[Congressional Record: October 2, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
IMMIGRATION AND PROTECTION OF OUR BORDERS
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, let me say first of all that as I sat here
and observed and listened to the comments of my colleague, the
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. McInnis), I am taken with the profound
nature and the fact that he has for quite some time been a consistent
and articulate spokesman for the concept of a missile defense system,
which I certainly agree with him now increases in terms of its
importance in the context of the defense of the Nation.
I hope he continues to speak on this issue. I hope he continues to be
the sort of advance guard for this concept, because, of course, it is
one that is being criticized by our opponents. And it needs people like
my colleague to defend it.
It is striking because, from my own point of view, it is in a way a
metaphor for what I want to talk about tonight. The gentleman talks
about the danger we face, among other things, and this was just a part
of his presentation, but he was talking about the danger this Nation
faces from an outside source, from something coming in, crossing our
borders, and attacking our cities. And he talks about the need of the
United States to prepare some sort of defense against it. I certainly
agree with him that that need is great. But it is a metaphor, as I say,
for what I wanted to discuss tonight because I believe the issue of
something outside of the United States, or somebody, in my case,
outside the United States becoming a dangerous missile directed in our
Whether in the form of a huge massive piece of steel or in the form
of an individual who is willing to give his or her life turning an
airplane into a missile, the fact is we must protect our borders. We
must defend the Nation against these outside incursions. And although I
totally and completely support the idea of a missile defense shield, I
must add that there is another thing that we are responsible for here
in this Congress, something that we are uniquely responsible for in the
Congress of the United States, something no State can individually take
on for itself, just as they cannot take on the defense of the country
individually State by State, but that they rely upon the Federal
Government for that purpose, and that is the Federal Government is
solely responsible for the control of our borders, for the control of
immigration across those borders.
States cannot in any way, shape, or form manage that problem. It is
not delegated to them in the Constitution as a responsibility. And, of
course, it is not realistic to think that they could take that
responsibility on. It is uniquely this body, the Congress of the United
States, and the President that have the ability to control that
process, entrance into the United States of America.
And what more do we need to know? How much more do we have to see
before we come to the conclusion that what we have been doing for the
last 20 or 25 years in terms of protecting our borders has simply
failed us? The people that took over the planes, the people that did
all the preparation, the people that did all the planning, all the
cells that are operating inside the United States, or those of which we
know anyway and those that have been made public, all of them had as
members people who were foreigners to the United States, people who
were here on various types of visas or, in some way or other, had come
into the United States; but they were not citizens of the United
States. They had come across our borders for the purpose of doing us
harm. And we allowed them to come across the borders. And we allowed
them to stay here, even though, by the way, some of them had given us
cause to be concerned.
In a recent article appearing in the New York Times, of all
publications, September 27, the headline is ``Suspects in Hijackings
Exploited Loopholes in Immigration Policy.''
The article goes on to describe, it says,
For Hani Hanjour, identified as the pilot who flew the jet
that rammed into the Pentagon, blending into the American
landscape began in Saudi Arabia with a $110 application for a
four week English course in California. He had only to prove
that he had $2,285 to pay for the lessons along with room and
board. He never turned up for class. Two other men the
authorities said plowed jetliners into the World Trade
Center, Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, entered the United
States on tourist visas. Even without the required student
visa, the men studied at the flight school in Florida.
Counselor officers deluged with visa applications say they
generally do not have much time to investigate the
applicants. Once foreign visitors enter the United States,
immigration officers and law enforcement agencies usually
have no idea if they are complying with the terms of their
visas. United States Immigration officials said the hijackers
exploited an immigration system that critics contend is
riddled with loopholes.
I am certainly one of those critics and have made my concerns with
regard to this particular problem known for many months here on the
floor of the House.
Until September 11, that system was geared to ease the way for
commerce, whether in the form of tourism, business or study. Experts on
tourism said that security precautions often took a back seat to
pressures from industry, the concerns of neighboring governments, and
even bureaucratic rivalries in the United States Government.
