[Congressional Record: November 27, 2001 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Jeff Miller of Florida). 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, tonight I want to address several issues,
one dealing specifically with a lot of the discussion that has preceded
my remarks this evening. It is always interesting and elucidating to
listen to my colleagues discuss a variety of issues, in this case the
stimulus package and the difference between the Republican position and
the Democratic position in this House.
I think it is appropriate. I am very pleased to hear that kind of
discussion because it does help clarify to a large extent the issues
that separate the two parties and the two philosophies.
On the one hand, as Members have heard, the Democratic Party suggests
that a stimulus package, something to stimulate the economy, revolves
around extending unemployment benefits. On the other hand, the
Republican stimulus package with which they disagree revolves around
primarily giving tax breaks to the rich, specifically to large
One deals with organizations that actually create jobs in America and
create wealth; and the other deals with a social service plan, a
Now, I am not here and I do not intend to challenge the idea of
extending unemployment benefits. It may be a fine idea under certain
circumstances. I could certainly be inclined to vote for it. It has
nothing to do with an economic stimulus package. Giving people longer
unemployment benefits has nothing to do with creating jobs and changing
the direction of the economy and getting us out of the recession, I
believe. But it is nonetheless a legitimate point of view to be
discussed and debated in the House, both sides offering their
observations as to what might help the economy and what might help get
American workers back to work.
But I am intrigued by the fact, Mr. Speaker, in all of the
discussions and in all of the debates I have heard and in the
monologues that have been offered on the floor about an economic
stimulus package, not one word from either side has been mentioned
about what I consider to be a very significant and a very logical
approach to at least one part of the economic stimulus package. It
should be in there and it is not, and that to which I am referring, of
course, is the number of aliens in the country, people who are not
citizens of the United States who are taking jobs, who are here, some
of them who are here illegally in the workforce and others who are here
quite legally under H-1B visa status.
Let me concentrate on the latter for a moment and explain what we are
talking about with H-1B visa status. It is a special category of visa.
It is designed to bring people into the country
who have specific skills in more high-tech fields, white collar
workers, primarily in the high-tech area, the computer sciences,
computer programming and the like.
For a long time businesses came to this Congress and told us that
they did not have enough people in the United States with the kind of
background and the kind of skills necessary to fill the jobs they had
available for them. As a result, they asked us for a special visa
category, H-1B, which we have had for a long time. But they asked us to
increase the annual allotment of H-1B visas which this Congress
dutifully went along with, although not with my vote. I believed at
that time and I believe today it is a bogus argument. It is not based
upon our need for workers of a particular skill, but it was based on a
need for large businesses in the United States, certain corporations,
to employ people at lower rates. It is as simple as that.
Recognizing that they could import workers into the United States and
pay them less than an American worker would demand, these H-1B visa
recipients became in great demand. So we raised the level. We raised
the ceiling to 295,000 a year.
Now, there are approximately, we are not sure because the INS has
absolutely no idea, and I often refer to the logo for the INS and it is
this: A shrug of the shoulders. That should be their sign. INS is just
a person shrugging. Because almost without exception when you ask them
a question, when you ask them how many people are still here in the
United States having come in on H-1B visas over the years, have not
gone home, maybe they have lost their jobs, we do not know, they say we
do not know. Maybe around 500,000, 500,000 to a million. The INS does
not know for sure.
Now, let us settle on the 500,000 that are here. Remember, we are not
talking about all of the other immigrants that have come into the
country, all of the illegal immigrants that are in the country working,
working at jobs that again we always hear Americans will not take.
Well, is there anyone in this body, Mr. Speaker, that actually believes
that today in the United States there are not at least 500,000 people,
American citizens, who are looking for jobs specifically in that area?
We know that at least that many and more have been laid off from that
particular industry, the high-tech industry. It is horrendous, and
there are more layoffs to come. We will be hearing in the next few
weeks and months of more layoffs, especially in the high-tech area. Yet
we persist with allowing 500,000 H-1B recipients to take jobs in the
United States that could be provided for American citizens.
Why would that not be part of an economic stimulus package, I wonder.
