[Congressional Record: November 7, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION REFORM
The SPEAKER pro tempore. 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, I have on many occasions risen on this
floor to address the body with regard to the issue of immigration and
immigration reform, and tonight is no exception to that rule. I do this
often because I believe it is a significant problem, perhaps the most
significant problem we face in this country from a domestic policy
We argue on the floor of the House day in and day out and night in
and night out about a variety of issues. All of them, of course, have
We have spent a long time debating the issue of airline security, for
instance. It was mentioned again just in the course of the previous
speaker's comments. It is undeniably an extremely important issue, the
issue of airline security. It is for those of us, especially, who fly
as often as those of us in the House do.
I, for one, am on an airplane twice a week, and my family are off and
on airplanes. I assure the Members that I have just as much concern
about airline security as the next person, and perhaps more so, from a
very personal standpoint. Therefore, the decisions we make in this
House with regard to the particular kind of security that is put in
place are certainly important. I do not mean for a moment to suggest
that they are not relevant to our debates here.
But I do mean to suggest that they are not as important, Mr. Speaker,
as one other issue. That issue is the defense of our borders.
As I have said on more than one occasion, the defense of this Nation
begins with the defense of our borders. The extent to which we devote
time and energy and resources protecting the flying public, to the
extent to which we do that, of course, it is commendable and it is
important; and it is absolutely the right thing to do.
But it is amazing to me how much time and energy we spend in that. We
passed something called a stimulus package. It is really a security
package. It is designed to make sure that the American economy remains
strong and that people remain employed, and we do this as we watch an
economy that is deteriorating. We all know that.
We are taking the right steps, I believe, in the measures that have
been passed by this House to address this economic downturn. But they
will, of course, take time.
All of these issues deal with, in a way, some directly, some
indirectly, national security. But in every single instance, we also
have the issue of immigration and immigration reform working its way
into those discussions. I will try to deal with both of them tonight.
The issue of airline security. Let me talk about that on a broader
scale. It is, of course, important to make sure that we are safe when
we get on an airplane. Is it not also important, is it not even of
paramount importance, to try and do something about the millions of
people who come across our borders, either by land or by air or by sea,
every single year? And they, for the most part, come here not to
necessarily do us harm, but for their own purposes, almost always
economic in nature.
It is understandable. No one is suggesting that it is not the desire
of every human being on the planet to better themselves and to provide
more for themselves and for their families.
But they do come across our borders, Mr. Speaker; and they do so
sometimes, some of these people come across our borders with evil
intent, as we learned all too savagely on September 11.
Now, there is an undeniable problem. It is one of those huge
problems; and in a way it is like the typical story of the 500-pound
gorilla in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge, but everybody
knows it is there. In this case, ``it'' is a completely broken,
completely incompetent INS, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
I want to focus the first part of my remarks this evening, Mr.
Speaker, on this incompetence and on the desperate need we have for
national security purposes to not only make sure that the flying public
is safe, but to make sure that we are safe every day on the streets of
the United States from people who come across our border, from illegal
aliens or from immigrants who are here even legally, but have the
desire to do us ill.
We have a responsibility to point this out, and I try my best to do
so. I have, every single time I come to this floor, people who write
us, who call us, who take advantage of e-mail, which is right now
probably the best way to contact us.
I have people who do that by the thousands, contact our office to
of stories that I have put in the category of almost too incredible to
be true, but they are true. Many, many of them are documented.
Many, many of the stories come from people who work for the INS,
people who are trying their best to do a good job in light of a
bureaucracy that has absolutely no interest in having them do a good
job, especially if that job is in internal security within the
boundaries of this United States.
I am going to start this evening's discussion with a story about a
gentleman by the name of Walter Cadman. Mr. Cadman is an employee of
the INS, a very high-ranking employee. I will tell the Members what
that specific position is in just a moment. But let me give a little
bit of background, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cadman's climb through the bureaucracy of the INS began when he
joined the service in 1976; and after working as an investigator and a
regional director, he took over a job in Florida, the Florida
operations, in 1992.
Three years later, a seven-member congressional fact-finding team
visited Krome, and that is a facility, a detention facility for
detainees, alien detainees. They visited the Miami International
Mr. Cadman was among several high-ranking INS officials who attempted
to deceive these Members of Congress into believing that Miami
immigration operations were well managed. Mr. Cadman and others
abruptly released 58 inmates from the critically overcrowded Krome
detention center 2 days before the task force's visit, according to an
exhaustive Federal investigation.
