school a day, a school a day in order to keep up with this 
population pressure. We understand that. We understand that we will 
have rolling blackouts. We understand that we will not be able to buy 
gas at a price that most of us would consider to be convenient or 
acceptable. It is going to get a lot more expensive. So is every other 
form of resource we have in the United States, natural resource. Why? 
  Well, where is the demand coming from? We are, in fact, making 
products every single day that use less and less energy. The 
refrigerator that is in your house today uses far less energy than the 
refrigerator that was in your house even a short 5 or 6 years ago. Air-
conditioning. Cars getting better gas mileage. All of these things 
should, in fact, determine a downward energy use per capita in the 
United States. But it does not matter if there is a downward spiral or 
a downward pressure of per capita energy use if the number of people 
keeps going up so rapidly, so dramatically. We will have to continue to 
exhaust the supplies, to go elsewhere in the world, rely on both our 
friends and our enemies for help in providing oil resources. We will 
have businesses going bankrupt, having their business interrupted by 
these blackouts. All of these things we see are a result of numbers, 
the numbers of people. And this is something that we cannot seem to get 

  I recognize fully well, Mr. Speaker, that I am one of the individuals 
here who has taken on the challenge of trying to make this a public 
debate. It has gone on plenty of times in the halls of this Congress. 
It goes on around the water coolers of Americans in their jobs, I 
understand and I believe that. I know it happens a lot. I know people 
sense the problem that exists in the United States with regard to 
massive immigration; but no one is willing, or I should say, very few 
people are willing to actually bring these issues forward for public 
debate, because, of course, there is always someone who is going to 
stand up and say, this is a racially tainted issue that we cannot talk 
about it. Any discussion of it, any attempt to reduce the numbers has 
some sort of racial implication. I say, for one, Mr. Speaker, that it 
has absolutely nothing to do with race or ethnicity from my point of 
view; it has to do with numbers. I do not care whether they are coming 
from Mexico or Guatemala or Nigeria or Canada. I do not care where they 
are coming from. It is the numbers that we have to deal with.
  Now, there are other implications of massive immigration from 
countries that do not have English as their primary language and I will 
speak to that in a moment or to. But originally, my point is to make 
reference again to this chart and to show my colleagues that if we were 
to actually have just relied upon the population growth from the baby 
boomers in a short time, in just a few years, we would actually see a 
leveling off of population growth in the United States and an actual 
decline as we got to 2100. Now, that is not going to happen. Because, 
as I say, we have already increased the numbers dramatically, and so we 
are going to have to deal with the fact that the population of this 
country is going to go up, even if tomorrow we were to stop immigration 
  Growth has enormous impacts, as I have suggested, on all of us, every 
single State. I can recall just coming back from our district work 
period and looking at what was happening in my own State of Colorado, 
the incredible number of highway projects that are being undertaken, 
the incredible number of schools that are trying to be built, the 
incredible amount of money and tax dollars that we are going to require 
from taxpayers in order to pay for all of those things.
  Now, Colorado is a beautiful place to live. There are no two ways 
about it. I certainly can recommend it. But I also just recommend that 
you come and visit and not stay for very long. The reality is that 
immigration into the country has actually had an impact on Colorado. 
Most people think that some of the southern tier States, Texas, 
Arizona, southern California, are the only States that are impacted by 
massive immigration. That is not true. All States are impacted by 
immigration. The fact is that huge numbers of people move into these 
southern tier of States and, in many ways, displace people who were 
living there. They move because they do not like the quality of life 
anymore. They move to other States. They move to Colorado in huge 
numbers, but so have immigrants directly from other countries coming to 