According to the State Department manual for counselor affairs,
participating in the planning or execution of terrorist acts would bar
a foreigner from getting a visa, but ``mere membership in a recognized
terrorist group would not automatically disqualify a person from
entering the United States, nor would the advocacy of terrorism
disqualify a person from coming into the United States.''
I could go to an embassy in Saudi Arabia, in Syria, in Iran; and I
could apply for a visa to the United States, and I could list my
membership in a wide variety of terrorist organizations, terrorist
organizations that had called for the kind of thing that happened on
September 11. But the visa officer in those embassies would not be able
to exclude me, would not be able to stop me under the present system of
immigration laws we have in the United States from coming here.
If this is not unbelievable to you, Mr. Speaker, I cannot imagine
what we can say that could more clearly define the problem than this.
The manual, apparently unchanged since September 11, says that the
United States will exclude immigrants who incite for direct terrorist
activity but that statements of a general nature that do not directly
advance specific acts of terrorism are not automatically a basis for
exclusion. Some American investigators have said they believed Mr.
Atta, the apparent mastermind of the group, belonged to the Egyptian
Islamic jihad, and that he met with Iraqi intelligence officers this
year. He apparently entered on valid visas and may have even reentered
the country after overstaying his visa on his last trip to the United
Mr. Speaker, approximately 30 million people obtain visas to visit
the United States every year. Thirty million people come into this
country via visas every year. Most of them of course are on tourist
visas. Some are on business and education-related visas, but 30 million
come in. We have some approximation; we think we have a handle on how
many overstay or violate their visas, and it runs at about 40 to 45
percent. So that means that 12, 13, 14 million people a year come into
the United States, ignore the visa requirements, and simply stay.
Do you know what happens to them, Mr. Speaker? You know one of the
reasons why such a high percentage of these people can and do violate
their visa regulations? It is because nobody cares. It is because no
one will take any action against them.
The INS will say that it is an overwhelming job for which they are
sufficiently funded. Perhaps so. It is also true that the INS could not
care less about the people who overstay their visas. There is a
culture, a way of thinking in the INS, I do not know if it is still
there after September 11, but I can guarantee you it was there before
then and I think it is still there now, that encourages and it
essentially abets the criminals who come into the United States, who
come in illegally to begin their stay here or eventually become illegal
because they overstay their visas. The INS does not care. It is of no
consequence to them. In fact, they want to encourage it.
Mr. Speaker, I was actually in a debate on the radio with a lady who
was the regional officer in the Colorado area for the INS. She may have
been the public affairs person. She was asked by the host of the
program I was on, why is it that the INS does not actually arrest and
deport all of the people who are here illegally? Why do they not
essentially find them, round them up and send them out of the country?
I thought it was a very logical question. By the way, this was before
September 11. And she said because that is not our job. She said the
INS, it is not our responsibility to deport people who are here
illegally. Our job is to figure out a way to get them legalized. I have
no idea where she read that, what particular set of rules or
regulations or under what law she interpreted her role as an INS agent
as simply helping everyone in the world become a U.S. citizen. I
suggest that is an inaccurate observation on her part.
It is the case that most people in the INS, many, I should say, many
people in the INS have that same sort of idea. They are infused with
this concept of open borders. They believe their real task is to get as
many people in here as possible, get them legalized, and have them
eventually become citizens of the United States. That is not what I
consider their role, but that is what they consider their role. They
ignore the 12 to 15 million people who overstay their visas. Nobody
checks into it. Hence, we end up with people like the ones that I have
just identified who became the hijackers and took the lives of
thousands of Americans. They had overstayed their visas, many of them.
Nobody cared. Nobody checked.
Mr. Speaker, this issue of our ability to control our own borders is
extraordinarily important from my point of view. It is true that I have
been on this floor many, many hours in defense of a policy that would
protect our borders, defend our borders, help us determine who comes in
and how long they stay. The right, not just the right but the
responsibility of every nation on this planet is to do just what I have
described, protect and defend their own borders. Most nations do so,
and we do not begrudge them that. Mexico does so. Not 2 months ago
Mexico decided to once again put Federal troops, Mexican Federal troops
on their southern border with Guatemala. Right before President Fox
came here to ask the United States to essentially open our southern
border, he made a decision about what was good for Mexico; and he
determined that the large number of people coming across the border,
the low-skilled people, were causing an economic drain for the Mexican
Government, and he determined to put a stop to it.