All of this, by the way, everything I am telling with regard to this
case is documentable. Again, if anybody wants more details, this is the
way, Mr. Speaker, that one would obtain those, by contacting our
Let me go on. More than 100 other aliens were hidden in the facility
to dupe the House delegation, Members from the House of
Representatives, to give the illusion that the inspection process at
the Miami airport was well managed.
Staff was bulked up and noncriminal detainees were allowed to wait in
an unsecured lobby rather than in a less hospitable holding cell.
Inspectors were also ordered to remove their gun holsters and handcuffs
to portray a much kinder, gentler INS that focused on customer service.
This phrase, ``customer service,'' I heard many times from many INS
officials and many people who have come to our office as whistleblowers
to talk to us about the incredible pressure under which they have been
placed by INS management. They are told the same thing, that they are
to treat anyone coming, trying to get into this country, and even those
who have come here illegally, as customers; and the customer is always
right. In this case, the customer chose evidently not to stay in the
After more than 45 employees, many of them union members, blew the
whistle on their bosses, Kromegate broke. The office of the Inspector
General for the Justice Department investigated the matter and in June
1996 released its 197-page report. In this report, Inspector General
Michael Bromwich not only detailed the conspiracy behind the INS sham
but also explained how Mr. Cadman and other officials tried to cover up
Initially, by the way, Mr. Speaker, the Inspector General told a
member of the delegation, the gentleman from California (Mr. Gallegly),
who was at the time I believe even the chairman of the Subcommittee on
Immigration, told him that it would be done, that this report would be
done within a few months, that the facts were clear, and if they could
get simply the response that they required from the INS in terms of
access to documents, the report would be done in just a few months. It
actually took over a year because, of course, to no one's real
surprise, the INS was not forthcoming with the documents that were
required to conduct the investigation.
Mr. Bromwich wrote in the report: ``Moreover and perhaps more
troubling, Mr. Cadman was a willing participant in efforts to mislead
INS headquarters and then to mislead and delay the investigation of
this matter.'' That is a very damning statement. We have heard
statements to that effect in other cases, people trying to mislead
investigators, people trying to delay the investigation. We remember
that all too clearly, I think, from past administrations.
Anyway, Justice officials found that Cadman had presided over
meetings in which the conspiracy was planned. On the day of the visit,
Mr. Cadman, reportedly red-faced with anger, threatened to arrest two
INS inspectors who tried to alert representatives about the whitewash.
Mr. Cadman even called airport police.
Again, this story gets better when I tell my colleagues where this
gentleman now resides within the INS. So just hang with me here a
minute. Again, put it in the category, unbelievable but true, and of
course, with regard to the INS, the folder gets bigger and bigger and
bigger every day.
Mr. Cadman's cover-up efforts began after the Office of the Inspector
General started its investigation. Mr. Cadman, ``did not deny that
large numbers of aliens had been transferred and released from Krome,''
Mr. Bromwich wrote in his report. ``However, Mr. Cadman essentially
represented that all alien movements were normal in light of the
overcrowded condition there.''
That explanation, investigators determined, was not true. Rather than
cooperate with investigators, Mr. Cadman forced the Justice Department
to obtain subpoenas to access his computer files. As I say, the
Inspector General expected that there would be some degree of
cooperation. I do not know why they thought so, but they did. It was
not forthcoming, however.
When the Office of the Inspector General finally gained access to Mr.
Cadman's computer, all his e-mails relating to the delegation's visit
had been deleted. According to the report, ``In his interview, Mr.
Cadman stated that as matter of consistent practice, he
contemporaneously deleted his electronic mail messages shortly after
responding to them. In searching his e-mail, however, we,'' the OIG,
``did find some of Mr. Cadman's messages from June 1995 which was
inconsistent with Cadman's representation to us.''
In an extensive and time-consuming process, investigators were
eventually able to locate 61 messages that had been sent or received by
Mr. Cadman regarding the congressional visit, many of which helped OIG,
Office of Inspector General, prove that the officials had purposely
deceived the Congress of the United States.
