[Congressional Record: July 12, 2001 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
HON. DOUG BEREUTER
in the house of representatives
Thursday, July 12, 2001
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member wishes to commend to his
colleagues the July 4, 2001, editorial from the Omaha World-Herald
entitled ``Americans All.'' It ran exactly 225 years after America's
forefathers declared independence from England. At that time, no one
could have envisioned how the ideals expressed in the Declaration of
Independence would continue to attract immigrants from around the
Mr. Speaker, immigrants who legally traverse the U.S. immigration
system should be highly lauded. Indeed, they have made incredible
sacrifices to attain freedom and the chance to pursue their dreams.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon this body to continue to support legal
immigration and the efforts of immigrants to become U.S. citizens for
only through citizenship can immigrants, who contribute so much to
other aspects of American society, fully participate in our unique
[From the Omaha World-Herald, July 4, 2001]
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life,
Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--Declaration of
As Midlanders celebrate the 225th anniversary of America's
decision to end its status as a collection of colonies, it is
instructive and heartening to note that this region is in a
real sense a showcase for the degree to which the Declaration
remains a living document.
Nebraska and Iowa in particular are increasingly becoming a
focus not just of immigration but of immigrants who take the
important and self-affirming step of becoming U.S. citizens.
Those who do so are immersing themselves in the old, yet ever
young, quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
which often were not available in their native lands.
The numbers are not yet huge, but the math involved is
impressive. Naturalizations--mostly of people from Latin
America but also from Lithuania and Asia and points all
over--have grown impressively in the last decade. Many come
for jobs, often in this region's meatpacking plants.
But it is noteworthy that increasingly they are coming
here, rather than to more traditional venues like California,
Texas and the East Coast. Many believe that economic
prospects are brighter in this part of the country, and for
the most part they find easy acceptance. Last year, 4,245
people became U.S. citizens in Iowa and Nebraska. Contrast
that with the figure of 897 as recently as 1992--almost a
fourfold increase. (this Friday, at least 250 new citizens
will be sworn at Lexington, Neb.)
He has endeavored to prevent the Population of these
States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for
naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their Migrations hither. . . .
It is worth remembering that one of the complaints the
authors of the Declaration fielded against England's King
George III was that his policies sharply restricted
immigration. George correctly saw burgeoning population as a
threat to his hold on the colonies. And while he could do
nothing about population growth in America due to the natural
margin of births over deaths, he could and did try to
strangle further influx.
Today, although immigration and naturalization still
present some roadblocks, the picture is much brighter. Among
those who want to plant their futures here, for the most part
they do better if they become citizens. They then have more
of a stake, more of a say. And, to their credit, the process
requires work. It's not like signing up for a supermarket
discount card or acquiring a driver's license.
The procedure usually takes about a year. There's a
standard $250 processing fee, and along the way there's an
FBI background check, an interview and a civics test. So it's
not easy, but at least it's achievable and the process is
regularized and fair. Completing it is, and ought to be, a
source of pride.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British
Brethren. . . . We have reminded them of the Circumstances of
our Emigration and Settlement here. . . .
As has been often noted, this is a nation of immigrants. In
the Midlands, that immigration has to a great degree meant
Germans and Irish, and in lesser numbers Poles, English,
Scandinavians, Czechs and the descendants of freed slaves.
Today, Latinos and, to a lesser degrees, those of Asian
origins are changing the face of society here--figuratively
It is, we believe, incumbent on those who got here first to
extend a welcome to those who are making their own trips and
taking up citizenship as the 20th century fades into the
21st. For the most part, this is happening seamlessly. For
the most part, this is happening seamlessly. The newest
arrivals are being assimilated and recognized for their
strengths. To be candid, Iowa and Nebraska would have
difficulty sustaining population growth without them. The
process feeds on itself. Newcomers who become citizens (or
legal residents) are in turn entitled to serve as sponsors
for relatives' applications.
And so it goes. The faces change somewhat. The goals and
dreams do not.
Nearly everyone who comes here and becomes a part of the
American matrix is seeking essentially the same things the
Founders were taking about 225 years ago. Americans are all
in this together. They draw strength for new blood, new
ideas. That's the indisputable past, and it is the inevitable
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