  Our numbers are up dramatically in the State. My district is adjacent 
to the fastest growing county in the Nation, Douglas County; and I 
should tell my colleagues that when we look around, again, as I drive 
down the street and I see all of these houses popping up out of the 
ground where there were simply meadows before, prairies before, I do 
not like it any more than anyone else. I remember Colorado. I was born 
there, I remember a much more pristine environment. It is not 
benefiting us to have this kind of massive immigration. It is a cost to 
  Where is it coming from? Do we all just assume that it is from people 
from other States moving in to where all of us are experiencing growth, 
just people coming from other States? It is wrong. There are not that 
many States losing population. Every State gained population. It is not 
an issue of people leaving all of the rust-belt cities and now moving 
just to the south; it is an issue of massive immigration, immigration 
from all over the world. People have to be somewhere. We are going to 
see the effects of it over and over and over again.
  Mr. Speaker, I have mentioned the impact on our roads, the impact on 
highway systems, the impact on our water, electricity; but there is 
another impact, a huge impact of massive immigration. It is on our 
schools. Our children are in temporary classrooms all over the place, 
all over the Nation. We hear about this again and again and again. How 
come? Where are these people coming from? Remember California? I 
mentioned that they would have to build a school every day of the year 
to keep up with the State's increase in population, every day of the 
year. Well, they cannot do it. So kids, of course, are housed in 
various facilities, temporary facilities. It will not be long before 
Colorado, before Arizona, before Texas and other States are 
indistinguishable from California in terms of immigration patterns and 
the things that we have to do to deal with it.
  I guess the attitude of many countries, we talk about the need for 
other countries to take care of their own people, to develop an economy 
that would provide jobs and benefits for those people who live there 
today so that they would not be looking for the need to leave the 
country; they would not be looking to immigrate. And we get a lot of 
talk, by the way, we hear a lot of talk from other countries about 
their willingness to do something to help stop the flow of immigrants, 
specifically Mexico. President Vicente Fox

[[Page H2945]]

and others have suggested that they would, indeed, try to help us deal 
with the massive numbers of people coming across the border.
  Well, Mr. Speaker, do we know what form that help has taken? Right 
now, on the border with Mexico, the government is providing people who 
are embarking upon an illegal trek into the United States, they are 
providing them with a care package. This care package consists of some 
food, it consists of a map, it consists of water, it consists of little 
books about how to take advantage of the system once you get here and 
oh, yes, condoms, of course. Why that has to be a part of the care 
package, I do not know, but it is in there.

                              {time}  1715

  This is how the government of Mexico is in fact helping us deal with 
massive immigration on its border.
  The reality is, Mr. Speaker, that most of these countries look to the 
United States as a safety valve. They do not look to do something 
constructive in their own country, they look to us to be able to take 
what they cannot handle; to take all the people in their country that 
are impoverished and that would become a highly, highly unstable 
portion of the population if they were kept there because they cannot 
find jobs for them.
  One reason, of course, that they cannot find jobs for these people is 
because they refused to embark upon a free market economy. The only 
thing I think that will ever get them there is to say to them, it is 
sort of a tough love thing, to say to the President of Mexico, ``We are 
going to shut down the border. We are going to put troops on our 
  That is the only way that we can actually curtail the number of 
people coming across. It is almost at the flood stage. It could be 
thought of as an invasion, and therefore, it is appropriate for us to 
actually put American troops on the border to protect our borders, and 
we are going to do that. We are going to cut down illegal immigration, 
and we are going to cut down legal immigration.
  We are going to put a moratorium on all immigration. That is what I, 
of course, hope we would do in a very short time. That is what we need 
to tell Vincente Fox and others. We need to tell people like Sheikh 
Hasina Wajed, the President of the Nation of Bangladesh, who, when he 
was confronted with the kind of population explosion that is almost 
unbelievable, he said, and Bangladesh, by the way, has a population 
that is expected to reach 120 million by the year 2050.
  When asked how his country could feed, educate, employ, and house a 
population of that size, President Hasina answered, ``We will send them 
to America.'' That is a candid statement. It is not often made by these 
leaders, but I congratulate these people for actually saying the truth. 
That is exactly what they think they will do.
  Our task is to try and figure out what we will do in response, what 
we will do in response to the enormous pressure that is going to be 
placed on the United States from a variety of different places in order 
to achieve some other country's goals.
  There were a number of people on the other side condemning the 
administration for what they considered to be a lack of attentiveness 
to the energy problem, people preceding the gentleman from California 
(Mr. Rohrabacher). It is my contention that there is absolutely a way 
to deal with the energy problem in California, and the one that is 
going to get worse for the rest of the country, and that is to deal 
with immigration, because to a large extent, it is the numbers.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to my friend and colleague, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Rohrabacher).
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) for yielding to me. He is a 
relatively junior Member of the House.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Not even that, Mr. Speaker, I am a sophomore.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. The gentleman has taken on a tremendous 
responsibility and has done a terrific job in calling attention to some 
issues that are vital to our national security and vital to the 
interests of the American people.
  Unless we address the problem of immigration, and I would put it, of 
illegal immigration, and we might have a little disagreement on that, 
but the fact is that those people who are concerned about immigration, 
and we have about 1 million people a year who come here legally into 
this country, which by the way, legally those people entering the 
United States, if we put the rest of the world all together, it has 
about the same legal immigration into their countries as we do into our 
one country.
  But, on top of that, there still continue to be millions of people, 
probably 3 million or 4 million people a year, entering this country 
illegally. It is frightening to see the lack of attention that has been 
given to this very serious threat by our government, both in the 
Clinton administration, and we will have to wait to see what happens 
with President Bush.
  But even among the Republican leadership, we have not been able to 
move forward with a program designed to stem this flow. I think it is 
basically because there is a fear among people who are politically 
active of being called racist. It is just this basic element, we do not 
want to be called names, and we are afraid that someone will impugn not 
only our integrity but our good hearts, so we have shied away from this 
  This issue will destroy this country. This issue will destroy the 
standard of living of our people, and it is currently doing so. In 
California we feel this acutely, but again, no one wants to face it.