``On the basis of the evidence gathered in this investigation, we
believe the appropriate punishment for Miami District Director Walter
Cadman falls within a range from a 30-day suspension to termination of
employment.'' This was the OIG's, the Office of Inspector General's,
They went on to say that, ``Should he not be terminated, we urge his
reassignment to a position where he would not have significant
managerial responsibilities.'' I want my colleagues to listen to that
carefully, Mr. Speaker. The OIG said should this man not get fired,
which is as we all know almost impossible in the Federal bureaucracy,
contrary to the protestations of those who want to federalize the
airline security service, but it says, ``Should he not be terminated,
we urge his reassignment to a position where he would not have
significant managerial responsibilities.''
After Mr. Cadman's removal from Miami, he virtually disappeared in
the INS bureaucracy. Then, on March 4, 1997, the gentleman from
Kentucky (Mr. Rogers) held hearings on Kromegate, trying to find out
how Cadman and his cohorts were punished.
The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers) asked then-Attorney General
Janet Reno the following question:
The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers): I need to know what
happened to the people. Let us get to the bottom line here. What
happened to the people that misled the Congress? Name the names. Where
are they now?
Janet Reno's response: Dan Cadman elected a voluntary demotion to a
By the way, a GS-15, that is, if not the highest, it is close to the
highest category of GS, of government service, that one can get. It is
at least $100,000 a year.
He elected to take this demotion to GS-15, criminal investigator in
headquarters operations. Okay. That was the demotion.
Congressman Rogers: Well, where is he now?
Attorney General Reno: I cannot tell you precisely.
Congressman Rogers: Is he still working?
Attorney General Reno: He accepted a voluntary demotion, sir, so I
would assume he is still working.
Congressman Rogers: He is a Justice Department official; correct?
Janet Reno: So far as I know, sir.
Rogers: He misled the Congress and he still works for the Justice
Now here is the punch line, Mr. Speaker, and listen carefully to
this. Roughly a year later in 1998 the INS promoted Mr. Cadman to head
the newly formed National Security Unit.
The gentleman from California (Mr. Gallegly) represents this whole
thing as a case where truth is stranger than fiction.
Five years after Mr. Cadman left south Florida in disgrace, only to
take a job as a very high-paid INS administrator and as a, quote,
``demotion,'' he was appointed, if we can believe it, to head up the
newly formed National Security Unit. Chalk that up, Mr. Speaker, to
another incredible but true series of events of which we have become
aware in the last several months as we discuss the issue of immigration
reform in this country.
We wonder then how is it that so many breaches of security could have
happened over the years? And more recently, how is it that even Mohamed
Atta, a name all too familiar to every one of us now since September
11, how is it that Mr. Atta could have been readmitted to the country
in January even though he had left the country? He was here on a
particular kind of visa. He left and he was supposed to apply for what
is called an I-512 form, or authorization to leave the country and
return. By law he was supposed to put that in writing, the reason he
was leaving and for how long and how long he would be gone. Now, he
never did that.
So, therefore, of course, after he left to go to Spain, which he did
in January and then returned to the United States coming through Miami,
should never been allowed to reenter the country. But, of course, the
INS did not catch it and essentially did not care. That is the truth of
the matter. They do not care.
There is a lot more attention being paid to it now, that is true,
since September 11. But prior to that time, let me just give some
examples once again of the unbelievable but true incidents or
situations that we have become aware of while we have been doing this
analysis of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the United
Approximately 35 million people come into the United States every
year on visas. Now, Mr. Speaker, not everyone visiting the United
States needs a visa. People come from certain countries where we have
agreements where visas are not necessary. So we have far more people
coming to the United States each year. In fact, we have about 500
million visitors a year. But about 35 to 40 million come as a result of
the visa process.
Now, that process is one where people go to the consulate in their
home country. They fill out some forms; and it is the responsibility of
that consulate official to determine whether the person making the
application is indeed who they say they are, number one, and, number
two, whether or not they have any sort of background that would prevent
them from being able to come into the United States. So about 40
Very little attention is paid, and was up until September 11, very
little attention is paid to anybody's background. They could not care
less, frankly. Again, they have been told that all of these people must
be treated as customers. Again, if a customer wants to come to the
United States, the customer is always right. So a visa is almost
Once they get here, there are certain conditions that they must
follow. If they are here on a student visa, they are supposed to be
students. If they are here on a work visa, they are supposed to work.
