[Congressional Record: October 3, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
IMMIGRATION AND OPEN 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, it is once again my opportunity to address
this body about an issue of great concern to me. It is an issue, of
course, that I have been dealing with for quite some time. It is an
issue that has taken on much more significance after the events of
September 11; but it is an issue, nonetheless, that held and should
have held our attention before that time. I am talking about the issue
of immigration and the fact that this Nation for now at least for
decades has embarked upon and embraced a concept that we have referred
to often as ``open borders.''
Amazing as that is to many of our countrymen, there is still a
philosophy, it is still a general sort of pattern of discussion in this
body and around the country, think tanks, entities like The Wall Street
Journal and others, to continually press this concept of ``open
borders,'' even in light of all that has happened to us since September
11. It is a dangerous concept. It was dangerous before September 11,
and it is dangerous today.
My colleague, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone), addresses
the issue of workers that have been laid off, workers that have been
denied jobs; and now, as a result of these horrible events of September
11 have lost their jobs. But let me point out that before September 11,
even before the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. job cuts announced
in 2001 exceeded the 1 million mark.
In this article, they give us a partial list. It goes on for four
pages of the companies that had laid off employees, again, even before
the attacks on our country on September 11. Lucent Technologies headed
the list on this one with 40,000. Since then, I understand, they have
announced that another 20,000 people would be laid off. Nortel
Networks, 30,000; Motorola, 28,000; Selectron, 20,850; and it goes on
to over 1 million Americans having been laid off before September 11.
Now, of course, everyone knows what has happened in America and
especially to the airline industry since September 11. Hundreds of
thousands of Americans more have been laid off. It is not just of
course the men and women who have been laid off in the airline industry
directly, it is the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands that we may
be approaching here very soon that have been laid off as a result of
the fact that the airline industry is down.
I do not know at this point in time, as of today, as of this moment,
what our unemployment rate is; but I will hazard a guess that when it
is announced by the Labor Department, the most recent figures will show
a significant jump. And I do not think that is much of a task to
predict something like that.
I say to my colleagues in this body and I say to the administration,
when we are presented with the administration's plans for an economic
stimulus package, when presented with the plans to deal with the
unemployed, I know I have heard already of plans in the works to extend
unemployment compensation to all of these people who have been laid
off, and I have heard various other kinds of comments. The gentleman
from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) talked about doing something with health
insurance. All of that is admirable, but why will we not deal with one
very basic problem, and that is we have had for almost 4 decades
essentially porous borders, borders that really do not exist.
We have faced a flood of immigration that has never before in this
Nation's history been paralleled. Nothing we have seen in the Nation's
history, not even in the, quote, heyday of immigration in the early
part of the 20th century, not even then did we see the kind of numbers
that we have seen in the last 3 or 4 decades.
Right now we admit legally into this country about 1 million people a
year, and we add to that another quarter of a million that come in
under refugee status. But, of course, that is just the legal
immigration, which is four times higher on an annual basis than it ever
was during the heyday of immigration into this Nation in the early 20th
century, the early 1900s. Four times greater. We are looking at four
times the number of people coming into the country legally, and who
knows how many are coming across our borders illegally; but I would
suggest that it is at least that many every single year.
The net gain in population of this Nation as a result of illegal
immigration is at least a million. I have seen estimates far higher, of
3 million, 4 million. The INS does not really know and does not really
care. The INS is a coconspirator in this immigration flood we have had.
The INS considers itself not to be an agency that protects the border,
that keeps people out who are not supposed to come here, that finds
people who are here illegally and deports them, that finds people who
are here even legally and have violated the law under their visa status
and deports them. The INS does not consider itself to be an agency
designed to do that job I have just described.
Mr. Speaker, the INS considers itself to be, and I quote from an INS
official I was debating on the radio in Denver a couple of months ago,
and during the question period by the moderator who said to her why
does the INS not essentially round up people. She said because that is
not our job. She said, Our job is to find ways to legalize these
people. Astounding as that might sound to the majority of Americans who
are listening, to the people in the INS, that is the culture.