This is not the first time Mexico made that decision. Mexico in the
past essentially rounded up immigrants illegally coming into their
country, and I mean that in the literal sense, put them in detention
camps or sent them north to get them out of Mexico. Yet the President
of Mexico comes here and says it is our responsibility to open our
border to his people, to his unemployed because, of course, they choose
not to deal with the horrific economic problem and social problems that
beset that nation. They would rather have the United States be the sort
of safety valve that they need to keep their people moving north and
sending money south.
Mr. Speaker, no one is suggesting, certainly I am not suggesting that
the events of September 11 were the responsibility of Mexican
immigrants. They certainly were not. They were the direct actions taken
by people from the Middle East. But my point is this: we must do
everything we can to seal our borders except to those people we
determine need to and legitimately have a reason to come into the
United States. Just because one of those borders happens to be between
the United States and Mexico is not the point. It is not anti-Mexican
to suggest that we need to deal with the border any more than it is
anti-Canadian to say that we must deal with the issue of a porous
border on our northern frontier. It does not matter which country we
are separating ourselves from, it is the function of this government,
it is the legitimate function of this government to in fact ensure the
domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. That means,
among other things, the defense of our borders.
Going back to the article that was in the New York Times, it said,
``In spite of elaborate immigration laws and the efforts of the INS,''
which is almost a joke, ``the United States is de facto a country of
open borders, the National Commission on Terrorism said in a report
last year.'' It is that same report that we now hear spoken of widely
as being prophetic. It is that same report that people refer to
constantly and say why did we not pay attention. To Mr. Rudman and
others who were the authors of the report when they gave it to us, a
relatively short time ago, but even before that we had warnings.
In earlier reports, in 1997 we had the Jordan Commission Report. The
late Barbara Jordan was not considered to be a raving conservative with
attitudes so anachronistic in nature. Barbara Jordan was a very
outspoken, very articulate, very liberal individual, politically
speaking. It was the report she commissioned that talked about the
dangerous nature of our porous borders. It talked about a whole bunch
of interesting issues, and I certainly commend it to anyone for their
If they think that this issue is simply one of those right-wing
conservative, white men issues, Barbara Jordan, an African American,
who understood the problems and the dangers we face in this Nation as a
result of massive immigration, legal and illegal, as a result of having
borders that are completely and totally porous as a result of being
unable to defend ourselves and unwilling to defend ourselves in that
Mr. Speaker, I find myself in a dilemma. It is one with which I have
dealt for some time, and it is this: I know that a huge majority,
somewhere 75 to 80 percent of the people of this Nation, support our
point of view vis-a-vis immigration and immigration reform. A huge
majority of the people of this Nation believe that we should reduce
immigration, that we should gain control of our borders, that we should
do something to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country,
that we should do something to make sure we know what people who are
here on visas are in fact doing. That we in the United States and the
Federal Government should take on our responsibility to protect and
defend this Nation by protecting and defending its borders.
I know, Mr. Speaker, that a huge majority of Americans agree with
this point of view. Believe me, I hear from them. And the dilemma is
this: How is it that we can have 75 to 80 percent of the population
agreeing that we have to reform our immigration laws and do something
to tighten up on the way in which people are able to obtain entrance
into this country, why is it that that is the case and that this body
is unable or unwilling to reflect that point of view? How is it, Mr.
Speaker, that even in light of the events of September 11, that we have
a situation where when the administration comes forward with a bill
that has relatively few points dealing with immigration and visas, even
those points are watered down?
I saw today in the paper that this House, somehow it said, the House
has agreed on a new antiterrorism bill. Now, no one has asked me about
that yet, but it does not matter, the leadership evidently in both the
House and the Senate have come to some conclusion about what the
antiterrorism bill should include. And when it got down to the point
about immigration, it talked about how watered down that bill had
become. It talked about the fact that one of the provisions that was
stricken from the measure was the ability to detain people who were
here, aliens who were here because we believe that they are connected
to some terrorist organization, now we have
only a certain period of time and they can go to court, all the rest
of the stuff.
