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[Congressional Record: February 12, 2002 (House)]
[Page H274-H279]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

[[Page H274]]

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Brown of South Carolina). Under the 
Speaker's announced policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of 
the majority leader.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to talk on a subject that 
often brings me to the floor of the House, and that is immigration and 
immigration reform.
  Before I do that, I have had the opportunity to sit here and listen 
to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle discuss the upcoming 
legislation referred to as campaign finance reform or the Shays-Meehan 
bill which we will be discussing tomorrow.
  It strikes me that some other viewpoints may need to be made this 
evening. First of all, it is intriguing in the way that we can actually 
identify a piece of legislation to fit our personal desires, as the 
Members that have introduced it have done. Certainly I have done it. I 
introduced the Sudan Peace Act. I hope if it passes, eventually we will 
have peace; but I have no hope that it will happen immediately, or the 
day after.
  Nonetheless, it is interesting how we characterize pieces of 
legislation here with terms and titles and phrases that we want to put 
it in a certain light, and we call this thing that we will be 
discussing tomorrow campaign finance reform.
  But, Mr. Speaker, it is anything but that, as many of us know. I have 
often had the opportunity to discuss this issue and to refer to a game 
that I am aware of. When I was much younger, I used to work at an 
amusement park in Denver, Colorado, called Elitch Gardens. I started 
there as a sweeper when I was 16 years old, and stayed every summer. 
Pretty soon I was the rides manager of the park and then the summer 
manager of the park. It put me through college. It was a great place to 
  One of the things that we had in that amusement park was a game, and 
it was called Whack a Mole. It is a game which at that time the player 
put in a quarter and took a little hammer out, and the game started. 
Little mole heads would start popping up. The player would hit the mole 
here, and it went down, and then the player would hit it over here. And 
then it started moving faster and faster and faster, and the player 
tried to keep up with it. And pretty soon the player realized they 
probably were not going to win. The player probably could not win 
because it would keep popping up faster. You never could actually beat 
  Mr. Speaker, every time I hear a debate on campaign finance reform, I 
think of that game because really that is what we are talking about 
here. We are talking about trying to stop the flow of money into the 
process of politics. Living in a free society, living in a society 
governed by the rule of law and the Constitution, in this case the 
Constitution of the United States which equates and has said over and 
over again, in politics money is speech; and, therefore, we have a 
right to free speech, we will never, ever, ever, stop the flow of money 
into politics.
  Now, let us recognize that at the beginning of this discussion. It is 
never going to happen. If there is anyone out there who thinks it is, 
and anyone who thinks that it happens anywhere else in the world under 
any system, let me disabuse that Member of that idea. Money does flow 
into politics. Is it all because there are people who want to work 
their way with the Congress of the United States? Undoubtedly some 
people contribute for that purpose. But the fact is for this country's 
history, far more, millions more people contribute to the political 
process with their money not because they want to get something 
special, not because they want to buy off the politician that they are 
giving the money to, but because they are supporting people who feel as 
they feel about issues. It is as simple as that.
  Mr. Speaker, in my last campaign I was trying to recollect what we 
raised, and it was over a million dollars, I know that. I cannot 
remember the exact amount right now. But I also know when we averaged 
out the contributions to the campaign, it came to something like $55 
per person.