Mr. Speaker, to suggest to them that their responsibility, an equal
responsibility at least, is to keep people out of the United States who
have not been granted a visa, who are not legally coming here under any
sort of immigration status, to suggest to them that that is their role
and that they should perhaps do something about the number of people
who have come in illegally, we should find them, send them back to
their country of origin, we should find an employer who employed
them knowing that they are here illegally. Instead of thinking that is
their job, they say their job is to essentially help these people find
a way into the United States, and once they get here, find a way to
make them legal.
This is incredible, Mr. Speaker. It is almost beyond imagination that
this is the perception and this is the culture inside the INS.
Almost every single day I am confronted by another horror story that
makes this one pale in comparison in terms of the corruption inside the
INS, in terms of the culture that exists inside that agency, and of
course with the acquiescence of the Congress. I do not for a moment
suggest that we have not played a role in this corruption.
We have essentially allowed the INS to do what they do, to abandon
their responsibility, to thwart the law. We have allowed them to do so
because in this body there has been, I am not so sure it is as
prevalent as before September 11, there is a philosophy of open
borders. There are a lot of reasons why we have found ourselves in this
Some of those reasons are quite political in nature. It is very
possible that if we encourage massive immigration from certain areas of
the world these people will eventually become citizens of the United
States. Certainly their offspring who are conceived and born here in
this country, I guess I should just say born in this country, will
become citizens of the United States via the way we grant citizenship
here, and therefore able to vote.
There is a perception if we can get millions and millions of these
people here, keep them here long enough to establish families, they
will all become part of one particular party. That is, frankly, why we
saw in the last administration a push, if Members remember correctly,
to get as many people legalized and citizens awarded so they could vote
in the election for the past President.
Well, that is one reason why we have such massive fraud in this whole
area of immigration. Another reason is because again it is the culture
inside of the INS, and it is abetted by another aspect of our society
and that is, of course, businesses, large businesses and small, that
employ immigrant workers, some legally here, some illegally here.
Before I go into the numbers that I came across today as a result of
having a very interesting and disturbing meeting with two people,
American citizens both who have been laid off of their jobs and
replaced by foreign workers, H-1B visa recipients, specifically, before
I get into that story I want to relate to this body an actual
conversation I had last night with someone who chooses to keep his name
secret but is involved in the judicial process with regard to
This person has had a lengthy period of time working in his
particular capacity dealing with immigration. He is part of our legal
system. He called me to tell me of his great and incomprehensible
frustration, the frustration that he feels every single day,
recognizing the fact that although our judicial system is set up to
address the issue of people who are here illegally or people who
violate their status while they are here, and orders are entered to
send them back, that it does not happen. These people are not sent
Now, could it possibly be true, Mr. Speaker, what this gentleman told
me? He said that there are presently almost a quarter of a million
people in the United States who have gone through the system. There has
been an adjudication, there has been a determination by a court of law
that these people have violated their status. They have violated the
law of the land. Either they have overstayed their status under the
visa, or they were here doing something that the visa did not allow, or
in fact they committed crimes against this country, crimes that had
nothing to do with immigration, regular old run-of-the-mill crimes like
felonies, like robberies, like murder, like muggings, and that when
they go into immigration court, because they are here as an immigrant,
because they are here under a visa status, they do not face the same
system of justice that an American citizen would face. Mr. Speaker,
could this be true?
Mr. Speaker, let me say that the person who told me this should know.
I am going to establish that as a fact tonight. I am at least going to
make that challenge. I am going to challenge anyone who disagrees with
what I have just said, that there are almost a quarter of a million
people here in the United States who have been found guilty of a crime.
They are here as guests of the United States under a visa process, a
quarter of a million who are wandering around who have never been
returned to their country of origin; and the reason is because that
duty, that job, that responsibility, is one that we turn over not to
the Department of Justice, in a way it is the Department of Justice
because its a subset of it, but it is not to the police department, it
is not to the regular court system.