Amazing, Mr. Speaker. Absolutely amazing. We act as though, and we
talk as though these people who have come here from foreign countries,
whether for good intentions or ill, we talk as though they are American
citizens, with the same rights as an American citizen.
Mr. Speaker, they are not, by definition, American citizens. They do
not enjoy the same rights as American citizens. Just simply being here,
simply being within the, quote, borders of the United States, existing
here does not confer upon you any of the rights guaranteed in the
Constitution. There are some liberal judges who have interpreted this
differently, but I suggest they are incorrect in their analysis. I
suggest that if we do not say that there is a difference between people
who come here and simply get across the border and exist here and those
of us born here or obtain legal citizenship status, if there is no
difference, then why do we even have the concept of citizenship? Why do
we go through the process of having people raise their hand at a point
in time when they come across the borders and swear allegiance to the
United States and confer upon them citizenship? What does it matter?
Why do we not just end the charade and say if you are here, if you have
made it across our borders somehow, you get all of the same benefits as
Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that that is what the founders of the
Nation intended. And as a result of the fact that the people to whom we
are focusing on, whom we are focusing our issue here tonight and were
part of the antiterrorism bill, they were not and are not citizens of
the United States and, therefore, have absolutely no, quote-unquote,
right to any of the protections that the immigration lawyers and our
friends on the other side of the aisle forced into this package. But
that is the extent to which we in this body have sunk. We are unwilling
to confront the proponents of open borders. We are perhaps even willing
to risk the security of this Nation in order to gain a political
advantage, a political advantage that would accrue to one party who
would gain the votes of these people who eventually became citizens.
Now, that is a pretty cynical analysis, but, Mr. Speaker, I cannot,
for the life of me, think of what in the world it is other than a
cynical reason employed to stop and water down the antiterrorism bill
in the area of immigration reform. It is truly amazing. It is almost
beyond belief that this could happen today. But it goes to show you the
dilemma, the nature of the dilemma that I referred to earlier.
What do I do, Mr. Speaker? What can I do other than what I have been
doing, to take this floor at every opportunity, to express myself as
clearly as I possibly can about the nature of the danger, about the
nature of our responsibility in the face of that danger?
How much more can I say than has been said? How much more of a
statement can I make than was made on September 11 to convince my
colleagues that something significant has to change in the way of
immigration reform? That is why I take this floor as often as I can and
address those who may be listening, Mr. Speaker, and others for the
purpose of trying to convince them that pure partisan political motives
sink below anything that we believe can and should be done in this body
to advance the American cause. I cannot think of any other reason why
we are so unwilling to deal with this issue of immigration reform.
Even the administration's bill, the original bill, did not go far
enough as far as I am concerned, certainly. We should, in fact, impose
a moratorium on all immigration for at least 6 months, except for cases
of national security. We should give our agencies, the INS, the FBI,
immigration authorities throughout the country, we should give them the
opportunity to reform themselves, to reconstruct themselves into a true
immigration control agency. We cannot do that with something near 300
million people crossing the border, 300 million people annually
crossing the border between the United States and Mexico. We cannot do
that with 30 million visas being given every single year.
Let me talk for just a second about one special kind of visa, by the
way, called diversity visas. We came up with these in the early 1900s
and we said, you know, there are some countries that just are not
sending enough people, some countries from which we are not getting
quite enough immigration. And so we are going to give them a special
place in line. We are going to set aside 50,000 diversity visas for
these countries, and they are, among others, Egypt, Syria, Libya, they
are countries throughout the Middle East who benefit from diversity
visas. Now, I have no idea if any of the hijackers were recipients of
diversity visas, but I have to ask if this is one of those things we
are going to hang on to because of some sort of politically correct
concept about who should be able to come into the United States.
Mr. Speaker, before September 11, there were many people who would
even actually openly state that it was their desire to see open
borders, not just between the United States and Mexico, the United
States and Canada, but open borders throughout the world and that we
should be sort of the forerunner in that.