                              {time}  2045

  I assure you that the literally thousands of people that contributed 
to my campaign in amounts of $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, $25, I do not think 
any of them really believed they were buying my vote on any particular 
thing. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that most of the people 
who gave me $1,000 believed they were buying my vote and that if they 
gave me $1,000, which is the maximum, that somehow I would change who I 
am, what I believe and what I think and vote for them, for their way, 
for their attitude and idea.
  Mr. Speaker, what really and truly I have to say to the people in 
this body, to the people listening this evening: if there is a single 
Member of this body who in their whole career on this floor or in this 
House has ever cast a vote against their conscience and because a large 
donor wanted that vote, then they should vote for Shays-Meehan. 
Because, Mr. Speaker, they need that kind of rationalization, they need 
to salve their conscience maybe. They need to somehow get out from this 
feeling that they are being bought. I have heard colleagues stand up 
here, and in the other body, and say, ``The system is corrupt, we're 
all bought, we're all paid for,'' and that sort of thing. Maybe they 
are. Maybe they are. But I must tell you, Mr. Speaker, they do not 
speak for me.
  There are issues on which I feel very strongly. I express them here 
on the floor. I express them in my vote. In the conference I try to 
convince my colleagues to see things as I see them, to vote my way. 
Yes, I came here because I believe in issues. I love the debate. But I 
should tell you, Mr. Speaker, that people support me, I think, not 
because they are hoping to change my opinion but because they like my 
opinion. They want that opinion expressed.
  As an example, I am known in, certainly Colorado, for being a very 
strong critic of the public school system, especially the monopoly 
system that runs the public schools, not for the teachers themselves, 
not for the people who work so hard trying to accomplish a task, but 
the teachers union. I attack it all the time because I think they are 
an obstacle to education reform. The teachers union, the NEA, the 
National Education Association, has never given me a dime, not a penny. 
Nor should they. And I am positive that this thought has never crossed 
their mind, that maybe if we give Tom Tancredo $1,000 or $5,000 from 
their PAC, he will start voting on our side on this issue. They know 
that is not true. They do not give me money. No matter how much money 
they gave me, I would not vote on that side of the issue. And they know 
it. That is the way, I am sure, that most of my colleagues are.
  We came here with a set of principles, a set of ideas that we want to 
advance and we tell our constituents what we are and who we are and 
what we believe in. And they elect us or they do not. And if they elect 
us, then they expect us to come here and be as forceful as we can, to 
advocate those positions. And because some people give me money for my 
campaign who happen to also believe what I believe, would I not be 
doing them a disservice if I did not try my best to advance those 
  But I again say, if you are afraid of this, if somehow or other you 
feel you have been bought and that you cannot withstand the pressure of 
a large donor that is maybe wanting you to vote for something you do 
not believe in your conscience, vote for Shays-Meehan. Maybe somehow 
that will get you off the hook. But I assure you, Mr. Speaker, it will 
not really change the process. We will once again hit the mole on the 
head, and it will go down; but it will pop up here and there and 
everywhere. As you know, Mr. Speaker, when they talk about soft money 
and hard money, for the most part I think most Americans have not the 
foggiest idea what we are talking about here. But they maybe like the 
sound of it: ``We're going to stop soft money from coming into the 
Congress.'' ``Oh, right, good, great. That's exactly what I hope they 
  The reality is, of course, even in this bill that is being brought 
forward, and it will be brought forward tomorrow afternoon, we do not 
stop soft money. We do not stop even really the contribution of hard 
money. We will still have millions of dollars flowing into the system. 
They will find other ways

[[Page H275]]

to come up. The mole's head will come up in a variety of other holes, 
and it will come into the system.
  I say, look, who cares? Eliminate this charade that we are playing 
here. Forget about it. I really wish we would remove all restrictions 
and just say we report every dime. Mr. Speaker, on my campaigns, I 
report every single penny that comes in, as long as we can identify it. 
If somebody sends $5 without a name, I guess we cannot. But if someone 
tells me who they are and they contribute to my campaign, we post it, 
even though we are not required by law to do that; I think it is 
anything less than $200. But I post it all, every single penny. Then 
people can make their own decisions. They can look and say, gee whiz, 
look, he got all this money from Enron, which I did not get any money 
from Enron; but from any of these organizations or people, let them 
make their own conclusions as to whether or not that influenced my 
vote. Does that change who I am because they gave this to me?