They do not come before a Federal, district, or county court. They
come before an immigration court. The immigration court can and almost
always does when they violate the law say you are going to be deported.
We repeal the immigrant's status here. The immigrant's legal status, we
Guess what happens, Mr. Speaker? Again I challenge any of my
colleagues here on this floor or in this body to prove me wrong. A
quarter of a million of these people have simply been ignored by the
INS. They have chosen to simply ignore the situation.
In fact, I am told that many times attorneys for the INS who are
supposed to be on our side in these proceedings, they are supposed to
come in and give the Government's position, they end up becoming a
defense attorney for the plaintiff. Either that, or I am told they are
so incompetent, so incapable of actually mounting a prosecution that
the whole thing is a farce.
Now I do not think that most people in America understand or know
this. I do not think that most of my colleagues in this body know what
I am saying tonight. But some do. Some know that it is absolutely true
because I was talking to a colleague tonight earlier and I was relating
this story. I was saying is this possible. This colleague happens to be
a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, and more specifically a
member of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims.
As is often the case when I get into a discussion like this, I find
that I am always being one-upped. When I start telling somebody a story
like this, they say, well, listen to this.
This gentleman told me about a conversation he had had with a
magistrate in the immigration court because I had indicated if what I
said was true and if people could come to the United States, commit
crimes and essentially walk away without any kind of punishment because
they are in this never-never land of immigration court, it is far
better to commit a crime in the United States as an illegal alien than
as a citizen of the country.
As a citizen, you will face a judicial process that has some
integrity, at least we can hope, and if you violate the law and if you
are found guilty and if the judge chooses and a jury agrees, you can go
In an immigration court, that is not at all the case. In an
immigration court, you are oftentimes told, well, you will be deported
for this act. But, of course, unless the INS actually takes some part
of this, comes in afterwards and says, okay, this person is to be
deported, we will see that he or she is deported and we will watch to
make sure they do not come back. Unless that happens, you are free to
wander the land and do what you want to do. And a quarter of a million
people today in this country are in that status, having been
adjudicated, having been found guilty of violating their status and are
simply walking around the country, free to do what they want to do,
because the INS chooses not to deal with it.
I was in the process of telling you about a conversation I had with
another Member who said, that is nothing. Listen to this. I heard from
a magistrate that something had been happening in his court. When
people recognize what I have just described, this scam, and the charade
that we call immigration courts, it does not take too long for people
to figure out how to work the system. He said that a magistrate told
him that before him had come somebody who had been born in the United
States, his parents had been born in the United States, his
grandparents had been born in the United
States. This fellow was a citizen of the United States. He had robbed
an old lady, beaten her up, stolen her purse. He was arrested.
Evidently not his first offense, by the way.
When he was arrested, he had no identification on him. He said to the
arresting officer when asked why he had no identification, he said,
``Because I am here illegally. I am not a citizen of this country.''
They, of course, the arresting officers, took him to a Federal court,
to immigration court, at which point the magistrate said, I will give
you a choice of either serving time here or returning to your country
of origin, which he said was Mexico. Naturally the defendant said,
``All right, Judge, I'll go back home. I'll take your severe
punishment. I'll go back home.''
They put him on a bus, which is, by the way, more than happens most
of the time. At least putting this guy on the bus was a step up,
because most of the time they turn around and walk away, without any
action. But they put him on the bus, they took him to the border and
they said, okay, good-bye. His slate was at that point wiped clean. He
then went to a phone, called his mother in the United States and said,
Mom, bring me down my ID. She dutifully got in the car, drove across
the border, brought him his ID. He then, of course, came across the
border as the American citizen he was, showed them the material, he
came in now under a different name, his own name but as an American
citizen. No problem. The slate has been wiped clean. And another
I am told by the gentleman today that this judge who told him the
story said this has happened many times in his courtroom, because, of
course, people have found a way to scam the system. It really does not
take, quote, the proverbial rocket scientist to figure this out. If it
is better to be an illegal alien in this country when you commit a
crime, then why not pretend you are an illegal alien to escape justice?