You do not hear them anymore. They do not stand up on the floor of
this House. They do not even write editorials in the Wall Street
Journal anymore. Cato Institute, a very powerful, very influential,
libertarian-oriented think tank here in the United States, has for
years pushed the idea of open borders. Even they have been,
interestingly, quiet in recent weeks. Nobody thinks it is a good idea
anymore, Mr. Speaker, to simply walk away from the borders and let
anyone walk into this country at any time, stay for as long as they
like, do whatever they want, and leave. Nobody thinks that that is
Well, interestingly, we are still at that point, even after the 11th
of September. We are still there. That can still happen. And although
people do not take the floor to attack the idea of open borders
anymore, they still want it. They still advocate the concept, they just
cannot do it openly, for fear of the political and social retribution
that would be heaped upon them, and deservedly so.
There is another article to which I wish to refer this evening. It is
written by a lady by the name of Ann Coulter, opinion editorial.
``After the World Trade Center was bombed by Islamic fundamentalists
in 1993, the country quickly chalked it up to a zany one-time attack
and 5 minutes later decided we were all safe again. We weren't then. We
aren't now. They will strike again. Perhaps they will wait another 8
years. Perhaps not. The enemy is in this country right now. And any
terrorists who are not already here are free to emigrate. The
government has been doing an excellent job in rounding up suspects from
the last two attacks. But what about the next attack? We thought there
was only one murderous Islamic cell in America the last time.
Incorrect. Congress has the authority to pass a law tomorrow requiring
aliens from suspect countries to leave. As far as the Constitution is
concerned,'' she says, ``aliens, which is to say any noncitizen, are
here at this country's pleasure. They have no constitutional right to
be here. Congress has, within its power, the ability to prevent the
next attack, but it won't,'' she says. ``When the Sears Tower is
attacked, the President is assassinated, St. Patrick's Cathedral is
vaporized, anthrax is released in the subway systems or Disneyland is
nuked, remember, Congress could have stopped it but it didn't. Pious
invocations of the Japanese internment are absurd. For one thing, those
were U.S. citizens. Citizens cannot be deported.
So far, thank God, almost all the mass murderers of Americans have
been aliens. But even more blindingly obvious,'' she says, ``there was
no evidence that the attack on Pearl Harbor was staged by Japanese
saboteurs living in California. The Japanese internment was a pure land
grab implemented by liberal politicians, President Franklin
Roosevelt,'' and she mentions others here, Governor Warren.
``The internment was vigorously opposed by J. Edgar Hoover. This
time, the very nature of the enemy is that they have infiltrated this
passed themselves off as law-abiding, quiet immigrants. The entire
modus operandi of this enemy is to smuggle mass murderers to our
shores. But the country refuses to respond rationally. Rather, Congress
is busily contemplating a series of `anti-terrorism measures,' most
notable for their utter irrelevance to the threat. What precisely would
a national ID card accomplish? The hijackers were in this country
illegally. A few may have overstayed their visas by a few days, a minor
bureaucratic oversight that they surely would have remedied had they
not been about to commit suicide in a monstrous attack. One member of
the other body,'' she said, ``has bravely proposed that we take the
aggressive step of asking aliens in the country to register
periodically with the government so we know where they are. That is
already the law in Germany. Several of the hijackers in this attack
lived in Hamburg. They obediently complied. The mastermind of the most
vicious attack in the history of the world, Mohamed Atta, was in
Florida on a 'vocational status visa' in order to attend flight school.
Let's say Atta had registered. Now what?
``As the entire country has been repeatedly lectured, most Muslims
ever amazingly peaceful, deeply religious, wouldn't hurt a fly. Indeed,
endless invocations of the pacific nature of most Muslims is the only
free speech it is safe to engage in these days. This is a preposterous
irrelevancy. Fine. We get it.
``The New York Times can rest assured that every last American has
now heard the news that not all Muslims are terrorists. But that is not
the point. Not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all the terrorists
are Muslims, at least all terrorists capable of assembling a murderous
plot against America that leaves 7,000 people dead in under 2 hours.