Why would no one on either side of this aisle stand up and say that in
fact what we have to do is rescind H-1B status, we have to eliminate
that category altogether, and when someone is laid off, they actually
leave the country. Now, they are supposed to do that. It is true that
the law requires, the H-1B law says if you lose your job as an H-1B
recipient, you have to go home.
Mr. Speaker, not surprising, not long ago the INS told people here
under that category and who had been laid off to not really be too
concerned about it. They said we will get around to writing a
regulation about what you should do. But, for the time being, look for
another job. In other words, displace another American worker.
Now, I have said often on the floor of the House with regard to
immigration that I have no qualms about having a workable guest worker
program, something that allows people to come into the country,
something that protects their interest and rights so they are not
abused by workers here, that they are not ill-treated. But we do not
have that. What we have is massive illegal immigration to provide that
And it is absolutely true that the millions of people who are here
illegally do contribute to the economy I am sure in some measure. The
exact amount of that is up for debate. But it is also true that the
massive amount of illegal immigration into the country of low-skilled
people has a depressing effect on wage rates for low-paid jobs in this
country, for all people with few skills are working at low-end jobs.
Massive immigration has a depressing effect on the ability of these
folks here in the United States, be they recent legal immigrants or
long-time citizens of this country, natural-born citizens of the
country, massive immigration hurts those people. It hurts their ability
to get ahead.
It helps, of course, many employers, it is undeniably true, who want
to exploit these people, and many employers who have legitimate
concerns about being able to get employees they say they cannot get in
any other fashion.
Why is it we cannot construct a guest worker program that can serve
the needs of business and protect American workers? The reason is
because we have an organization called the INS that is charged with the
responsibility of trying to actually implement such programs, and what
we know today is that the INS simply does not care, does not care about
the issue of massive immigration. To them, most of their resources,
most of their efforts go into the social work side of INS.
This problem is not often addressed, but I think it should be. Again,
a half a million people in the United States today, holding H-1B visas,
some of them employed in the original job, some of them having long
since moved on to other jobs, supposedly they have to leave and go
home, as I say, by law, but of course, they do not do it and the INS
does not follow up. When we ask them where are all the people that have
lost their jobs and have not left the United States, they use their
logo: shrug their shoulders, I do not know.
When we ask them when we have the INS where are the 300,000 people
who have been ordered to be deported from the United States for
violating the laws of the United States, not just their visa status,
not just overstaying their visa, but robbery, rape, murder, they have
been arrested, and when they get arrested they find out, oh, by the
way, this guy is here illegally, his visa status is over or even if he
is here legally, he has violated a law, we are going to send him. So
they go to an immigration court, the judge listens to the information,
listens to the defense, which is not supposed to be the INS but
oftentimes ends up being the INS lawyer defending the immigrant
lawbreaker, and they do this, and the judge orders the person deported,
saying they have violated the law, they are someone we do not want in
this country and they are going to have to leave the country or go to
We actually order about 100,000, a little over 100,000 people a year,
we order 100,000 people a year to be deported for violating the law
here. There are at least, at least 300,000 of those folks, 300,000
people who have been ordered deported from the United States for
violating our law but are simply gone, vanished into society. They have
not departed the country. They are here somewhere. When we ask INS
where are these people, they give us their logo: shrug their shoulders,
I do not know.
That is the issue. That just really makes me focus on H-1Bs for a
moment because, as I say, I listened to our friends talk about the
problems with the two various interpretations of what economic stimulus
is all about, whether it is more government jobs and/or extended
welfare payments or whether it is job creation through giving tax
benefits to corporations, who actually employ people.
There are several other issues with regard to immigration and
immigration reform that I want to address this evening. H-1B is just
one of the many problems we have in this country, and I have a bill
that would significantly reduce the ceiling on H-1B. I would like to
see it become part of that economic stimulus package, but I fear that
the opposition of industry and the corporate structure in this country
will prevent me from actually being able to present that piece of
Nonetheless, there are a series of other issues that come to mind
tonight that I believe need some degree of discussion. I, like almost
every American, have been heartened by the response of most people in
this country to the tragedies of September 11 and the way in which
people have rallied around the President and our military forces and
have expressed themselves over and over again as being patriots.