There is an H1B. This is a category of visa of a person, usually a
white collar worker, usually in very high-tech industries, computer
programmers. That is what they are supposed to do while they are here.
It is estimated somewhere near 40 percent of all visas are violated
every year, 12 million, in other words. Twelve million people either
stay here even after their visa says they should go home or in some
other way violate the visa, as many of the 19 hijackers of September 11
The process is one where if someone violates their visa or if someone
commits a crime while they are in the United States as a visa holder,
they are taken to court. But they are not taken, Mr. Speaker, to a
regular court, the kind of court that we would be taken to if we
violate the law. Not a district court, not a county court. They are
taken to an immigration court. And believe me, there is a significant
What happens at that point in time is fascinating. And I will tell
another anecdote, another story in a moment, another incredible but
They can go to the immigration court, charged with a crime. It could
be as insignificant as overstaying a visa. It could be as significant
as murder. Crime brings them there. They get arrested and end up in
front of a judge, and the judge listens to the case, and he either
gives bail or he throws the case out of court or he orders the person
deported. Then they are essentially turned over to the INS; and that is
where the problem begins, as we can imagine, turned over to the INS for
their handling of the case, for their enforcement essentially.
Now, would you believe, Mr. Speaker, that there are, as we sit here
tonight, at least 300,000 people wandering around in the United States
of America completely free to do whatever they are doing and want to
do, 300,000 people who have, in fact, been ordered deported, but the
INS has not taken charge of it? They have simply let them walk. And
they have done so because, I contend, Mr. Speaker, the INS does not
We have documentation; and I will read from a letter I received, an
e-mail message we got not too long ago, like we get so many times, as I
say, hundreds sometimes in a day, and it has now accumulated into the
thousands of letters about this issue, and e-mails about this issue,
and one of them came from an INS agent. Again, I will read part of it
later, but he essentially expresses the opinion that the INS does not
care, does not want there to be any close scrutiny of these people. The
whole idea of internal investigations, internal security and what
happens when people come across the border illegally, or what happens
if they overstay, do they go after them? The answer is absolutely not.
There are literally millions of people here. I am using the figure of
300,000, which I gave earlier, Mr. Speaker, which only refers to people
who have actually been to a court and then ordered deported but have
not gone anywhere. When we talk to the INS, they say I do not know
where they are; I have not the slightest idea. This is a favorite
response of the INS to almost every question; it is a shrug of the
shoulders. I do not know. I do not know where they are, have not the
slightest idea. After all, we can only look at so many people. How can
we follow all these people? They give you a million excuses. But, of
course, that is their job. Theirs to have internal security, but nobody
cares much about it. So 300,000 people that have been ordered to be
deported that the INS have done nothing about, did not take them to the
border and deport them.
One anecdote here to add to this list of incredible but true,
unbelievable but true, however you want to put it. I will give an
example of something that happened. Again, every day I am telling
somebody about this and they will come to me and say, ah, that is
nothing, listen to this. It is astounding now. Our files, if we stacked
them up here, they would reach higher than the sign here.
A magistrate, an INS magistrate told the story to a Member of
Congress about a person that came before him as a criminal. He had been
arrested. He was about, I think, 18 or 19 years old, if I remember
correctly, but he had no identification on him. He had mugged
an old lady, I think broken her arm or leg and had stolen her purse.
Anyway, he had been arrested and taken to immigration court. The judge
listens to the case and orders him deported. Actually gives him a
choice: Do you want to go to jail, or do you want to get deported?
Well, the kid I think probably made the right choice under that
circumstance and said I would just as soon go back to Mexico, which is
where he had come from.
He told the judge and the arresting officers that he was an illegal
alien; that he was here without permission. And he had no
identification. He gave his name, or he gave a name to the police and
to the judge. They actually, in this case, did take this particular
person then, put him on a bus, and sent him to Mexico through San
Diego, I believe. Shortly after this gentleman got into Mexico, he
called his mother and said, okay, will you bring down my ID now.