``How are we to distinguish the peaceful Muslims from the fanatical
homicidal Muslims about to murder thousands of our fellow citizens? Are
the good Muslims the ones that live quiet lives, pray a lot and obey
the laws? So do the architects of Bloody Tuesday's mass murder. Are the
peaceful Muslims the ones that loudly proclaim their hatred of Osama
bin Laden? Mohamed Atta did that too.
``The only thing we know about them, other than they live among us,
is that they are foreign-born and they are Muslims. The government has
been remarkably tight-lipped about precisely how many Muslim visitors
we are currently accommodating, but from unofficial estimates there
appears to be more than 1 million. Even if the Attorney General
instigated latter day Palmer raids, it will take years and years to
investigate and infiltrate every potential terrorist cell operating on
``The investigation should not be conducted while the enemy continues
residing here, plotting the next attack. It is an extreme measure,''
she says, ``but we face an extreme threat. It is suicidally naive to
think we can simply seal off every water supply, all the air vents,
food supply and crop dusters from now until the end of time. We cannot
search every truck, every passenger, every shopper, every subway, every
person entering every building, every American every day. It is
impossible to stop Islamic fundamentalists who think that slaughtering
thousands of innocent Americans will send them straight to Allah. All
we can do is politely ask aliens from suspect nations to leave,'' she
says, ``with full expectation of readmittance while we sort the peace-
loving immigrants from the murderous fanatics.
``More benefits of the plan next week, but the beauty part of the
terrorist deportation plan can't wait. There will be two fail safes.
One, Muslim immigrants who agree to spy on the millions of Muslim
citizens unaffected by the deportation order can stay, and, two, any
Muslim immigrant who gets a U.S. Senator to waive his deportation by
name gets to stay.
``This is brutally unfair to Muslim immigrants who do not want to
kill us, but it is not our fault. It is the fault of the terrorists who
are using their fellow Muslims as human shields. So far, America's
response to a calculatingly cold-blooded enemy has been to say, excuse
me, you seem to have dropped your box cutter.''
Now, Ms. Coulter's observations are just that, her observations. She
is, of course, free to state them. And they are harsh, and I doubt for
a second that this body would ever consider such an action as deporting
all people who are here as immigrants and who are Muslims.
We are not going to do it, and whether that is good or bad I will
leave up to the observer. But I will say this, that there are many
things we have an absolute right and ultimate responsibility to do.
Putting troops on our border, a scary proposition for some, an
absolutely logical one for me. Also, I might add, Mr. Speaker, a
logical one for a majority of Americans. They agree it should be done.
The purpose of the military is to defend our borders. We know where
our borders are. Let us send them there. We cannot depend upon the INS
to protect us. We cannot depend upon the INS to keep people out of the
United States who should not come. We cannot depend on the INS to
enforce our own laws.
An amazing thing I was told earlier this evening, there are literally
hundreds of thousands of orders that have been issued by judges, by
immigration judges in this country; orders for the deportation of
immigrants who have violated a law, who have come here illegally, or
while here have violated some law or have overstayed their visas.
Hundreds of thousands of these orders have been issued in the last few
years. Yet few, if any, have actually been carried out by the INS.
When the judge raps his or her gavel and says you have been found
guilty of violating the law and I hereby issue an order to deport you,
that person can simply laugh at the judge, turn around and walk away.
We do not hold them, and we do not go after them.
Now, they can in fact enter an appeal. We do not know exactly how
many have done that, but we do know that many have done that and again
walked away. We are going to try to find out those numbers, but the INS
is very tight-lipped about these things.
Literally hundreds of thousands of people have actually put up bond,
put up bail, and walked away. They have committed crimes. Some of these
crimes are far more serious than simply overstaying their visa or
entering the country illegally. Some of these are felonies, and yet the
people walk away, because right now the law allows them to do so. And
there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of frustrated Americans
serving in the capacity of judges and honest immigration officers who
are incredibly frustrated by their inability to stop the ocean with the
sieve that we have given them.