Underneath all of the exposure that has been provided to these
expressions of patriotism, there is an underlying
theme that runs in certain circles in this country that is very, very
disquieting. I am going to try and discuss this issue in a way that
connects to what people may think are divergent points of view, but in
a way, my colleagues just have to give me a minute to make the case
I believe that massive immigration into this country is very, very
dangerous and is threatening in a variety of ways, massive immigration,
legal and illegal; and I reiterate, I am not against immigrants. I am
not anti-immigrant. I am not even anti-immigration. I am certainly very
much concerned about the present system we operate, or nonsystem, of
The fact that over a million people a year come into the United
States legally, quarter of a million more come in under refugee status
and about who knows, a million to 2 million to 3 million, we do not
know how many for sure come in here illegally every year. That is what
I call massive immigration. I say it is massive because in the heyday
of immigration into this country in the early 1900s, late 1800s, the
highest number of immigrants coming in in any given year was about
200,000. We are six times that amount today, six times that amount
today and that is legally. We would probably go up to 10 or 12 times
that amount if we add all the illegal immigration into the country.
There are ramifications to that massive immigration, and I want to
talk about one particular part of that, one ramification in particular.
It deals with the degree to which we are able to integrate newly
arrived immigrants into this country into the American mainstream and
make them a part of the American experience in every sense of the word.
It is disquieting to find information, some anecdotal, some
empirical, that deals with the degree to which immigrants into this
country have actually attached themselves to the American ideal, which
has always been the case, I should say, I think for immigrants for a
long, long time. I will speak of myself and my own family as an
What I mean here is how immigrants attached themselves in the past,
did attach themselves to the American experience, did want, in fact, to
become Americans in every sense of the word, not just in terms of the
ability to achieve an economic prosperity which, of course, that is in
common with almost everyone. That is a common element of everybody that
comes here; but in particular, I am talking about the issue of
patriotism, patriotism, love of the country, willingness to defend it
and association with it, a feeling of being part of the American
experience. That is what I am talking about that is changing, I think;
and I will get into exactly why I believe that is the case.
Again, let me just preface it by explaining my own experience. My
grandparents came here in the late 1800s, 1890 actually. So I am not
what one would call a long-term immigrant. I am a relatively short-
termer here. That is what I am really trying to say here. My great
great grandparents did not come over on the Mayflower or anything near
it. We are relatively new to the country.
When I went to school, it was in north Denver, at a very small and
relatively impoverished area, in a small school, parochial school, in
which I learned about my country's heroes. I learned who I was by
studying the history books that I was given, in this case, in the
parochial school system; and I also learned about what my parents said
I will tell my colleagues that in my whole life I never ever thought
of myself as anything but an American. When I thought of my heritage,
and who were the heroes of my past, of my heritage, I thought of
Washington and Adams and Jefferson, and I connected with them
immediately. I never ever thought of myself as anything but an American
with that kind of a heritage. I am happy about that because I believe
that that is exactly what immigrants should do and what they should
become, people connected to America in every sense of the word.
Let me tell my colleagues that I have a feeling that this is not
happening, and it is not happening as again many of us have had
anecdotal experiences that would lead us to believe that many
immigrants are not as well steeped in American history and well
connected with it as perhaps our ancestors were.
One anecdotal part. In the Washington Post, it interviewed a middle-
class Muslim American immigrant family from New Jersey and reported
that for Kahr and her husband, taxpayer, registered voters, law abiding
citizens, assimilation is not a goal. The Post article stated that
Kahr, who came to the U.S. from Syria when she was 12, 17 years ago,
would soon graduate from Seton Hall law school. However, this well-
educated woman opposes America's war efforts against the Taliban in
Afghanistan and declares that, quote, ``throughout history Muslims will
always be separate.''
That is the anecdotal thing, and there are literally hundreds of
those kind of stories, but then there are studies that have been done.