  Frankly, Mr. Speaker, it is a charade. That is what is so 
discouraging. Many of my colleagues stood up in the previous hour and 
they talked about how cynical people are about the system, that the 
American public, I think that is the word they used over and over 
again, that they are cynical. I can understand that. I can understand 
that. Because if you listened to what was said tonight, you may come 
away, if you are not really perhaps well aware of the way the process 
works, you may come away from the debate, you may have come away from 
our colleagues and said, you know, I think if we pass this bill, there 
will be no more, quote, ``soft money,'' and that we will have reformed 
the system, no one here will come to this body influenced by 
contributions. If they think that, and if we pass this piece of 
legislation and then a year from now, two years from now we will read 
accounts of millions of dollars being spent, hundreds of thousands, we 
will say, ``Gee whiz, I thought they took care of that. Wasn't that 
called Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform? Wasn't that supposed to 
have taken care of it?'' Lo and behold, it did not.
  If you want to make people cynical, Mr. Speaker, then pretend that we 
are going to be doing something incredibly significant here tomorrow, 
eliminating the influence of money in this body. You and I, and I think 
even Members of the other side, well, both sides who support this 
certainly know in their heart of hearts that really things are not 
going to change that much except they can claim some sort of 
rationalization later on and say, ``Well, we voted for Shays-Meehan.''
  In a couple of years, Common Cause, other organizations, whatever, 
other Members of the body will be up here saying we have to stop this 
hole that this mole's head is coming out of; and there will be a great 
hue and cry, there will be a big battle between both sides and the 
press will get into this because, remember, in any way, shape or form 
could we ever stop them. Of course the press is all in favor of 
reducing our ability or the ability of other people to have an 
influence and have their say in government; but you never hear them 
talking about reducing their own freedoms. And I do not want to. There 
is the first amendment which, of course, is going to make most of 
Shays-Meehan unconstitutional, anyway. But the reality is this, that we 
should not be so focused, we should not get carried away, we should not 
place more emphasis on all this than it warrants, and it warrants very 
little, because it really, really and truly will not change much except 
it very well may do exactly what the proponents suggest is the problem 
today, it may exacerbate that and make people even more cynical about 
this process.
  But I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I will be a ``no'' vote on 
that bill, as I was the last time around. Maybe I should not be, 
because as an incumbent, maybe we should support this kind of 
legislation, because it does put more of a burden on somebody else to 
raise money. After all, I have got the advantage of incumbency, I have 
got the advantage of name recognition and all the things that come with 
it; and so maybe I should just vote for this bill because it puts us in 
a better situation, vis-a-vis some opponent who comes and tries to get 
elected without the benefit of personal money. Because if you are not 
personally wealthy, it may be harder for you to get your name out, to 
get known, to get people to understand your position on issues under 
this kind of legislation. That is true.
  If you are wealthy enough, of course, you cannot be stopped. There is 
a provision in this that says something like if you put more than a 
certain amount of your own money in, the other limits are raised or 
whatever; but the reality is, Mr. Speaker, that the Supreme Court has 
ruled over and over again, you cannot limit someone's ability to put 
their own money into their own campaign. It is impossible.
  There are Senators who, of course, as we know put 30 million or more 
dollars in; but there are other people who put in millions of dollars 
and lost. I am not personally a wealthy person. I could never fund my 
own campaigns out of my pocket. No way. Impossible. I cannot do it. So 
I have to rely on contributions from other people. Every time I have 
run, I have run against someone far more wealthy than I, and God bless 
them for it. That is not a crime. I wish I were in that situation. But 
I am not. And so I have to rely on the contributions of others to help 
me level that playing field. That is never going to change. If you want 
to turn this place into a body of the wealthiest of us, who have the 
ability to fund their own campaigns, who are not the slightest bit 
concerned about corporate or political or any other kind of PAC, then 
fine, Shays-Meehan helps you accomplish that goal. But it does not 
improve this process, and it does not improve the body as a whole. I 
worry, because I do think people become cynical. Undeniably, they 
become cynical.

  As I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, that was not the original purpose of my 
requesting this hour, but as often happens while I sit here and wait 
for my turn at the plate, I do have the desire to respond to some of 
the things that I have heard. I am sure there will be others tomorrow 
who will be more articulate in their observations, in expressing their 
observations about this bill; but this is the opportunity I have 
selected for tonight.
  Let me get on for a few more minutes and discuss another topic. Here 
we are 5 months and 1 day from the tragic events of September 11, 5 
months and 1 day in which an enormous amount of activity has occurred. 
The Nation has gone through a gut-wrenching experience. We have 
responded in ways and as a result of the leadership of our President; 
we have really risen to the challenge in many respects. In a little 
over 5 months, we have deployed American forces halfway around the 
world, we have stopped and defeated a terrorist regime in Afghanistan, 
we have probably identified terrorists and stopped actions that would 
have been taken up to this point in time.
  We are on the way to the next series of steps in that particular war, 
although I hesitate to call it war. We have not actually declared war. 
I wish we had done that. But the fact is that we have done an enormous 
number of things and to our credit, to the credit of this Nation, to 
the people of this Nation, to the President of the United States, to 
the men and women in our Armed Forces, God bless them all. I am proud 
of them, I am sure, as almost every American is in their heart of 
hearts. They are proud of what we have been able to accomplish in a 
relatively short time, with such little bloodshed, especially on our 
part, on the part of American servicemen and women, but even, quite 
frankly, on the part of the aggressors in Afghanistan. The reality is 
that far fewer of them were injured or killed than would have been the 
case in almost any other conflict of this nature, because our 
technology and our will is such that we are able to confine the damage 
to a relatively small area and identify our targets carefully and that 
sort of thing.
  So again, I am proud, I am happy that we have accomplished what we 
have accomplished. But, Mr. Speaker, we could in fact bomb Afghanistan 
into dust, into rubble. We could do the same thing in a variety of 
other countries. We can use our military might and that of our allies 
to help stop aggression, to help stop terrorism in other countries 
around the world, and I expect that we may be doing that.