We could do something about that tomorrow. We could determine how
many people are out there who have skipped out on bail, who have simply
walked away from court orders deporting them and have never been looked
for by the INS. The INS will tell you that it is a resource issue, but
it is more than that, Mr. Speaker. They do not want to look. They do
Some of the time I am told that in some of these cases that come in
front of these judges that I have referred to, the immigration lawyer,
the lawyer for the government, is actually half the time defending the
perpetrator, the plaintiff. And to the judges even, this seems odd and
almost incredible, but it is what has happened. For years we did not
pay the slightest bit of attention to it. As I say, I and others could
get up on this floor and speak to our concerns about immigration, and
people really would not want to hear it.
Because no one wants to be considered to be racist or xenophobic, and
I certainly do not believe that I fall into either of those two
categories. I know that I do not. No one wants to be called those
things, and so everybody avoided the discussion of the issue of
It is too late for us really, in a way. But at least we must now do
everything we can, as I said earlier, if it is building a missile
defense system, that is fine; but let us do something before it gets
here, before that missile or before anyone with the intent of
destroying the United States and everything we stand for. Let us do
something about it. Even Ms. Coulter suggested, after her rather
Draconian measure is employed, to send, to return all Muslims, to send
them all out of the United
States, she agrees that they should be allowed to come back in, once
some sort of detection mechanism has been set up, once some sort of a
system is set up to see if they should be allowed in. I am not
advocating that at all. All I am saying is that some measure has to be
employed here, some rational approach has to be adopted by this House
and by the Senate and signed by the President to deal with this issue
of immigration in the poorest nature at our borders.
I do not know, as I say, what more we can possibly add to this case
that we are making in front of the people of the United States. I do
know this, Mr. Speaker, that unless the people of the United States let
their elected representatives know how they feel about this issue,
things will not change.
There is a strong lobby here in the Congress of the United States
against any immigration reform. It is led oftentimes by immigration
lawyers who make their living, of course, out of making sure that we
have open borders or at least pursue a policy, a de facto policy, of
open borders. Then there is, of course, a large number of people who
simply believe in that concept philosophically; they adhere to it. Even
if they are out of touch with their constituents, they are going to
vote that way, Mr. Speaker, we both know this, unless they hear from
That is why when I say I have a dilemma, it is in knowing exactly how
to deal with the fact of the incredible irony, if you will, the fact
that a huge percentage of the population by every poll agrees with the
point of view that I have established here tonight, that some form of
immigration reform is necessary, that we should limit the number of
people coming into the United States far lower than it is today at a
million and a quarter or so legally, and maybe twice or three times
that many annually coming, into the United States illegally. People
want that reduced. They want illegal immigration stopped. They want us
to deal with those people who are here illegally. They do not want them
Certainly, there are a lot of employers who understand the fact that
it is good business to pay people maybe even less than the going wage,
maybe even less than minimum wage, exploit them because they are here
illegally, knowing that they cannot do anything about it. Yes, I know
there are employers of course who do that. But I am telling my
colleagues that a majority of Americans want people to enter this
country legally, want us to have a fair system that allows for
diversity, that allows us to continue to enjoy the benefits of
diversity, all of the great things that immigration has provided to the
I would never, ever deny the fact that we are richer as a Nation as a
result of the many incredible treasures that have been brought to our
shores by immigrants. I do not believe that we should forever end all
immigration. I simply ask for us to take a rational approach. Let us
pause immigration for at least 6 months, a pause. Let us catch our
breath. Let us try to create a true immigration agency, one that can
actually determine who is coming across our borders and how long they
are here, and determine whether or not they are doing something when
they are here that they should not be doing. Is that too much to ask
for, really? Is it too much to ask for that we probably should not hand
out 30 million visas a year, that we maybe should get rid of the
diversity visas directed specifically at Middle Eastern countries? Is
that too much to ask for?
I am not suggesting Ms. Coulter's remedy. I am saying that far from
that, there are many things that we can do, but we must do something.
It is incredibly irresponsible for us to ignore the reality here; and
the reality is that there are people in this world who are intent upon
our destruction. They hate us, Mr. Speaker, for reasons that go far
beyond our foreign policy, far beyond the issue of Israel-United
States-Palestinian relationships. They hate us because of who we are
and what we stand for. Because we are the bastion of Judeo-Christian
ideals, among those being the freedom to think.