  Proposition 187, which tried to hit at some of the real problems 
caused by illegal immigration, passed overwhelmingly. In fact, it was a 
landslide, and even right before the vote they were saying it was going 
to be close. Since that time, those same people who said it was going 
to be close and might lose have perpetuated the myth that in California 
we have in some way lost the Hispanic vote by being against illegal 
  Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Colorado is offering the leadership 
that is so vital to our country and to our well-being, because the 
people throughout the country understand what a threat this poses.
  When we talk about education and class size in California, we are 
talking about illegal immigration. There is plenty of money in 
California to educate our children and to have a class size that is 
appropriate so that our children can learn. Instead, because we have 
permitted illegal immigration to go unabated, our children, the 
children of U.S. citizens and the children of legal immigrants who are 
here in this country and who are going to our schools, are being 
  Why are we doing that? Why are we permitting the education standards 
to drop like a rock, and our kids to not be taught or be given training 
they need to sustain a good life? Why is that? Because we are afraid to 
be called racists.
  Give me a break. What is our responsibility? We have got to step 
forward and say that we care about those young people who come from 
another country illegally. We care about their families and fathers and 
mothers, because they are mostly, and I am sure the gentleman from 
Colorado agrees with me, 95 percent of all the people who come to this 
country, even the illegal ones, are good people. But the fact is that 
we cannot take care of everyone in this country from everywhere in the 
world who wants to come here.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I have mentioned before that it sometimes 
gets lonely on this floor talking about this issue, and I should have 
remembered that there is always one person that I can rely on, because 
he has both the integrity and the guts to come up and also address the 
issue with me. That is my friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. 
  The gentleman is absolutely right when he talks about the fact that 
this is a dagger pointed at the heart of America.
  I do not for a moment want to be misunderstood. My desire is not to 
see a reduction in a certain group of people, a certain ethnic group of 
people. It is simply the numbers game we play, from my point of view. 
It is overwhelming us.
  I will tell the Members that I do have a concern about the way we 
deal with immigrants from countries where the language is not English, 
and the kinds of problems that poses to us from a cultural sense.