                              {time}  2100

  It is covertly now, overtly in some time to come, and I am completely

[[Page H276]]

supportive of those efforts. But one thing we have failed to do, one 
horrible, terrible failure, is that we have failed as of this point in 
time, 5 months and 1 day, we have failed to secure our own borders.
  Mr. Speaker, as I have said on this floor so many times, the defense 
of this Nation begins at the defense of our borders. We can do 
everything we are doing all around the world to try and protect 
American citizens from the threat of terrorism, but, in reality, we 
must deal with the issue of the defense of our borders, securing our 
borders, because everything we do externally, everything we do around 
the world, will never actually work to stop that one ultimate threat, 
and that is of somebody coming across our borders for the purpose of 
doing us harm; coming across our borders without us knowing it, without 
us knowing exactly who they are, what they are intent on doing here, 
how long they are going to stay here, what they do or are doing while 
they are here. We have done nothing really to change that. It is 
  We have, even in this House, attempted to pass one piece of 
legislation to address this issue specifically, and that is a bill 
called the Feinstein-Kyl bill, a Senate bill we passed on the House 
side, which has been bottled up in the Senate by one Member from West 
Virginia, one Member of the Senate over there.
  They have these strange rules in the other body, as you know, Mr. 
Speaker, that allows this person to work his or her will over that of 
the majority, and because this one Member of the Senate has chosen to 
put a hold on that bill, we have not even been able to pass a piece of 
legislation that deals with the issue of student visas and tightening 
up the regulations and requirements on student visas. For heaven's 
sake, that one thing has not been able to pass.
  Needless to say, we have not been able to do an even more important 
thing. We have not been able to reform the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service, referred to as the INS. This is the body in 
which we entrust the responsibility of protecting our borders and 
determining who is, in fact, here illegally and removing them from this 
Nation. We have not done that.
  We have entrusted that body, but, unfortunately, that organization, 
the INS, is absolutely incompetent, incapable of doing what we ask of 
them in the area of enforcement of immigration law. They are both 
incapable and unwilling, and that is a problem that is very difficult 
to deal with, because if they had the heart for it, then we could 
address the issue with resources. If they wanted to do it, then it 
would be up to us to say, let us see what can we do in this body to 
make sure you can get the job done. How many dollars will it take? How 
many field agents will you need? How many people will you need? Tell 
us, and we will try to address the issue.
  But, unfortunately, that is not the real problem. Money is not the 
problem. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the INS budget from 1993 to the year 
2002 went from $1.5 billion to $5.6 billion. It almost quadrupled. The 
President's budget for 2003 has another $1.2 billion increase, to a 
total of $6.8 billion.
  In all that time and with all that amount of resources available to 
it, the INS has been incapable and unwilling to defend our borders and 
to secure internally in the United States our system and our people 
against the activities of people who come here, terrorists who come 
here illegally, and also they have not been able to do even the 
minimum, and that is to actually stop the flow of illegal immigrants 
across the borders, both north and south, and that is a shame. That is 
not just a shame, it is a travesty, because, of course, we gave them 
the money. They chose to use it someplace else.
  Now, there are two sides to INS. It is divided into two parts. One is 
what I call the immigration social worker side, and this is the side 
that is supposed to help people get their green cards; help people come 
here and immigrate into the country legally and make sure that they are 
provided with benefits and that sort of thing and show them how the 
system works and help them get through it. They do not do that very 
well either. That is where their heart is and where almost all of their 
resources go.
  The other thing they are supposed to be involved with is enforcement, 
the actual enforcement of immigration law. But, of course, we know that 
they turn a blind eye to people coming across this border illegally, so 
much so that to this point in time we now believe there are at least 11 
million, I think it is even higher than that, but at least 11 million 
people here in this country illegally. They did not come through the 
process, we do not know who they are, we do not know what they are 
doing here, and we certainly do not know if they ever go back to 
wherever they came from. We do not know anything about it.
  In fact, when we ask the INS, that is the answer we get for almost 
every single question; when we pose a question to them, they say, ``I 
am not sure.''
  I have suggested on more than one occasion a new logo for the INS, on 
their Web site, printed on all their stationary, a new logo, just a 
person going like this, Mr. Speaker, a shrug of the shoulders. ``I do 
not know.'' Because that is all you get from them. ``I am not sure.'' 
``I do not know.'' ``How many people? We are not positive.'' ``Where 
are they? We do not know.'' Let me ask you, do you know how many people 
are here in the United States who have overstayed their visa? ``Oh, a 
lot. Millions.'' ``I am not sure.''
  After a while you just realize there is not really any purpose to 
ask, because this the answer you get: ``I do not know.'' ``I am not 
sure.'' ``I have no idea.''
  We think so little of this agency, and it really and truly has been 
sort of one of those stepchildren that you just go, you know, let us 
not really pay a lot of attention to it, to the point where we have 
actually appointed someone as the new Director.
  Now, this is a time when, as I say, we are facing an enormous, 
enormous challenge, not just from the possibility of terrorists coming 
across the border that we do not know about and we do not know who they 
are and that sort of thing, coming in here illegally, but we are, of 
course, in the middle of a flood of illegal immigrants, and that has 
incredible implications for our society. Infrastructure costs, 
political, economic, you name it, there are going to be massive 
implications as a result of the huge numbers of people coming into the 
United States, both legally and illegally. Yet the INS we know to be 
incapable of dealing with it, and we have known for some time.
  In many ways there are many people in this body who really and truly 
do not care. They want to kind of cast a blind eye to it, to say, ``Oh, 
well, that is true. Millions are coming across, but we need the help, 
we need the labor, we need the people to work in certain areas.'' Plus, 
of course, there are political issues on the Democratic side of the 
aisle. They recognize that massive immigration eventually translates 
into votes for them. On our side of the aisle we believe that massive 
numbers of low-wage earners and low-skill workers will, of course, keep 
wages down, supply employers with a large pool of potential workers.
  So everybody wants to turn a blind eye, and everybody wants the vote. 
They want the vote of these people coming in. And so we are afraid. We 
are very, very uptight about this. It makes us very skittish to talk 
about immigration reform, about reducing the numbers of illegal 
immigrants. To talk about trying to do something about illegal 
immigration makes people skittish, let alone reduce the number of legal 
immigrants, which I believe firmly we should do.
  But, nonetheless, we have chosen to ignore it, to pretend it does not 
exist, to look the other way for political reasons, and so, therefore, 
we have not paid much attention to the INS, and we really do not care 
that they are as incompetent as they are and unwilling to do their job, 
and we keep giving them money, and they keep, of course, misusing it or 
transferring it to activities that have nothing to do with enforcement.
  We have even gotten to the point, Mr. Speaker, if you can believe 
this, but we just appointed a new Director, a new Director of the INS. 
This agency, of course, oversees a budget of $6.8 billion. Thousands of 
people work for it. It has the responsibility of one of the most 
serious activities of the Federal Government, one of the few 
responsibilities that is uniquely Federal Government. We debate 
education issues