Or why not just be an illegal alien and commit the crime? You will not
do the time. The gentleman that called me last night went on at great
length about the corrupt nature of the system, the fact that time and
time again, even when bond is posted by these people.
By the way, he talked about the fact that drug dealers, I mean big-
time drug dealers who bring these people in to transport drugs for
them, when they get arrested, the drug dealer puts up the bond, it is
just a cost of doing business. The individual bonded out never shows up
again for the hearing and is never ever looked for by the INS. I say
never. In very few cases. The INS will always tell you, well, it is a
matter of resources, we have returned this many, but the reality is
this, Mr. Speaker, they do not care for the most part.
There are, of course, many people, and I have had them in my office,
I have had INS agents come into my office and say, ``Look, I'm afraid
of telling this story publicly, but, Mr. Tancredo, you are absolutely
right in talking about this and describing the nature of this system.
It is corrupt.'' There are many, many people who serve in the capacity
of enforcement agents who are trying to do their best on the borders,
but what they are doing, Mr. Speaker, is trying to hold back the ocean
with a sieve. We could not get much attention paid to these kinds of
problems up to this point in time. It has been very, very difficult to
get anybody to care.
I have talked about it at length on many occasions at this microphone
and in the conference and at every opportunity I have had. Up to this
point in time, certainly prior to September 11, the response I got was
almost uniformly one of, ``Well, we really can't get into that issue,
we really can't deal with immigration reform because, you know,
Congressman, if we do, we're going to be called racists. If we try to
stop the flood of immigrants into this country, you've got a whole huge
constituency here in the United States that would turn against us.''
I say, who here legally supports illegal immigration? And if they do,
I do not even want their vote. For the most part, Mr. Speaker, I
believe that the vast majority of people in this country, of citizens
of this country who came here through the regular process, who are
legal citizens of the United States, be they Hispanic or Asian or
whatever, they agree with us, that we must do something to stop the
flood of illegal immigration into this country. But we have this fear,
a fear which has paralyzed this Congress, and we are not over it yet,
even after the September 11 events.
Before I get to that, I want to stay focused on this issue of H1B
visas, people coming into this country under a visa program called H1B
and the incredible fraud that exists there.
I told you that I met earlier today in my office with two people, two
people who had been employed, they are part of the statistics in this
article. They are just two of the four pages of numbers I have here of
people who have been laid off prior to September 11 because of the
downturn in the economy. But they were not just laid off because of the
downturn in the economy. They were laid off because they were replaced
by cheaper labor to do their very same job. They were replaced by
people who came here legally under the H1B visa program.
Now, for those people who do not know what we are talking about,
Members of the House, perhaps, that do not know what an H1B visa
program is, I will explain it simply, it is a visa that allows you to
come and work in the United States. Usually it is a white collar job
under an H1B. There are various kinds of visas that allow you to come
in and take other kinds of jobs, more menial in nature, less skilled
jobs, but this one, in particular, I am going to talk about for a few
moments is called the H1B visa program.
Recently, the Congress of the United States raised it. In 1998, the
Congress of the United States raised the level, the number of H1B visas
that we could grant, from 65,000 a year to 115,000 every single year.
At that time, Mr. Speaker, industry representatives told Congress that
there were not enough Americans with the necessary skills to fill the
jobs that were available. Yet government studies, most notably the
Department of Labor, rejected the industry's claims of a worker
shortage. After months of negotiation, Congress adopted a temporary
increase until 2002 when the annual level would supposedly return to
65,000. The 1998 H1B law also provided some protections against wage
depression and job loss for American workers. However, they have not
taken effect since the government has yet to issue the regulations to
implement the safeguards.
Today, despite continuing evidence that there is no high tech labor
shortage and with the exception of possible spot shortages, the demand
for foreign workers by American technology companies has prompted this
body, this Congress, to propose raising substantially annual H1B
limits. We were pressured to do so, Mr. Speaker, by businesses and
industries which, in turn, came in just recently with these figures.