[[Page H2946]]

  I happen to believe that there is one thing we need, and this is a 
country of many different colored people, many different kinds of 
ethnic backgrounds. We do not all worship at the same churches, we do 
not all eat the same kinds of foods, we do not all dress and think 
alike. We have a great disparity among Americans. That is, in a way, an 
aspect of our greatness.
  Mr. TANCREDO. But there is one thing that is absolutely imperative, 
it seems to me, in a situation like that. That is to have a common 
language, so that we can in fact communicate with each other about the 
things that are important.
  When we see that, along with massive immigration from countries that 
do not speak English, English is not the primary language, when we see 
the pressure that places on us here to expand the number of languages 
that we teach in schools, let me tell the gentleman an interesting and 
almost I think incredible fact.
  Not too long ago, I read that a gentleman who could not speak English 
was operating a nail gun and, because of whatever reason, he ended up 
shooting himself in the leg with this nail gun. The gentleman could not 
speak English. He therefore determined, or I am sure it was some lawyer 
who determined this for him, that his best thing to do was to sue the 
manufacturer of the nail gun because the directions and the warnings 
were not printed in more languages than English, in his particular 
  There are places around the country where police have to go on calls 
and have to take with them linguists, people who will speak a variety 
of languages, when they get to the door. The reason is because if they 
get to the door and they cannot speak the language of the person who 
has made the call, they, the police, could be sued for not 
appropriately addressing the situation.
  We have had a 911, and this actually happened, a 911 call that comes 
in from someone who was not speaking English. The person on the other 
side of the phone could not speak the language. A lawsuit is developing 
as a result of this. Manufacturers are being told that they have to 
start providing all these warning labels in a whole bunch of languages.

  I ask the gentleman, where will this stop? How many signs do we put 
up on street corners? How many one-way signs? How many languages do we 
print them in?
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. If the gentleman will continue to yield, Mr. 
Speaker, the gentleman from Colorado brings up a serious, serious 
  First and foremost, the reason we would like immigration to be in a 
very controlled and rational process, rather than what we have today, 
which is totally out of control, a chaotic situation, is because people 
who come here should come here and be able to, number one, speak the 
English language, because they should be able to take care of 
themselves, that is number one; they should be healthy; and they should 
be honest; just those three things. If they cannot speak the English 
language, obviously, in a country like ours, they are not going to be 
able to earn a good living and take care of themselves.
  I have no complaints, as I say, about the level of 1 million people 
coming in here, especially when we consider we have 2 million or 3 
million that are coming illegally, and many of the people that the 
gentleman is describing right now are people who have come here 
illegally and expect to have the services provided to them in their own 
language. This is adding insult to injury.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, there are 375 voting districts in this 
country where ballots are provided in more than one language. This is a 
fascinating phenomenon. I ask my colleagues to think about this, and 
people who may be observing us here.
  If we have to print a ballot in a language other than English so that 
a potential voter can understand it, what does that tell us about that 
voter's ability to have understood the debate leading up to that 
election? How do they know what the issues are? How do they know how 
any one of those candidates they are voting for feels about an issue if 
they cannot understand English?
  It is an idiotic thing to present someone with a ballot in another 
language when that means they could not have understood the debate 
leading up to that election.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. The gentleman makes a good point. If he would yield, 
I would also point out that in order to vote in this country, one is 
supposed to be a citizen of the United States. In order to become a 
citizen of the United States, one has to be proficient in the English 
language. That is part of the requirement of citizenship.
  By the way, in Orange County, just like most of California and the 
rest of this country, our people were conned into, for many years, this 
bilingual education concept. It was not until 3 or 4 years ago that we 
finally got rid of bilingual education.
  Mr. TANCREDO. I would like to know how the gentleman did that.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. We had an initiative on the ballot, and the people 
overwhelmingly voted to get rid of bilingual education. I might add, 
even in the Hispanic community they voted to get rid of bilingual 
education. In our county, in Orange County, we pushed hard to make sure 
that that law was complied with and bilingual education was eliminated.
  Does the gentleman know what the results have been in? In the last 15 
years, we have had bilingual education in Orange County and the 
Hispanic kids have been, in the test scores, always at the bottom of 
the deck, always down there at the bottom of the ladder. The Hispanic 
kids always came in last in all the tests.
  Since we have eliminated bilingual education, the Hispanic kids now 
are getting higher grades, and they have averaged out like every other 
child in the school district.