[[Page H277]]

here and welfare issues here, none of which is truly a Federal 
responsibility, but this area of immigration, that is uniquely Federal.
  We take an organization like that, an organization to which we give 
$6.8 billion, and we appointed an individual as head of it whose only 
experience in this particular arena in terms of identifying who is 
coming and going across borders and that sort of thing is who is coming 
and going in the door of the other body, because it was the Sergeant at 
Arms for a lot of years. A nice guy, I am sure. He is the head of the 
  Maybe we should not be too surprised when people in the INS say 
things like Fred Alexander, Deputy Director for the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service, publicly told a group of ``undocumented day 
laborers,'' this is the Deputy Director for INS, talking to a group of 
illegal aliens, right, who he should, of course, have had arrested, 
but, no, he is speaking to them, like at a rally. But, of course, they 
had nothing to worry about. They were, I am sure, all applauding and 
having a great time, because he said to them, Mr. Speaker, believe it 
or not, this is on the list we have on our Web site, we have a list 
called unbelievable but true immigration stories, and some of them I 
will go through, because they are astounding. Fred Alexander publicly 
told a group of ``undocumented day laborers'' that ``it is not a crime 
to be in the U.S. illegally.'' It is not a crime to be in the U.S. 
illegally. ``It is a violation,'' he says, ``of civil law.''