They told us that they did not have enough American workers to fill
the jobs, and that is why we had to go ahead and increase the visas in
H1B. Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether they actually lied, but I will
say this, that they misrepresented the situation dramatically. Because
over and over and over again, we have seen cases where people were laid
off of their job and were being paid X number of dollars and were
replaced by H1B visa recipients paid less money. It was not a matter of
not being able to fill the job, Mr. Speaker. It was an unwillingness to
pay the price. And so they, of course, recognizing how the market works
in these situations, supply and demand works, they increased the supply
and, therefore, the wage rates went down precipitously.
Now, this has become this massive, massive fraud that is lining the
pockets of many millions of people around the world, but not the
workers in the United States. One of the perpetrators of this fraud, an
organization that I believe could be charged with aiding and abetting
the fraud, is the American Immigration Lawyers Association. It has
perfected the art of exploiting loopholes and technicalities in the
They work with what are called body shops that are set up all over
the world, India and Pakistan especially, Malaysia. Body shops by the
way, Mr. Speaker, that phrase does not relate to any sort of auto work
or any other sort of, I guess, any other kind of business. A body shop
in this case refers to these organizations like employment agencies.
They are set up all over. They
bring people in. They give them some sort of fraudulent package of
resumes. They construct fraudulent resumes for the people they bring in
in India and Pakistan, saying that they have had years of experience in
a particular field, which is required under the H1B visa program, to
have at least 2 years' experience in the field. So they construct a
fraudulent resume. They put these people through a brief, maybe 6-week
course sometimes, and award them diplomas and degrees and whatever, and
then put them into the H1B program and they charge these people
exorbitant fees. There are interesting articles again here to prove
They charge these people exorbitant fees and then promise them jobs
in the United States. Some of them get here, of course, are put into
the pipeline, sometimes laid off immediately and end up in jobs that
have nothing to do with the kind of work they were supposed to be here,
that their visa had cleared them for. There are many articles about
that, people coming into the United States to be computer technicians,
ending up, of course, as menial laborers in many cases. But many, many
thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands of other cases of people
coming into the United States under H-1B and taking jobs that Americans
had, because they will work for less. There is massive, incredible
fraud in this entire program.
The fraud in this program, as I say, is rampant. It is widely
understood within that community, within the H-1B community, even
within the INS itself, that once you get here by an H-1B visa, you will
never have to leave. It is sort of the colloquialism in the immigrant
community deal with this whole issue of just getting here under H-1B,
that you never have to leave. Even if you get laid off, even if you are
not working in the kind of job you were originally assigned to, that
does not matter, no one is coming after you. Again, it is because the
American Immigration Lawyers Association has aided and abetted in this
Mr. Speaker, we have now accumulated literally millions of people
here in the United States who should not be here because they have
overstayed their visa or in some other way caused an infraction of the
visa. They are not working in the field.
Mr. Speaker, another part of this, of course, is people who come here
under an education visa and are supposedly attending school here. I
think we have heard about one or more of these particular kinds of
individuals came here to learn how to fly. Some of them attended
classes; some did not. When we look into that whole arrangement between
the schools that were providing this kind of experience and education
and the whole issue of visa fraud, I think we are going to be very
But the fact is that there are 30 million visas that are allotted
annually, 30 million people every year are told they can come into the
United States for a certain period of time. These primarily are tourist
visas. But then a huge number are in the categories I talked about,
work-related or education-related visas.
It is my understanding, and once again I am going to state it as a
question. Could this be true? A question posed to me by the individual
I talked to last night on the phone, who is actually part of the
immigration judicial process, if such a thing actually exists? He told
me, and could this be true, Mr. Speaker? He told me that of the 30
million visas awarded annually, about 40 percent are violated annually;
12 million people violate their visa status every year, according to
I pose this as a question. I do not have information in front of me
to substantiate it. But I will tell you once again that the individual
that talked to me was an individual who should and in fact I believe
with all my heart does know. It was not someone at the lower level of
the immigration service or judicial process.