Empirical evidence suggests that Kahr's views are not unique. In what
Islamic expert Daniel Pipes has described as perhaps the most
sophisticated study to date of Muslims in the United States, an Iranian
doctoral student at Harvard found that a majority of immigrants there
he surveyed felt more allegiance to a foreign country than to the
This article goes on to say that this ambivalence about American
identity is not confined to Muslim immigrants and their children. The
most comprehensive evidence we have on patriotic assimilation of the
children of immigrants is a longitudinal study by the Russell Sage
Foundation, a study of 5,000 children of immigrants, mostly Mexican
American and Filipino American teenagers. We feel that after 4 years of
American high school the students were 50 percent more likely to
consider themselves quote ``Mexicans or Filipinos than they were to
consider themselves Mexican Americans or Filipinos Americans or just
In other words, patriotic assimilation or self-identification within
the American Nation actually decreased and decreased dramatically after
4 years of studying in American schools. That should not surprise too
many people when we go on to recognize exactly what has been happening,
and there are all kinds; and now again these are anecdotal in terms of
what is happening in American colleges and universities and our K-12
system also; and this kind of cultural relativism is a philosophy which
has seeped into the school system. And when we combine this sort of
philosophy of cultural relativism, that is to say, we are all the same;
there is no difference; America is not any better than any other
country; in fact, in most situations we are worse, that is cultural
relativism. That has seeped its way into our school system.
If we combine that with massive immigration and my colleagues can see
what kind of problems we are going to develop. When we do not teach
children about America, be they immigrant children or native-born
children, it does not matter, they will not understand America.
Mr. Speaker, I was a teacher for many years. I was the regional
director of the U.S. Department of Education, and I will tell my
colleagues it is absolutely evident to anyone that in order to have
children appreciate certain things, we must teach them about it. A
child does not walk into school appreciating fine art. A child does not
walk into school appreciating fine poetry, not even sciences; and they
have to be taught the beauty of these things. They have to be
encouraged. We have to find that spark in every child and ignite it and
say there is an excitement to learning and here is what the child
should be learning.
We have to teach them about America because they will not walk into
schools with an innate understanding of it and appreciation for it. It
will not happen, but we not only do not teach them about America, but
what we do tell them is the following.
At a central Michigan university, a school administrator told several
students to remove patriotic posters and an American flag in their
dormitory. A residential adviser said the pro-American items were quote
At San Diego State University an Ethiopian student overheard four
Saudi Arabian students speak approvingly of the terrorist attacks. When
scolded them in Arabic, they complained to the school. In a response,
the university judicial officer threatened to suspend or expel Kebede,
the gentleman who was challenging these students who were excited over
the bombings, over the terrorist acts, on September 11.
At Pennsylvania State University, a professor was told that his web
site, which advocated military action against terrorists, was
``insensitive, and perhaps even intimidating.'' Under Penn State's
speech code, intimidating language is ground for dismissal.
At a Florida Gulf Coast university, Dean of Library Services Kathleen
Hoeth demanded that employees remove ``proud to be American'' stickers
from their work areas.
At the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, a professor is
under investigation for ``harassment'' after he told a female student
that he supported U.S. military action in Afghanistan. The student said
that the position made her feel ``uncomfortable.''
A Roxbury, New Jersey, school superintendent who ordered signs with
the slogan ``God bless America'' be taken down, he said he was merely
trying to be fair to those who refer to God as ``allah'' and other
Librarians at the Florida State University have been told not to wear
``I am proud to be an American'' sticker.
A Los Angeles educator tells the paper that he has no intention of
flying the flag. ``I grew up suspicious of the flag,'' he says. ``It
meant right wing politics. It meant repression. It meant arrogance. I
mean, we are the greatest?''
Okay. This is what children are being taught, both, as I say, native
born children and immigrant children.
At Marquette University, undergraduates were blocked from holding a
moment of silence around an American flag. The gesture, the school
President's advisers felt, might be offensive to foreign students.
At Lehigh the vice provost for student affairs initially reacted to
the tragedy by banning the display of the American flag. A Lehigh
spokesman explained the idea was to keep from offending some of the
students, and maybe the result was much to the contrary.
When officials at Arizona State removed the American flag from a
school cafeteria out of fear that it might offend international
students, Syrian immigrant Oubai Shahbandar introduced a bill in the
student senate paving the way for its return. His bill was defeated.
Professor Jensen at the University of Houston pronounced that ``my
primary anger is directed at the leaders of this country. The attacks
on the Pentagon and World Trade Center are no more despicable than the
massive acts of terrorism, the deliberate killing of victims for
political purposes that the U.S. Government has committed in my
lifetime.'' This is a Professor Jensen at the University of Houston.