  Oh, heck. Well, gee, you know, I do not know why I was so confused by 
the words ``law'' and ``legal'' and stuff like that. Here he is, ``Hey, 
do not worry. It is not against the law. Come on in.'' This is the 
Deputy Director of the INS.
  I mean, this would be a joke. It would be a Saturday Night Live skit. 
It would be great, wonderful. There are lots of them, believe me. If 
the producers of Saturday Night Live are looking for any sort of 
material, just go to our Web site, the immigration reform Web site on 
our Tancredo Web site, and you will see we have, what have I got here, 
54 little vignettes so far, and, believe me, they keep coming in every 
single day, things just as bizarre as that.
  The INS spent $31.2 million on a computer system to track down 
whether visa holders overstayed their visa. The system does not work. 
They say they need an additional $57 million for the system. Believe 
me, if we gave them $570 million, or $5 billion, they could not make it 
work. It is not the hardware that is the problem here.
  So I guess again it would not be surprising that we take the Sergeant 
at Arms from the other body and make him the head of the INS. Who 
cares, he is a nice guy, a friend of a lot of people in the other body, 
and, why not? He probably wanted to be appointed to something. Why not 
the INS? Certainly we do not care. It is no big issue, no big deal.
  Well, Mr. Speaker, it is a big deal. It is a very big deal. And it is 
incredible almost to me that we treat it with such, I do not know, 
disdain is not the word, I treat it with disdain because it deserves 
it, but we treat it in a way that it does not reflect its importance to 
the Nation.
  It should be completely reformed. When I say reformed, Mr. Speaker, I 
do not mean just some cosmetic attempt to pretend like we have actually 
separated the two sides out, and now we will have one guy that is just 
the head of enforcement and one guy the head of the social services.

                              {time}  2115

  No, we need something far more than that. Right now, Mr. Speaker, we 
have to actually reform the INS in a way that means abolishing that 
part of the INS that does any work in immigration enforcement. We have 
to take its responsibility away from INS; we have to take the 
responsibility away from the Coast Guard, from Agriculture, from DEA, 
from all of the other agencies that presently have some role to play.
  By the way, I have been on the border, and I have witnessed firsthand 
the work that our border folks do, that the Border Patrol does; and to 
them I give all the credit in the world. They work as hard as they can. 
It is not their fault. Please do not get me wrong in that there are 
people listening tonight, Mr. Speaker, that have friends, relatives or 
are themselves employed by the INS. For the most part, they are doing 
everything they can. We hear from them every day. People call my office 
every day. INS, people who are agents and have been agents for 30 
years, some of them want to speak without going on the record, some of 
them are willing to become whistleblowers; but almost to a person, they 
talk about their frustration in trying to do a job that they are 
incapable of doing as a result of an incompetent administration, as a 
result of a whole bunch of stupid rules that this Congress has passed.
  Come to think of it, and I am sure it is on here in our list of 
``Amazing But True,'' and it goes to show you it is not all entirely 
the INS that is goofball in this area, as I have described, but other 
groups play a role. On the INS Web site, one can go to it today, 
tonight, and one can pull up a temporary visa application form. About 
the third or fourth question that one has to fill out if one is trying 
to come into the country is one that says, and I am paraphrasing 
because I do not have it in front of me, it says, are you a terrorist? 
Have you ever belonged to an organization that has expressed a desire 
to commit acts of terror in the United States? Are you a member of the 
Nazi Party? Did you ever do anything in the concentration camps? Answer 
yes or no. There is this little box that one checks. And one thinks to 
themselves, well, okay, goofy as that sounds, maybe we are using that 
if somebody checked no, but then comes in and does something wrong, we 
can say, we caught you because you lied on your form. We can make the 
case that is necessary.
  But get this: as a result of a member of the other body, a gentleman 
from Massachusetts who has been around a long time, and he happens to 
be also the chairman of the immigration committee in the Senate today, 
he added a provision in 1990 to this that said, by the way, if you 
check ``yes'' up here to that question, do not worry, because that is 
not a reason to keep you out of the United States.
  So, as I say, they are confronted with a lot of very, very difficult, 
the INS, even the people who are trying to do their job, are confronted 
with a variety of mixed messages. Strange, but true, as I say. 
Incredible, but true. Please believe me, there are so many stories like 
that, I do not even know where to begin. But they are all metaphors, in 
a way. I use them as a metaphor for the whole problem, the whole 
situation we face.
  That one form, that front page of that temporary visitor visa; and 
here is another one, Mr. Speaker. We were down on the border in El Paso 
about a month and a half ago, I guess; and we were watching people come 
through, and we have now set up, and we have paid a lot of money to 
have a card given to all of the people coming through, especially for 
just day trips or something like that, and we paid a lot of money for 
these machines so that the border agent can swipe the card through the 
machine, and on the screen it will come up and say who this person is, 
whether or not we know something about them that we do not like. It 
gives some information and background. Logical. Good idea.
  Well, of course, there are so many people coming across, the line 
goes up over the bridge and into Mexico, and there are literally 
thousands; I cannot even imagine how many thousands of people were 
waiting to come across. There are like four or five stations with a 
Border Patrol agent there. But the crush of humanity is so great that 
they simply do not swipe the card. The person coming in holds the card 
up next to their face and walks by, and the agent is like this saying, 
I am sure that face goes with that card, oh, yes, absolutely. Of 
course, it is a joke. It is ridiculous. But again, that is a metaphor 
for the whole system. I am not even saying that this is a bad idea; I 
am just saying it is another one of those kind of amazing but true 
  But they showed us a door frame. Now, that is all it was, Mr. 
Speaker, a door frame on wheels. And periodically they would wheel this 
thing out, and on it in Spanish it is written ``drug-sniffing door 
frame.'' And they wheel this thing out, and they wait to see if anybody 
sort of balks at going through it. Excuse me, but the picture always 
does make me laugh; it is sort of humorous. In a way, listen, they are 
trying anything. If it works, it works, okay. But it is a metaphor for 