Millions of people are here, I think, who have overstayed their
visas. I just talked, remember, about the quarter of a million that
have already been adjudicated; the 225,000, actually, not quite a
quarter million, but that was 1997, so I am sure it is up to a quarter
million now, people who have actually gone through the process, been
found guilty and not sent back. I am not talking about the millions who
are probably here who have never been brought to any sort of court,
never found themselves in front of a judge because they overstayed
their visa. They just simply stay, and they take jobs.
My friends, especially my friends on the other side of the aisle,
talk about the need to do something for the unemployed in the United
States. Well, I can tell you what to do, Mr. Speaker. You can cut off
illegal immigration. You can eliminate or reduce dramatically H-1B and
all of the other visa types that come in here. You can put troops on
the border and make sure that people do not come across this border
illegally. You can overfly the border. You can use sensors and
detectors to protect this Nation, not just from those people who are
coming without malicious intent, who are coming simply to improve their
lives, of which there are millions, and I certainly understand and
empathize, but protect yourself also against the people who come here
with evil, malicious, or malicious intent. And there are,
unfortunately, far too many of them.
Today in this body, Mr. Speaker, many Members are still reluctant to
deal with the issue of immigration reform. Many Members have told me
personally that they agree entirely with everything that I say about
this issue, but, after all, dealing with it is another thing entirely.
It is not politically correct, and it may be politically volatile.
Well, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that although there are people in
this body who do not get it, who do not understand the nature of this
problem or the depth of it, who think they can get by; that we can all
get by with ignoring this massive fraud that is perpetrated on this
Nation; ignore the incredible problems that come as a result of massive
immigration, both legal and illegal; ignore the fact that the crimes
that were perpetrated on the 11th were perpetrated by people who came
here on visas, who were not American citizens, some of whom, as far as
we know right now, were not living up to their visa application
guidelines, some, as I understand, who may have overstayed. Who cares?
Overstayed your visa? Who cares?
The fact is that all of these people, and the Members of this body,
many of them feel that it is too controversial and we cannot deal with
it. But let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the American public knows
the truth of this issue. At least they know the problem with illegal
Some of what I have said tonight, certainly I was not aware of it
even until just recently, from discussions as I say I have had with
people who called or other Members of the House. I had no idea how
deeply rooted the corruption in the process, in the whole INS structure
and immigration system, really is.
But most people know there is something wrong. Although my colleagues
in this body may not feel the heat right now, I guarantee you that they
will. And they should, because that is the only way change will occur.
In a recent Zogby poll, actually September 27, Zogby International
poll, it is a survey of likely voters that shows virtually all segments
of American society overwhelmingly feel the country is not doing
enough. By wide margins, it says, the public also feels that this lack
of control in immigration makes it easier for terrorists to enter the
country. And, of course, they are absolutely right.
Moreover, Americans think that a dramatic increase in border control
and greater efforts to enforce immigration laws would help reduce the
chance of future attacks. They are absolutely right. It would not
necessarily guarantee it, it is true. It does not guarantee the fact.
If we were able to seal the border tomorrow, it would not guarantee the
fact that we would not be subject to another attack, but it would
lessen the chance.
To suggest that people can get in even if we try to enforce our
immigration laws and therefore we should not enforce immigration laws
is like saying, you know, I know there are laws on the books against
robbing banks, but people do it, so why do we bother putting the money
in the vault? Why not put it on the counter? After all, they are going
to rob us anyway. That is about as ludicrous as to suggest we should
not try to deal with our borders
and close the sieve, because right now people get through.
When asked whether the government was doing enough to control the
boarders and screen those allowed into the country, 76 percent said the
country was not doing enough, and only 19 percent said the government
was doing enough. Those 19 percent were probably people who are here
illegally and just told the person calling them up on the phone that
they were going to be voting.
While identified conservatives were the most likely to think that not
enough was being done, by 83 percent, get this, Mr. Speaker, 74 percent
of the liberals and 75 percent of the moderates indicated that
enforcement was insufficient. In addition, by a margin of more than two
to one, blacks and whites and Hispanics all thought government efforts
at border control and the vetting of immigrants were inadequate.