                              {time}  1730

  Bilingual education was a cruel hoax perpetrated on the Hispanic 
community by liberals who were trying to tell people that they were 
giving them something for nothing by appealing to some sort of anti-
American nationalism when, instead, they should have been appealing to 
the better instincts of these people and trying to help them learn 
English, which was a prerequisite to success.
  We have done a monstrous crime. The liberals have done a monstrous 
crime against the young people in our Hispanic communities throughout 
this country in making sure that they did not learn English 
proficiently by having them taught at a young age in a bilingual 
setting, which just inhibited them from learning English as we now find 
they are doing in southern California.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, the point the gentleman from California 
(Mr. Rohrabacher) brings up about bilingual education is an extremely 
important point. I hope people understood and heard what he said, about 
not only the willingness of people of the State of California to 
eliminate it, but a large, a significant number of a part of that 
population that voted to eliminate it were Hispanics themselves.
  Because most of the people that come here from Mexico or anywhere 
else, they come here as poor people looking for a better life. They 
understand one thing very clearly; that is, in order to get that good 
life for themselves and for their children, they need to speak English. 
They do not want their children in these bilingual classes.
  It is this educational elite that wants to force these children in. 
Well, there are a lot of interesting reasons. Some are political, some 
are cultural. But we passed in the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce, and in the education bill that we passed out of this House 
just a short time ago, we included a provision for bilingual education 
that, for the first time, will require parental approval, not just 
notification, but a parent has to give their approval, an affirmative 
statement that they want their children in a bilingual classroom.
  One cannot imagine how that was looked upon by the other members of 
the committee, by members on the other side of the aisle especially. It 
was fought tooth and nail.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, is the gentleman from Colorado trying 
to say that the people on the other side of the aisle opposed giving 
Hispanic parents even the choice of having their kids in bilingual 

[[Page H2947]]