[[Page H278]]

whole system. It is completely and totally shot. This thing does not 
work, Mr. Speaker. It does not work. The best thing we got going for us 
is a door frame that says ``automatic drug-sniffing door frame.'' Oh, 
my goodness.

  But the people do try. They are overwhelmed. They are overwhelmed. 
One of the things they told us while we were down there, the people 
were really working as hard as they could. They knew that the task 
ahead of them was incredible. They said, you know, the only thing we 
ask is please do not do something up there that is going to make this 
job even more difficult. I said, well, like what? And they said, well, 
for instance, every time you guys start talking about amnesty for all 
of the people who are here illegally, they said. Do you know what that 
does here? I mean, the numbers swell. We are trying to hold back a 
flood; and if you give amnesty again like we did in 1986, telling 
everybody who came here illegally, oh, that is all right, all is 
forgiven, of course the flood turns into a tidal wave. Why would we 
think anything else? Why would we imagine that that would not be the 
case? That is exactly what would happen. Yet, we still talk about it 
  The night before we adjourned in the last session, we almost passed 
an amendment to that visa bill I mentioned earlier, the Feinstein-Kyle 
bill, that would have been an extension of 245(i), which is legalese 
for amnesty. We almost did it. Thanks to an outcry by literally 
thousands of people across this country who e-mailed their Congressman 
or Congresswoman and told them that they really and truly were not 
excited about that possibility, thanks to doing that, it was pulled; 
and we did not, in fact, pass an extension of 245(i).
  But, Mr. Speaker, I will tell my colleagues what that is. It is 
another game. I assure my colleagues that it is going to come up again. 
I assure my colleagues that there are people here in this body, 
certainly even in the administration, who are trying to figure out a 
way, along with the President of Mexico and the Government of Mexico, 
they are trying to figure out a way to bring back 245(i) extension.
  This is wrongheaded for a wide variety of reasons, of course, not the 
least of which is the fact that we could not possibly in a million 
years, the agency we presently have that we call the INS, could not 
begin to handle the flood of applications that they would get almost 
immediately from people that they will not be able to tell; now, the 
applications will come in and it will say, yes, I have been here a long 
time and here are some receipts from my rent and whatever, but of 
course they could be fake; and we will never know exactly who these 
people are, because we will not have time to do any background checks.
  Just like the last time around, we let so many people in and then the 
last administration, the Clinton administration, pushed to get as many 
as they could made citizens as quickly as they could; and we ended up 
making thousands, if memory serves me right, it was something like 
60,000 people became citizens of the United States under that process 
who were felons, because we did not know about it. We could not find 
out. We did not have time.
  So that is one problem, saying, for instance, that within the next 4 
months, everybody who is here illegally, come in, get some paperwork in 
and we will verify it, quote, ``verify it,'' and if we do, you will be 
given amnesty and on the road to becoming a citizen.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe that citizenship in this country is more 
important and it means more than simply stepping over a line that 
separates two countries. There is much more to it than that. We should 
be much more concerned about who we let in, how many we let in, and 
what they are coming here for. Like every other country on the planet 
who understands that it is their sovereign right to actually determine 
who comes into the country and when, how many, and what for. We have 
abandoned that for a variety of reasons, some political, some 
idealistic in terms of what people think the world should look like, a 
place without borders.