So although this body may not think there is a problem or that
dealing with it is politically volatile, Americans do not think there
is a problem with dealing with it. They think there is a problem with
not dealing with it. They believe and they know, and they are right,
Mr. Speaker, that there is a huge problem that we confront as a Nation
because of our unwillingness to deal with this concept of immigration
Again I stress the fact that it goes across political philosophies.
It goes across racial lines. It does not matter if you are black,
Hispanic, or Asian or white. They feel the same way about this issue,
because they are Americans, just like anybody else; and they are
worried, just like anybody else, about their own safety.
And is that not our responsibility, Mr. Speaker? Are we not the ones
charged with the responsibility in this body to develop, among other
things, plans and proposals and programs to ensure domestic tranquility
and provide for the common defense? Is that not our job? And are we not
uniquely charged with the responsibility of determining immigration
No State can do it, Mr. Speaker. No matter how inundated that State
may be, no matter how difficult it may be for them to deal with it,
they cannot establish immigration policy. Only this Federal Government
can; and, after it is once established, only the Federal Government can
I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if we ignore this any longer and another
event, God forbid, another event of a similar nature as those on
September 11 occurs, and occurs as a result of our inability or
unwillingness to protect ourselves from people who come here to do us
evil, then we are culpable in that event.
I, for one, Mr. Speaker, choose to do everything I can and speak as
often as I can and as loudly as I can about the need to control our own
We talk about the defense of the Nation, the defense of the homeland.
An agency has been created for that purpose. I suggest, Mr. Speaker,
that the defense of the Nation begins with the defense of our borders.
I reiterate and repeat, the defense of this Nation begins with the
defense of our borders. It is not illogical, it is not immoral, it is
not even politically unpopular, as many of my colleagues would think.
It is the right thing to do. Americans know it.
What is it going to take, Mr. Speaker, I wonder, for the rest of my
colleagues to come to this conclusion?
We have written a bill to deal with terrorism. It got marked up today
in the Committee on the Judiciary. As I understand it, although I have
not seen the specifics, I am told that every provision we had about
immigration control got watered down.
That all attempts on our part to deal with the possibility of
terrorism, terrorists coming into the Nation, identifying them,
detaining them, deporting them, all of those proposals by the
administration got watered down so that we could have a nonpartisan or
a bipartisan bill come to the floor. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that I
will not be allowed to offer an amendment to that bill. I believe that
it will come to this floor with a rule that will prevent me or anyone
else from offering some of the amendments to tighten up the borders. I
am sickened by this possibility, but I think that that is where we are
headed, because no one wants to rock these boats.
Mr. Speaker, I am willing to do so because I cannot imagine doing
anything else. It is my job, it is my responsibility to bring to the
attention of my colleagues and the American people, to the extent that
I am humanly capable of doing so, the dangerous situation we face as a
result of our unwillingness to deal with the concept of immigration
control. Tell me how we will face our children. Tell me how we will
face the future, Mr. Speaker, if another event occurs as a result of
our unwillingness to address the issue of immigration control because
we fear the political ramifications thereof.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that the only way we will ever change our
policies is if the American people rise up in one accord and confront
their elected representatives with this issue. Do not be placated by
platitudes and do not be assuaged by those people who tell us that we
are doing something because we may allow for 7 days of detention of
potential terrorists, and that is the whole immigration reform package.
Do not listen to it, I say to my colleagues. Demand more.
What are the possibilities? I do not want to think of the
possibilities of not acting. Think of the seriousness of our
deliberations and of the potential consequences of inaction on this
issue. They are more than I wish to deal with. I cannot imagine that we
will shrink from this responsibility, but that is what appears to be in
the wind, Mr. Speaker. All I can do is come here and beg Members to
listen to these arguments and to act on behalf of the people of this
country who look to us to keep them secure, to ensure domestic
tranquility, and to provide for the common defense.
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