Because, of course, this gentleman was not an illegal alien. He was
born in the United States, his parents were born in the United States,
his grandparents were born in the United States. He was not here
But he had learned, Mr. Speaker, he had learned that if you say you
are an illegal alien, you will be taken to immigration court and you
will not find yourself in a prison, or even in a jail waiting to go to
prison. You will be sent on a trip, in this case down to Mexico. So he
called his mom and said, would you bring down the ID; and his mom
dutifully got in the car, drove down to Mexico, drove across the
border, I guess it was 100-some miles from their home, handed him his
ID and he then, of course, came right back across the border with her,
showing his ID to the INS agent, the border guard, as if anybody paid
attention even there, but showed his true ID and came into this country
as a citizen.
All records of the original offense, of course, were attached to that
person that was deported to Mexico, not to the person that was coming
back in. Two different people. This guy was an American citizen. But he
knew how corrupt, how messed up the system is. He knew that it was
better for him to pretend to be an illegal alien and take advantage of
the laxity, the incompetence, whatever you want to call it, of the INS
to get away with his crime. Amazing, but true.
Here is another one. Would you not think, Mr. Speaker, that it would
be only appropriate, certainly expected that a high-ranking official of
the INS would understand the words ``legal'' and ``illegal'' and the
definition of the word ``crime"? Would that be asking too much? Perhaps
we need to give a test to every potential administrator at INS so they
could actually define these words; because evidently, Mr. Speaker, some
of them are having a very difficult time with the English language and
with understanding the English language.
Here is what I mean. Mr. Fred Alexander, the deputy district director
for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Fairly high-ranking
position, would you not say? A position where you would expect someone
to be able to understand the English language? Well, I am now going to
attribute what he is quoted as saying to language problems. I am not
going to suggest that he is actually abetting criminal behavior, aiding
and abetting or encouraging criminal behavior. That is too much to
suggest. Because if you actually ended up maybe prosecuting this
gentleman for aiding and abetting criminal behavior, he would be moved
up to an even higher position within the INS, following INS protocol.
Here is the comment by Mr. Fred Alexander: ``It is not a crime to be
in the United States illegally.'' It is not a crime to be in the United
States illegally. Is there something wrong here? Maybe it is just that
he does not understand the English language; does not know what a crime
is; does not know what the words illegal and legal mean, the difference
between those two.
He went on to say: ``It is only a violation of our civil law.'' Now,
evidently a violation of a civil law is not a crime. If you are here
illegally, it is not a crime. What kind of a statement is this? It is a
reflection of what the INS thinks their job is. They believe themselves
to be social workers. They believe that they were put here to encourage
immigration into the United States, and it does not matter how anybody
The INS, for the most part, I will contend, Mr. Speaker, would just
as soon there be no borders whatsoever. The INS would then find
themselves in a position of sending out agents to countries all over
the world to explain why they should come to the United States, and
that the fact is there would be no restrictions against them doing so
and everything will be better off as a result of hundreds of millions
of people crossing our borders.
I believe that that is the motivating factor and the real basis, the
ethos, of the INS, I do believe, after all the things we have come
across here, after all the things that have been e-mailed or faxed to
our office by thousands of people, some of them wanting to know what
they could do about this horrendous problem; but many others are like
the gentleman I am going to read or address here in a moment.
We got this in our fax just a short time ago. I cannot reveal his
name right now, except to say that he, according to his letter, works
for the INS. And I will just read excerpts from his letter so as to
avoid any indication of who he is for fear of whatever retribution
might be in store for him.
``I wanted to write you and let you know that I, as well as my entire
extended family and all my close coworkers and friends, appreciate your
efforts to reform our immigration policies.'' That is the kind of thing
they usually start out with. They are not alone, and believe me, I know
it. We are inundated with not just faxes and e-mails but people coming
to the office, INS agents, present and past INS agents, telling me
essentially the same thing; thanking us for doing what we are doing
here, trying to reform that system.
I think my colleagues could understand those kinds of things
happening, Mr. Speaker. We have all been confronted by a Federal
employee in this agency or that who is disgruntled and wants to come
and tell his or her story. We have to oftentimes look at it in light of
what the circumstances are: Have they actually gotten into some sort of
trouble, are they being fired or something other? But never, ever have
I had so many people from the same agency coming to tell me of the
problems that they face there.