  Mr. TANCREDO. Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. This was an anathema to them 
that they would ask an Hispanic parent or any parent, it does not have 
to be Hispanic, someone who could not speak English, permission to put 
their kid in a nonEnglish speaking classroom.
  Colorado, it used to be until a short time ago, that one could spend 
one's entire career in school K through 12 in the Denver public school 
system without ever being in an English speaking classroom. Now that 
has changed: It is down to 3 years.
  But I will tell my colleagues this, that all of the attempts on the 
part of the education establishment are to keep these kids in longer 
and longer and longer even though they learn nothing. I tell my 
colleagues that thank God for those parents, smart enough to know, 
smart enough to know they may not have terribly marketable skills in 
some of the high-tech areas or whatever. But those parents are smart 
enough to know that their children have to learn English and should, 
just like their grandparents and mine came over here, mine would not 
speak Italian, they would only speak what, my grandmother used to say, 
speak American, speak American.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. TANCREDO. I yield to the gentleman from California.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, it should be noted that, in California, 
there were actual demonstrations by Mexican Americans at the Board of 
Education against bilingual education. The Board of Education, of 
course, would not listen to them. It was not until people were forced 
through a ballot initiative to eliminate bilingual education or at 
least give these parents a chance to have their kids taught in a 
nonbilingual setting, which then gave them the ability to compete and 
have better lives.
  What a crime against these young people we have seen. I hope the 
Hispanic community notes this, notes the effect and who caused this, 
who caused the lowering of the potential of their child by forcing them 
through this antieducational environment that is called bilingual 
  I would like to note something while we are talking now about illegal 
immigration. A lot of times people will suggest that this massive flow 
of illegal immigrants really has not hurt anybody in this country. We 
have already pointed out that in California, at least I think this is 
true in other parts of the country, that the class size alone shows us 
that young people in our country have been damaged severely by having 
an extra, in California I will bet about a third of the class members 
in most classes in southern California are illegal immigrant children 
whose parents have come here recently, never having paid taxes, and now 
their children are immediately enrolled in a school system they have 
never contributed to. Is that hurting somebody? You bet it is. It is 
hurting the kids of the legal immigrants and the kids of the citizens.
  But illegal immigration by being out of control as it has has had a 
tremendous impact on the standard of living of our people. We have just 
gone through 10 years of a major upsurge in our economy. This is one of 
the great times since Ronald Reagan turned the economy around in 1983, 
we have had one of the longest periods of economic growth in our 
  Yet, what is confounding the economists and the others who are 
analyzing all of the figures from the last Census is, how is it 
possible that wages have not gone up even though we have had this major 
increase in the economy and the GNP? All of the models would have had a 
big increases in wages. In other words, the standard of living of the 
American people should have gone up of average working people, but it 
did not.
  Why did it not? They have figured it out that, instead, our liberal 
colleagues have been downplaying how many illegal immigrants are in our 
country. They have been telling us maybe there is 4 or 5 million 
illegal immigrants in our country. No, the Clinton administration lied 
to us. There are between 10 and 20 million illegal immigrants in our 
  Do my colleagues know what that has done for the average person? All 
of that money that should be going into the pockets of our own citizens 
because wages would have increased, that did not happen at all. That 
did not happen because there were more people there offering themselves 
at a lower price to undercut our own citizens, our own legal residents.
  In other words, janitors in our country should be making more money. 
Guess what? Janitors in the United States of America, if it was not for 
illegal immigration, would be making a lot higher salary. What about 
people who work in hamburger stands? What about people who work in 
parking lots? What about people who work in all those many millions of 
jobs throughout our country that, yes, they are at the lower skill 
level, but they deserve to have some of the benefits of an expanding 
  Our poor people deserve to have their standard of living go up when 
things are good in the United States of America. But what has happened 
is we permitted ten to 20 million illegal immigrants into our country, 
and thus the standard of living of the lowest part, the lowest rung of 
our society, people who are just struggling to get by, their capability 
of raising their standard of living was undercut by, of course, the 
liberals who care so much about the poor people.
  I hope that people in this country realize that this has gone so far 
that even their labor unions now have turned a corner and are saying 
that we should permit illegal immigrants to come in and take labor 
union jobs.
  When we are doing that, we are undercutting our own people. Our own 
people will not even get into those unions.
  This is a terrible crime against the people of our country. I will 
have to say, the Republican leadership has not stood up to this. I am 
hoping that President Bush will. But President Clinton and his liberal 
gang just betrayed the interests of the American working people over 
and over again, and illegal immigration is one of the best examples.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, the point the gentleman from California 
makes, especially about the impact, the negative impact of immigration 
on immigrants themselves, is something that we must not overlook here. 
It is not simply for a selfish benefit that we propose to reduce the 
number of immigrants into this country, both legal and illegal, it is 
because it is also the best for immigrants themselves.
  We can, in fact, accommodate a certain amount of immigration into 
this country, and we will all benefit by it, the Native American, if 
you will, or the indigenous American, if you will, and the immigrant. 
But we cannot do it at these numbers, not in a million a year legally 
and 2, 3, 4 million a year illegally.
  Here is what happens. There was a report not too long ago that was 
kind of perplexing. It was confounding in a certain way because it 
talked about the growth of poverty among children in America. Once 
again, one says to oneself now this is anti-intellectual. It does not 
seem right. It does not seem logical. How can we have a growth in 
poverty in the United States of America when in the last 10 years, 12 
years, 20 years, 15 years probably we have had this enormous economic 
  Well, if one studies the numbers, what one finds out is that there is 
a growing number of children that are ``in poverty''. But who are these 
children? They are the children of immigrants themselves, because they 
cannot achieve the American dream for the same reason that my colleague 
explains. There is a depressing effect of the numbers on the wage 
rates. This has been documented over and over and over again.
  Yes, maybe it is a little better than they could have made in their 
country of origin, but they still cannot accumulate the necessary 
trackings of the good life over here because they have to take the 
lowest wage jobs. Because in the numbers they come in here, it 
depresses that whole wage.
  You bet I hear from others. It is not just ``liberals'' who oppose 
any sort of lessening, reducing immigration, reducing the numbers and 
trying to do something about shoring up the border, it is many, many of 
my more conservative business people who come to me and say, I have to 
have these people. I have to have them. I would say, what do you mean 
you have to have them? They say, well, I cannot get people to