``We are just as guilty,'' he concluded.
University of New Mexico professor Richard Berthold bluntly declared,
``anyone who would blow up the Pentagon would get my vote.''
We are surprised then that students write things like this? ``We
sponsor dictators who maim, we defend corporations that enslave, and
then we have the arrogance to pretend we are safe and untouchable,''
said West Virginia University student Joshua Greene.
``In light of the current destructive nationalism that calls for
war,'' a Duke student opined, the sight of the flag burning would be
preferable to its display.''
These things, these things all matter, and they are undercurrents, as
I say, of a philosophy that will do great harm to the United States.
You combine that, as I say, with massive immigration, with people
coming into this country who are not being inculcated into the American
mainstream, who are coming at such great numbers that we cannot begin
to even do that, and they are being encouraged when they come here, by
the way, they are encouraged not to accept American ideals, but to
think of us as the enemy, to think of themselves as separate and apart
from American mainstream, as this lady says, ``we will always be
separate. Muslims will always be separate.''
And we encourage that. Our institutions of higher education and our
schools throughout the country encourage that. So do many members of
the media. So does the ex-president of the United States, and thank
heavens we can say ex, who can stand up in front of a group of people,
not too long ago, Mr. Clinton, and say that it is our fault that what
has happened to us on September 11 was our fault; our fault. He only
exacerbates this problem. That kind of thinking, of course, is
indicative of the problem.
It is going to get worse. And I suggest we have to deal with this
issue on a variety of fronts. We should certainly deal with it in our
local school system. I wish our schools, every school board in America,
would look at and carefully analyze their curriculum to determine the
extent to which we are teaching about the American experience and
appreciation of who and what we are, because, I reiterate, children do
not come into school with some innate knowledge of that.
Certainly they are not going to learn it from the TV or from the
movies. They are not going to learn to appreciate the American
experience from any of the pop culture. Not from MTV. The only place we
can hope they are learning it is either in school or in their home.
But if the parents of these children do not care, do not want to,
and, as a matter of fact, are antagonistic, as many of these immigrant
parents are, to American culture, to American history, and if the
schools do not teach children about who we are and what we are and how
to appreciate this freedom, then what is the hope we will be able to
maintain it in the future?
With all of that, Mr. Speaker, with all that in front of us, with the
economic stimulus package that is only being debated on the basis of
whether or not we should give welfare or tax cuts, and no discussion of
H1-B visas or the number of immigrants here taking jobs that otherwise
should go to American citizens, without doing that, we are doing
ourselves a disfavor and a disservice, because we should be talking
about other things.
What are we talking about with regard to immigration? Here is what we
are going to be dealing with in this Congress very soon, something
called extension of 245(i). I see a colleague has joined me this
evening on the floor. I want to talk about this with him, because I
know he has strong sentiments open this issue.
Let me just briefly describe what 245(i) is and an extension therein.
245(i) is another category of immigrant status. What it is is
essentially saying that there are a lot of people here illegally. We
all know it. In 1986, there was a thing called amnesty that said if you
have been around for a while and you can show you have a job and you
are married and that sort of thing, we are going to give you amnesty.
You can be here legally. We are going to reward you for coming here
illegally. That is what it said. We are going to give you a reward for
breaking our law.
And we did it. We did it. Come to find out, hundreds of thousands,
maybe millions of people, did not sign up in time to take advantage of
it. So there have been continual attempts, and in fact successful
attempts, of extending this process of amnesty to people who are here
illegally, who have violated our laws and are here presently, taking
the jobs other Americans could have. But, regardless, even if they are
here doing jobs no one else will do, the fact is they are here
illegally, and we are going to reward them by extending it.
Now the debate is going to be enjoined here in a relatively short
time as to whether or not we should once again extend 245(i), to once
again provide amnesty for people who are here illegally. That is what
we are going to debate. Not whether or not we should defend our borders
by tightening up and not allowing illegal immigration, not reducing
immigration altogether to give us an ability to begin to get a handle
on this, not H1-B visa reform. No. We are going to debate and take
under consideration 245(i).
I would yield to my friend, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goode)
for his comments. It is good to see you here tonight.
Mr. GOODE. I thank the gentleman from Colorado. I had not planned to
come over to join you tonight, but I received this letter in the mail
and it is right on the topic to which you have been speaking. I want to
thank you on behalf of millions of Americans for addressing a topic
that is so timely in our
country and so important to the future of the United States of America.
VF Netware in Martinsville, Henry County, employs over 2,300 persons.
They announced the layoff in the coming year of nearly all of those
persons. That is part of a 13,000 person layoff company-wide. On Monday
there was a community meeting in Martinsville in Henry County, and
representatives from the offices of the U.S. Senators from Virginia
were there, the Governor-elect was there, a number of members of the
State legislature, both branches, were there, and there was a
discussion about jobs, and both the topic of amnesty and immigration
I want to share with you a letter written to me by Sandra Turner of
Collinsville, Virginia. That is a community in Henry County so heavily
impacted by the layoffs of VF Netware. Here is what she had to say.
``I watched enough of this town meeting to want to make a comment
about illegal immigrants. I certainly agree with the comment about
doing more to deter illegal immigrants and not allowing any amnesty. I
also think,'' and she refers to a gentleman that was in the audience,
``had valid concerns and comments referencing immigrants in the
``Here is an area that has faced a tremendous downsizing of its
workforce. We believe that long-standing United States citizens should
have their jobs first.''
This gentleman rose and he spoke of how immigrants, probably some of
which were illegal, were here competing and taking jobs that long-
standing United States citizens do not have and will not have in the
She continues: ``I have always felt that the United States has been
too good for our own good. It appears we have always opened the door
and welcomed any and all into this country. We are now paying for this
with illegal immigrants taking our jobs, not to mention reaping other
benefits from the system. And we certainly paid the price on September
11. Hopefully we have learned something from the loss of jobs in the
September 11th tragedy. But I have my doubts. It is time to start
taking care of United States citizens first.''
These are the words of Sandra Turner of Collinsville, Virginia. And I
want to repeat that sentence. ``It is time to start taking care of the
United States citizens first.''
She goes on: ``I live in an area where there are several apartment
complexes. In traveling to and from work, shopping and so forth, I
constantly see vehicles with North Carolina tags going in and out of
these complexes. The vehicles are driven by those from other
countries.'' She goes on and describes that situation.
And then she closes with this: ``I could go on and on, but I will
stop here. I just wanted to let you know that I agreed with the
comments about deterring illegal immigrants at our borders, and
definitely agree with not allowing any amnesty.''
Then she says, ``Now it is time to do something about this.''
The gentleman from Colorado has so eloquently focused on the
legislation that will likely come before this House to extend 245(i).
245(i) is simply a reference to a statutory number that means, as he
stated, we are going to reward those who have broken the law, who have
come into this country illegally, and now we are going to say to them,
you can stay here.
Let me point out, the interview that is done under 245(i) is not
going to be done by the State Department in the country from which
these people came, where they know the most about those individuals. It
will be done by INS, which is already overburdened and overworked and
has had significant problems in a number of areas. That will be the
entity that will do these interviews if 245(i) is extended.
Now, some will cite specific instances of hardship or a trying
situation where an amnesty should be granted. 245 is not a specific
amnesty for a specific person because of a specific problem.
It is a blanket, broad-based amnesty for anyone who wants to pay
$1,000 and answer a few questions. We do not need this amnesty at this
time in the United States. I hope we will follow the wisdom of the
gentleman from Colorado in rising up in this body and opposing amnesty,
whether it is a stand-alone bill or whether it is put into any other
legislation. This is absolutely the wrong course of action for the
United States at this time. We must remember the words of Sandra Turner
of Collinsville, Virginia: ``It is time to start taking care of the
United States citizens first.''
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. It is no wonder
that this country, when we look back again, as I say, to our American
heroes and to the people that gave so much to create this Nation, we so
often find that they came from Virginia and that they express
themselves as wonderfully as the gentleman does, and I sincerely
appreciate the gentleman's comments.
I want to pick up on something that he said specifically in regard to
the difference in the kind of investigation that is done between
someone who is trying to get into the United States and has to go to a
counselor office in the country of his origination and go through a
process that is really quite rigorous, supposedly; at least on paper,
they are supposed to go into quite a background check. Even the State
Department tells us that they do not have the capacity to do that, even
in the country of origin but, at least, and this is important, at least
the person today that would seek entrance into the United States and
seek to come here and get legal status, they would have to go back or
start out in their country and request that. But under the program that
the gentleman refers to, 245(i), that does not have to happen. The
person does not have to return; the person is here.
So let us assume for a moment that the INS does all the background
work that is necessary and believe me, they have a backlog now of 4.5
million people. And I guarantee my colleagues, when we ask the INS how
are they going to get this backlog taken care of, they will give us
their logo: I do not know. That is their logo. That is what I have
decided. That should be on everything that says ``INS,'' a picture of
somebody going like this, I am not sure. Because they could not
possibly do it and they do not do it. They cannot even pretend that
they go through the kind of analysis that is necessary, and the
Let us assume that they did. They are talking with the person who is
in front of them in the United States and they are trying to find out,
and they come to this conclusion after all the background is done weeks
and weeks and weeks, months and months that it would take to do it, but
let us assume they do it and they find out this guy is a bad guy; this
guy, we would not let into the country. Well, guess what? He is here.
We are not able to keep him out. And then, what are they going to do?
Go out and try to find him at that point in time? Good luck.
Mr. Speaker, the INS spends absolutely no time or energy or effort in
tracking down people who are here illegally. We all know that. They
tell us when we talk to them, that no, they really do not have the
inclination nor the resources to go after people who are here
illegally, unless something really big happens, they commit a murder or
something like that and they get brought in under those conditions, and
then they try to deport them. But as I said, there are lots out there
that no one knows about. So we are actually going to trust the INS to
do this kind of thorough background check? And as I say, even if they
do it, so what? The person is here. The person is here.
Believe me, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people here who should
not be here, as we, of course, found out recently. And then this, of
course, contributes to fraud, all kinds of fraud, fraudulent marriages
being one of them. This is what happens, because one of the ways that
you get the status is to show that you are married to an American
So these are articles that came out of the Denver paper when we
extended 245(i) the last time, 3,042 applications in one day. More than
3,000 illegal immigrants in Denver beat a midnight deadline to apply
for the visas. Now, do you think for a moment that the INS went through
all of this, just the 3,000 in that last day, went through all of those
with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that what they were doing was
right? What we find out, as a matter of fact, after the 1986 amnesty,
when the Clinton administration pushed for, as we may recall, the
gentleman from Virginia may recall, when we pushed for the legalization
of a lot of people in the citizenship status for millions of immigrants
when they pushed it through because the past administration wanted
these people to be able to vote, we found that we gave something like
60,000 felons citizenship; 60,000 felons ended up as citizens of the
United States, but had felony records. We never checked. We did not
know about it until much later, but it was too late.
Now, is their citizenship being revoked? Absolutely not. What if it
were to be revoked tomorrow? What if we decide, that was a big mistake,
we should take it back from those people and find them, get them out of
here, if you tell the INS, what would you do about that? They would
give you the logo: I do not know.
One officer, it says, ``Our office is finished up by 3 a.m.,'' said
Louise Germain, assistant director for the INS in Denver. They are sure
tired today. Then they went on to talk about the people who came in who
were not married, but came in and said, well, you know, we want to be
married. The INS officer said when they showed up at the INS office,
they had a marriage license but had not been pronounced husband and
wife, so we told them, go quickly and find someone to marry you. They
did. Thousands and thousands. It has been estimated in the hundreds of
thousands of bogus, sham marriages were undertaken at that point in
time in order to get visa status. Has anybody checked on that? Has one
person been refused visa status because they fraudulently applied and
did stuff like this, got this sham marriage put together. I asked the
INS these questions. They responded again with their logo.
One example of the people who are doing this kind of thing, a man
worked and lived with two former area men facing criminal charges in
the government's terrorist investigation is scheduled to be arraigned
today on a charge of marriage fraud. That means of five Middle Eastern
men whose names appeared on the lease for the 6th Street Northwest
apartment, this was in Akron, three of them are in jail and one is in
jail with a $2,500 bond and is facing three misdemeanor charges after
he allegedly claimed to be three different people during a drunken
tirade and that he was a terrorist.
Another one tried to marry a U.S. citizen to get him under U.S.
immigration regulations. They would not say how they found out about
the marriage, nor would they answer other questions. These people are
all in jail. They are not in jail because they violated the law, that
is not it at all, the specific law against the immigration violations.
Of course we rounded them up for other reasons and then tried to tack
The reality is, Mr. Speaker, that the extension of 245(i) is a
travesty. The idea that we would even think about it is a travesty.
Number one, I reiterate, it rewards people for illegal behavior. All of
the hundreds of thousands, in fact, millions of people who are waiting
patiently all over the world to come into the United States legally,
legally, what message does it send to them other than sneak in if you
can, stay here long enough, come up with bogus documents to prove that
you have been here for a long time, that you have relatives here, that
you are married, whatever, and we will give you legal status. Give us
$1,000. This is absolutely the wrong message, I think, Mr. Speaker, and
that is on the one side.
The other side is this: we are now talking about public safety. We
can now focus on some of the incredibly dire circumstances, the dire
results of these kinds of loose immigration practices, and we recognize
that there are people in this country today who are here illegally who
wish to do us harm, who have every intent to do that.
Now, would it not be better for them to go ahead and go through the
process, give the INS $1,000, fill out the paperwork, become a legal
resident of the United States, and then do what you need to do, with
the full cover of United States citizenship, or at least being in the
States legally? You can get your driver's license, you can do all kinds
of things then, of course, that can cover your tracks. You will not
stand out. You will not have to be hiding, not that many of them are
probably doing that today, but I would imagine that it is a little more
difficult today for these would-be terrorists if they are not American
citizens, and I hope it gets harder and harder and harder for them. But
it should not be made easier for them.
I will tell my colleagues that it is going to be almost impossible
for us to actually identify these people. I mean identify them when
they come up to get their materials and to apply for this amnesty; we
really will not know it. We will not do a background check that will
tell us; but even if we do, it will be too late. They are here. They
will be in this society. We will not be able to find them or get rid of
them. They are here now. Let us seek them out, identify them, remove
them; and if you are here illegally, Mr. Speaker, you have to go home.
Start the process.
There are millions of people who are here with no evil intent, and I
recognize that fully well. The great vast majority, thank God, are here
solely with the purpose probably to improve their lives economically. I
wish they were here with another purpose and that was to become part of
the American mainstream, and that is a debatable point as to whether or
not that is happening. But I can assure my colleagues that I know and
believe that for the most part they are here in order to improve the
quality of their lives economically, and not to destroy buildings or
But there are some, of course, of a different ilk, and we cannot be
so selective as to be able to identify them specifically and say yes, I
know, of all of the millions, you are the one I have to worry about. We
have to say, if you are here illegally, you must return home, and start
the process of coming into the United States legally. Let us determine
whether or not you can and should be admitted. And if we need workers,
fine. Guest worker program. No problem. But this massive immigration,
legal and illegal, that is trying to be managed by an agency with a
shrug of the shoulders for its logo is not the way we should be doing
business in this country. What more of a lesson do we need to learn?
How much more dramatic of an event has to occur to tell us that we must
understand this very basic premise, and that is the defense of this
Nation begins with the defense of its borders.
Mr. Speaker, we have every right to do it. We should not be made to
feel as though we should be ashamed because we are telling people that
they cannot come into the country. We have every right to defend our
borders. We have every right to ask citizens who do come into this
country to become part of the American mainstream and have the love of
this country and an allegiance and an attachment of this country. We
have every right to ask that. To not do so is sealing our own fate. It
is a death wish for the country.
So I challenge us all, Mr. Speaker, to take on the responsibilities
that are given to us when we take the oath of office to protect and
defend this country and do so by the understanding that that means
defending our borders. We have no other option, Mr. Speaker. God forbid
another event of the nature of September 11 occurs, and if it does
occur, it is because if it happens and it happens as a result of
someone who comes into this Nation illegally, then I say again that if
we have not done everything we can possibly do, if we have not done
everything we can possibly do to stop someone from coming into this
Nation illegally; and I reiterate, I understand that even if we did
everything that we could possibly do that it still might happen, but if
we do not do everything we can possibly do to stop it, then we are not
just irresponsible, we are, in fact, culpable; and I choose for one not
to do so.
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