He says, ``I currently work for the Immigration and Naturalization
Service and have for'' blank years. I am not going to say. He goes on
to explain what his background has been. He served in a variety of
different capacities in the INS and he was recently transferred. He
said, ``Every honest border patrol agent will tell you that every
illegal alien makes it through the border, it just takes some longer
and more attempts than others to get across. In any event, make no
mistake about it, every determined illegal alien, from the youngest of
the young to the oldest of the old, and even disabled aliens can find a
wheelchair, and make it to the interior of our cities. Once they are
there, they live amongst us with very little fear of discovery and
An absolutely true statement. And even those outside INS know this is
true. There is not a Member on this floor, and certainly probably most
of the population of the country recognizes that once an illegal alien
is here, the chances of their ever being returned to their country of
origin are slim to none. It is because the ethos inside that Department
says, come on, come on over.
He goes on to quote something, this gentleman who wrote me, goes on
to quote something that his employer, one of his supervisors told him
that puts in a nutshell everything I have said about the INS and the
ethos there, the thinking. He said, ``I would also like to point out
that probably close to half the illegal aliens in our country first
entered under some sort of legal method and subsequently violated or
overstayed their original status.''
This is what I mentioned earlier: came here through a legal process,
under a visa perhaps or some other process, but then just simply
stayed. And there are literally millions. We are not sure how many.
Figures range from 7 to 15 million. No one really knows, but we know it
is in the millions, and I certainly believe it is in the double digits.
``Here in the interior,'' he said, ``there is almost zero enforcement
operations which target these violators.'' Absolutely true. Documented
time again. ``Finally,'' he said, ``I would like to make you aware that
I believe the INS is totally mismanaged.'' Again, a common theme.
``After writing that, I feel it is a complete understatement,'' he
said, ``but the English language probably doesn't have a word which
would convey my sentiments without being vulgar.''
When he was transferred to this particular district office, he said
that his new supervisor said to him, and we have heard this phrase over
and over again, Mr. Speaker, ``Now, listen, big cases, big headaches;
little cases, little headaches; and no cases, no headaches.'' ``That in
a nutshell,'' this individual writing me goes on to say, ``seems to be
the INS management philosophy.''
``That same supervisor told me not to be too gung ho about doing my
job because the United States is not ready for an efficient immigration
service.'' The letter concludes that he would be happy to discuss this
later with me, and that sort of thing.
Mr. Speaker, I think that in a way sums up the attitude of the INS
with regard to what their job really is. Big cases, big headaches.
Little cases, little headaches. No cases, no headaches. And do not be
too gung ho about doing your job because the United States is not ready
for an efficient immigration service. Maybe this supervisor is right,
and we are not ready for an efficient immigration service. I disagree.
There was a time when I would stand on the floor of the House, as I
do tonight, and ask my colleagues to join me in an effort to reform the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, and there would be relatively
little comment except from the general public. I would hear from folks
all over America. When I get their e-mail address or any other way to
contact them, we try to respond, and we have thousands and thousands
who have contacted us in that way.
I would be asking my colleagues time and time again for their help on
this issue, and this gentleman's observations were accurate. Nobody
really cared that we did not have an efficient immigration service.
There were political problems with trying to make it efficient.
One party, the Democratic Party, recognizes that there is a great
deal of political support that they get from the immigrant communities;
they want to encourage massive immigration for that purpose. The other
party sees that there are both business interests and political
problems that develop as a result of actually trying to do something
about immigration reform.
Many businesses are not happy about what I talk about here on the
floor and, believe me, I hear from them. They suggest that it is my
responsibility to make sure that they have a cheap work force. That is
really what it boils down to.
They seldom say it in just those terms. It starts out ``Mr.
Congressman, I have to hire them to do the job.'' We explain that we
would be willing to look at some sort of guest worker program, but
people should come to the United States legally. I try to encourage
them to think about that as the right way to do it. Maybe, yes, they
will have to pay more money for the service. Employers do not like to
hear that. I was an employer, and I recognize that an employer is
always looking for the best help at the lowest wage.
But the reality is that there are tremendous problems as a result of
massive immigration to the United States, and especially massive
illegal immigration to the United States. Because of the problems that
I have identified with both political parties, for the longest time, we
could not get anyone to pay attention. I would come to the floor and
say, there are problems with standard quality-of-life issues with
massive immigration, with the balkanization of the American culture and
society; and there are national security problems with not being able
to control our own border and not knowing who is coming across at any
given time, not knowing what they are doing here, or if they have gone
home when they are supposed to go home.
I recognize that there are massive problems with actually trying to
secure our borders. Let me suggest, although I certainly hope that we
will use the military, either the Active Duty military or the National
Guard, to secure our borders, along with using all kinds of technology
that is available. We are not talking about having guards standing
shoulder to shoulder across thousands of miles between Canada and the
United States and Mexico and the United States, I am talking about
patrolling, use of sensors and overflights, and there are a variety of
I am also talking about deploying massive numbers of people for
internal security purposes. We started talking tonight about security
issues. How much more relevant are the discussions with regard to the
internal security of the United States than just the person who looks
through that little machine and screens our bags? I want good ones, but
I am trying to keep the bad guys from coming here in the first place.
We cannot just stand at the border and say, you look like someone who
wants a job; even though you are illegal, there is probably an eager
employer willing to hire you and oftentimes, unfortunately, exploit
you. We could do that and try our best to figure out which ones we want
to let in illegally.
The INS would be all for that, by the way. They would say, let us
look for certain characteristics. Are they Arabs, let us keep them out.
Even those, we have to be more specific. The reality is we cannot do
that. If we are going to have secure borders, that means that we are
going to stop all people from coming across the borders illegally.
We have to stop it, Mr. Speaker. We have no alternative but to try
and control our borders. It is a very difficult task. Everybody
recognizes that. But I suggest that we have to rise to the occasion.
There is hopefully legislation that will be making its way through
the Congress. I understand that there will be some legislation coming
up soon that will actually do something about the INS structure. I am
not sure what it is right now. I think that the chairman of the
Committee on the Judiciary is developing it. I hope that it is
comprehensive in nature. I hope that it actually abolishes the INS, or
the part of the INS that is designed to deal with security and
enforcement. I hope that it abolishes that responsibility that we give
to Customs, to the Department of Agriculture, to the Coast Guard, and a
variety of other agencies that are cobbled together in order to try and
create some kind of border security.
Right now there are so many agencies with such conflicting
responsibilities and specific regulations as to what they can do, what
they can look at and what the other people cannot, people will wait on
the border to see which line is being monitored by which agencies.
Certain agencies can look in the trunk and certain ones cannot. So if
you are trying to smuggle drugs into the country, you will pick one
line. If you are trying to smuggle people in, you will pick another.
Put that in the category of idiotic but true.
I hope that we abolish all of those agencies or those parts of it
that are supposed to deal with border security, and I hope that we
create a brand-new agency. Let us call it the United States Border
Security Agency for our purposes together tonight, and all of their
functions are to secure our borders and root out those people who have
come here illegally and send them back. If they violated the law while
here, they serve time for it.
The reality is, the nature of this place and the business we do here
and the pressures that are applied by special interest groups,
especially by immigrant support groups, business interest groups and
others, we will start out perhaps with a very good thought in mind, and
by the time it works its way through the body, it will get diluted.
People in this business hope that everybody out there simply forgets
the connection between the terrorists and immigration and our lack of
enforcement. The hope is that people will simply forget about it and we
can get back to business as usual. Business as usual, meaning porous
borders, meaning unconcerned about who is coming across and why. There
are plenty of people who still want that. They desire that situation.
Again, the political motivations are strong.
I hope and I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I will never let this body
this, at least as long as I am here and I have breath. I will not let
Members forget that 19 people came into the United States on September
11, all of them immigrants, all of them here on some status, some of
them with legal documents, some of them who were here illegally because
they had overstayed; and some of them, six to be accurate, we do not
have the slightest idea what status they had when they came here. The
INS cannot tell us about six of the individuals, if they were here on
visas, here on green cards; they have no idea.
That tells us something, does it not, about exactly how those people
did get here. I think they probably waltzed across the border without
telling the INS and asking for a visa. I cannot even imagine such a
thing, but they did. That is why when we talk about tightening visa
requirements, I am all for it.
But let us assume that we get concerned about handing out visas like
candy, and we begin to apply more scrutiny and we actually have a law
if it is signed into law, the Antiterrorist Act, which has something
which we proposed, the Immigration Reform Caucus, which said that if
you are a member of a terrorist organization, you cannot come into the
United States. Put this into the unbelievable but true category, Mr.
Prior to the passage of that law, the antiterrorist law, a person
could be a member of al-Qaeda, the organization that is devoted to our
destruction, could be a member of that organization and that alone
would not have been enough, would not have been sufficient to deny this
person a visa.