This is not the kind of world, the one we represent is not the kind
of world in which these people, these terrorists, are comfortable; nor
is it one in which they can survive or thrive. Their brand of hijacked
Islam can never survive in our kind of world, because our world puts
them into the marketplace of ideas. It asks them to simply advance
their ideas through that marketplace. They cannot survive in that
arena. They know it. Therefore, they believe that the only way to
advance their cause is by the sword, just as it was centuries ago. This
is a continuation of that failed concept, of conquest, of moving a
religious issue by the sword. They are not unique in the world. It has
happened before. There are many times in the world's history where we
have seen this kind of thing happen. The fact is that we are dealing
with it now, today, in America; and the perpetrators are fundamental,
radical members of Islam, as a result of the fact that there are who-
knows-how-many millions of people out there who have our destruction as
their main purpose and goal in life.
Mr. Speaker, several things are important for us to do. One is to
understand what I just said, that that is their intent. It is not to
change our foreign policy, Mr. Speaker. It is not just to get a respite
from the atrocities, from the conflict in the Middle East. It is not
just an issue of the Palestinians versus the Israelis. It is far, far
more serious than that, far deeper. As I say, its roots go back
Therefore, recognizing that we cannot change it simply by changing
foreign policy; recognizing that the mechanisms that can be employed
today to bring about our destruction are far more threatening than they
ever have been in the history of mankind; recognizing that what
happened on September 11 is probably just a teaser, and that the next
event could very well be horrendously more devastating. The gentleman
from Connecticut (Mr. Shays), the chairman of one of the House
committees that deals with the issue of security, has said on this
floor, said on television, I have seen him, I have heard him and he
said more than once, that it is not a matter of if they are going to
use weapons of mass destruction; it is a matter of when.
Knowing that, then, Mr. Speaker, why would I not do everything I can,
stand up here at this microphone as often as I possibly can, to
encourage, to cajole, to talk to this body about the importance of
doing this one thing: gaining control of our borders. It is the only
thing I can do. It is the only mechanism I have.
I can introduce the legislation, but I assure the Members, it will
not pass. I assure Members it will not even be heard by the committee
of reference because there is this kind of knee-jerk reaction to
anything like this that it is too controversial, that we would make too
many enemies in certain communities in this country.
How can we let these things guide our actions today, Mr. Speaker? How
can we? It is more important than politics. It is more important than
how many votes we are going to get at the next election from any
particular ethnic group in the United States.
It is for every ethnic group in the United States that I plead. It is
for every human being here, from whatever racial origin. It does not
matter who they are, where they come from, but if they are here, if
they are American citizens, it is they that I plead for.
I plead for their safety, for their security, for the security of
every Mexican-American who just came here and came legally and is a
member, or anybody who is even here illegally, it does not matter, I am
pleading for their security. I choose not to identify any particular
I know every time we talk about immigration reform, it comes down to
this thing. I have read in the paper attacks on me personally because I
have called for immigration reform, and the suggestion the other day in
the Denver paper, there was someone who wrote an editorial saying, why
is he talking about reforming immigration? Why is he talking about
shutting off the border? It was not Mexico that attacked the United
Of course it was not. Who said it was? It has nothing to do with
Mexico; it has everything to do with porous borders between Mexico and
the United States and between the United States and Canada, and the
United States and the rest of the world. That is the problem. It is not
any ethnic group. It is
our inability to control our own destiny because of our inability and
unwillingness to control our own borders.
Many philosophers have used the phrase ``demography is destiny,''
many times. I agree. We have an ability to help control our destiny,
but it means controlling our borders.
Mr. Speaker, I once again take this microphone and once again suggest
that the only way we will ever get immigration reform through this body
is for people to rise up and let the Members of this body know how they
feel about it. They have to do it directly and quickly and
vociferously, and they have to be unwavering in their commitment to get
their point across that we desperately need true immigration reform.
Share this page
Bookmark this page
The leading immigration law publisher - over 50000 pages of free information!
© Copyright 1995- American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM