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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: November 27, 2001 (House)]
[Page H8413-H8418]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr27no01-86]                         
 
                        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 
corporations.
  One deals with organizations that actually create jobs in America and 
create wealth; and the other deals with a social service plan, a 
welfare plan.
  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

[[Page H8414]]

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 
workforce.
  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.

                              {time}  2200

  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 
jail.
  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 
legislation.
  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

[[Page H8415]]

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 
here.
  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 
immigration.
  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 
example.
  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 
about America.
  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 
United States.
  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 
plain Americans.''
  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 
``offensive.''

                              {time}  2215

  At San Diego State University an Ethiopian student overheard four 
Saudi Arabian students speak approvingly of the terrorist attacks. When 
he

[[Page H8416]]

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 
names.
  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

[[Page H8417]]

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 
arose.
  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 
workplace.
  ``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 
future.
  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.

                              {time}  2230

  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 
background check.
  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 
citizen.
  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, 
and then

[[Page H8418]]

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 
that on.
  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 
people's lives.
  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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