There was a law on the book that said the INS cannot deny a person a
visa simply because they belong to a terrorist organization or an
organization that is devoted to destroying the United States of
America. We did repeal that. That is good.
Now, if we find out that they are a member of al-Qaeda or an outfit
that wants to destroy us, we can deny them a visa; and boy, do I feel
better about that. The terrorist with his or her bomb in the bag
waiting to come across, when they do not get the visa, do they go home
and say, sorry, Mr. bin Laden, I cannot get my visa. You will have to
get somebody else.
Does anybody believe that is what is going to happen? Does anybody
believe that they will not simply use the same path that everybody else
uses to come into the United States illegally, that is, the millions
and millions of people who cross our border illegally? No. They will
waltz across our southern border or northern border, or find a way to
fly in undetected because our borders are porous, and there is no real
defense mechanism, while we are wrangling over having these people who
look through the screening device, whether they should be paid by the
Federal Government or somebody else, as to whether that matters, as to
whether they are competent. Amazing.
But that is what we wrangle over. And we do that to our peril.
If we do not address this issue, Mr. Speaker, if we do not do
everything in our power to stop people from coming into the United
States illegally, to find those who are here illegally and deport them,
if we do not do everything in our power to accomplish that goal, then
if, God forbid, another event similar to the 11th were to occur and it
turns out that it was perpetrated by somebody who is here either on
falsified papers, snuck across the border, here even legally but
eventually became illegal because they violated their visa status, any
one of the wide variety of reasons that someone like that can get into
the United States today and stay here, if that happens, Mr. Speaker,
then we are not just being irresponsible in this body, we are actually
culpable, because we have the opportunity to try and stop it.
Can I guarantee that even if we implemented the most stringent border
controls that we would never have an incident again like September 11?
Of course not. Of course not. But I can tell you this, just because I
cannot guarantee that we will never have such an incident does not mean
that we should not do everything in our power to try to stop it.
We have a great window of opportunity, Mr. Speaker, in this body
because the American people are with us, those of us who want
immigration reform. I hear from you. I guarantee you. They want to
know, they write me, they call me, they e-mail me and say, what do I
do, what can I do to help? There are plenty of things that we can
suggest and we do. There are bills coming up that need to be passed.
There is action that needs to be taken. Suffice it to say, Mr. Speaker,
that this body needs to represent the common sense that is manifest
time and time again in the information I receive, from, quote, your
average Americans. God bless them for being there. God bless them for
being willing to come forward and tell their story, sometimes to their
own detriment, to the fear of losing their job.
My immigration reform caucus, Mr. Speaker, will be holding a hearing,
we believe next Thursday, at which we will have at least one individual
that we have been able to obtain or we are working to obtain
whistleblower status for if that is what is necessary to get him to be
able to speak to us. He is an INS agent. He has been an INS agent for
over 30 years. His stories about the troubled agency are again almost
unbelievable but true. I hope that he will not be treated unjustly by
being willing to come forward. I assure you that we will do everything
we can to protect him from any retribution that might attempt to be
wreaked upon him because of his willingness to come forward.
There are hundreds out there, Mr. Speaker, hundreds that are willing
to tell the story. They just need someone to hear it and then act upon
it. I ask this body to heed their message. They know the threat to
America. These are patriotic Americans who watched what happened on
September 11 and shed the tears, the same tears, the kind of tears that
you and I and everybody else shed. They work for the INS. They know the
problems. They know and some of them tell me in very specific terms
about what they believe happened and what they believe is wrong with
the agency they work for that helped cause the horrible events of
Please, Mr. Speaker, I urge you and everyone else, all my other
colleagues, to move expeditiously to reform immigration, to abolish the
INS, create a new, a better homeland defense organization, stop illegal
immigration at the border by every method we have at our disposal,
devote resources to identifying the people who are in the United States
illegally, and yes, deporting them.
Mr. Speaker, these may be harsh words; but these are harsh times in
which we live. Who could have thought that we would be here talking
about buildings collapsing as a result of terrorists turning planes
into bombs? The days to be shy about immigration reform are over with.
They were over with for me a long time ago. They should be over with
for all of us. I am encouraged by the response we get from average
Americans. Now all I need to get, Mr. Speaker, is the same response by
my colleagues here.
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