[[Page H2948]]

work. I say, you cannot get Americans to work for that wage. Put that 
in there, and I cannot absolutely understand that. Yes, it is true.
  So believe me, I am not just here condemning this sort of, what I 
call the noblesse oblige attitude of the left. It is also these very 
selfish interests of many people on the right who are impoverishing 
both the people coming in who are taking advantage of them, who are 
manipulating them, and at the same time they are actually reducing this 
quality and sound of life for the rest of America.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, we may have a disagreement on the 
decline on bringing down the legal number of immigrants. I think a 
million people coming in in a very rational approach and trying to 
bring in people who can take care of themselves are honest and healthy 
and is a positive thing.
  I think we can absorb a million. But what is skewed to me, what has 
skewed this whole situation and, as the gentleman was saying, even 
those people who are being seriously affected now is the fact that we 
have let illegal immigration go totally out of control. While we let a 
million people in legally, there are 3 and 4 million illegal immigrants 
into our country coming in through other means.
  The gentleman from Colorado is precisely correct when he says it 
impacts those legal immigrants as well as the poor people in our 
society. For example, and he also pointed out, that it is not just 
liberal elected officials who are involved with not caring about this 
issue that is hurting our people, but he pointed out that there are 
many businessmen who are taking advantage of it.
  When I said the standard of living of our working people is not 
increased because of the legal immigration, we have to remember that 
many of the businessmen will not offer health care and other benefits 
to their workers because they do not have to. They do not have to.
  Go down and check the health care departments throughout the United 
States of America, and one is going to find they are swarming with 
illegal immigrants who have come here, either people who are sick and 
wanted to come here and get free operations, or people who came here 
are healthy people, went to work, and worked at virtual slave labor 
prices for big businessmen.
  Big businessmen, if they are going to expect that the market is going 
to protect them, that we believe in the market, thus we believe they 
can charge what they want for their goods and services and what they 
offer for people, the market has got to work when it comes to labor as 
well. If labor is going to cost more money, business is going to have 
to pay more money for labor. We expect that because we expect the 
standard of living of poorer Americans to rise right along with the 
rest of our society.
  But if we have a situation where the poor people of this country have 
joined a liberal coalition that turns its back and permits millions of 
illegals to come into this country, our poor people will never be 
offered the jobs that have health care. They will never be offered a 
  The poorer people of this country have been betrayed by the liberal 
coalition who have made themselves an ally with illegal immigration in 
our society. Whether it is health care or whether it is good jobs, it 
is all being undercut by the liberal coalition and big businessmen who 
are, yes, many of them are Republicans.
  One last note on that point. The gentleman and I faced an issue here 
recently just last year. How many times did we hear about H-1B Visas? 
Right? H-1B Visas. Does the public know what an H-1B Visa is?
  We were being asked to give hundreds of thousands of jobs to people, 
basically people from Pakistan and India, in order to come in and get 
these great high paying or mid level and high paying jobs in the 
computer industry. At that time, the high-tech industry said, oh, we 
cannot find Americans to do these jobs. I talked to these businessmen. 
Oh, you have got to give us these.
  Yes, they could not find Americans to do it because they were paying 
$50,000, and now the market value for people that could work in those 
high-tech jobs was more like $75,000 or $80,000.

                              {time}  1745

  But how did American business want to deal with that? I will tell you 
how: by beating American citizens into the ground, by bringing in a 
hoard of people from overseas to undercut their ability to get a higher 
wage. Give them H-1B visas. Let us bring in 600,000 people from India 
and Pakistan to get those jobs.
  I would say to the businessmen, have you tried to go down to the 
local high schools and pick out the young kids who do not have the 
means to go to college but have the skills, the academic skills, and 
offer them scholarships if they will come and work for you? Oh no, they 
did not do that.
  Well, did you go to the disabled community where we have people in 
wheelchairs who can do work, but maybe they do not have the use of 
their legs or something? Did you go to try to recruit those people to 
set your shop up, so they could do the job and pay them a good and 
decent wage for a change? Oh no, we have not done that.
  No, what we want to do is bring in these young Indians and Pakistanis 
who will work for one-third the wage of what our people will work for 
and let those other Americans go to hell, as far as they are concerned.
  This is not what this government is supposed to be about. This is not 
what Republicans are about, at least not these Republicans, because we 
care about the citizens and, yes, we care about the legal immigrants in 
our country. And we should not be supporting policies that undermine 
the ability of our people to have their incomes increase or undermining 
the ability of our poorer people because of an economic boom to have a 
better life.
  Mr. TANCREDO. The gentleman brings up so many good points and 
addresses them so articulately that I am always inspired listening to 
him. I enjoy it tremendously because I believe the gentleman is a 
patriotic American who understands the real challenges to this country.
  We have said this before, but they do not want to look at this issue 
of immigration. They are afraid of it for a variety of reasons, but as 
my colleague says, one reason is they will be confronted by name 
calling and epithets. And I guaranty you when we get back to our 
respective offices our phones will have been lit up, and for a long 
time, with people saying a lot of relatively nasty things. I have gone 
through this before. I understand it. I am willing to go through it 
time and time and time again, because I believe this is one of the most 
serious pressing problems we face as a Nation.
  I believe with all my heart that we will not exist as we are, a 
Nation with the kind of quality of life that we have, unless we address 
this head on and take our lumps. And people can call us all the names 
they want to call us and whatever, but somebody has to bring this to 
the attention of the American people.
  And I will say one more thing about what my colleague mentioned 
before on the part of many businesses to ignore the alternative, the 
alternative being to force the school systems. If we are having a 
problem, if the problem is that our school system just simply cannot 
produce, does not produce the kind of quality skills and level of 
skills that business needs, there is a way to address that. They can 
demand more from the schools. Or they could avoid all that. They can 
avoid putting money into the school system, they can avoid challenging 
the schools with school choice and a variety of other things, and they 
can take the easy way out. Business can say, I do not have to get them 
here because I can go to someplace else, I can go to India and Pakistan 
to get them.
  I suggest it is just like when we talked earlier about the fact that 
we are giving Mexico and other countries, for instance, the President 
of Bangladesh, when he was confronted with the growth in his population 
and what he was going to do about it, he said, ``I'm not going to do 
anything about it. I will let America take care of it. I will send them 
to America.'' This is the problem; that we give these nations an out. 
We become their safety net.
  It is the same thing here by letting these employers off the hook and 
not forcing them to go to the school systems, not forcing them to 
improve the quality of education and then they can

[[Page H2949]]

get the kind of help they need. We give them a safety net. We say go 
get illegals.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. If the gentleman will yield once again, the irony of 
this is that so many of these countries that are sending their people 
here, many of the people coming here are their educated people and they 
need them in their own country. Many of the people who come here from 
other countries are indeed people who believe in our democratic system 
and are the cream of the crop. And, as such, what we have done is take 
away the ability of that other country to have progress in their 
country while at the same time undermining the United States, the 
people of the United States of America and their standard of living.
  We are going to keep having shortages in energy, as the gentleman 
said, in transportation, health care, and especially education. We are 
going to continue to see the standard of living of ordinary Americans 
just stagnate unless we get control of this illegal immigration. And if 
we do not stand true to our principles of keeping English the official 
language, it will create total chaos and division in our population.
  I congratulate the gentleman for his leadership he is providing and 
let us work together on this.
  Mr. TANCREDO. I thank the gentleman very much for coming down here. I 
hope we will do this again and that I will be able to convince the 
gentleman that even a million a year illegally is too much.


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