  But I can assure my colleagues that the consequences of a borderless 
society are significant and dramatic. Some of them can be characterized 
by the kind of events we experienced on September 11. But that is, 
nonetheless, the elimination of the borders, that is exactly where many 
people want to go; people here in this body, some people in the 
administration, certainly people in the administrations of other 
countries for their own reasons and for their own purposes.
  Mr. Speaker, there are many, there are legitimate reasons, there are 
legitimate debates that can be held about whether or not borders should 
be eliminated; and I have many times suggested that that be the basis 
of any debate on the issue of immigration; that everyone, everyone 
should ask themselves, everyone here, everyone in the United States 
should ask themselves this question, and try to answer it as honestly 
as they possibly can: Do you believe that borders are necessary in the 
Nation? Is there a reason for it? Now, some may say, oh, well, that is 
silly, of course. No, no, listen. Believe me, there are people who 
would suggest that borders are not necessary, that they are 
anachronisms, that they prohibit the free flow of trade, of money, and 
of people, and therefore should simply be eliminated, as is happening. 
Frankly, the European Union is based on this model that will 
essentially eliminate borders and all the things that separate 
countries, establish a common currency, a new governmental system, a 
European Parliament, and who knows how far that will go; but that is 
the new world order. And again, it is a legitimate debate topic, but I 
just want to have the debate.
  I want us in this body to actually enter into a debate on that one 
very basic idea: Do we need borders or not? If Members come down on the 
side of wanting borders, needing borders, believing that they are 
necessary, then, of course, we must decide what that means. If we have 
a border between a country, what do we do about that? Do we actually 
defend it? Do we actually try to stop people from coming across without 
permission? Do we provide resources to make sure that the border is 
meaningful or not? Because if we do not, then of course we should 
simply side with the group that says eliminate them. After all, we are 
spending $6.8 billion in just the INS, let alone all the other agencies 
that have some responsibility for border enforcement. Let us stop this 
wasteful expenditure. Let us go ahead and say we do not need borders, 
we do not want them, we just want people to come and go as they please 
and not spend the money on borders.
  Now, I happen to be totally opposed to that concept, but there are 
people in this body who believe in it. The people at the Cato 
Institute, a very influential think tank here in this town, who believe 
in it.
  There are, as I said before, there are members of the administration, 
there are people we have spoken in other countries, specifically 
Mexico, who absolutely believe in it. One member of the Mexican 
Government, a gentleman by the name of Juan Hernandez, he is appointed 
to the newest agency, just been created, and it is a cabinet level 
agency in Mexico, and his title translates into something like Minister 
in Charge of Mexicans Living Outside of Mexico.

                              {time}  2130

  Interesting job. Interesting job title.
  Mr. Hernandez happens to be, by the way, an American citizen and also 
a Mexican citizen. He lives part of the time in Texas and part of the 
time in Mexico City. He was a teacher at a college in Mexico and a 
very, very interesting gentleman. Very pleasant individual to speak to, 
very intelligent. He has a great command of the language. He is a good 
representative of his particular point of view.
  In our discussions when we were in Mexico, several Members and I were 
meeting with him, and he kept using the word ``migration'' to describe 
this process of people coming across the border. By the way, that is 
typical. Many, many people today have chosen to use the word 
``migration'' to explain the phenomena of people coming across the 
border into the United States at their will. And so I always stop 
people when they are doing that, and I stopped this gentleman at the 
time and I said, you are like many people who talk about this, but you 
are really incorrectly using the word ``migration.'' It is not 
migration. Migration is when

[[Page H279]]

people move through a country, but when they reach the border of that 
country and cross it, it is called immigration, and when they do so 
without the permission of the host country to which they are coming, it 
is called illegal immigration.
  Mr. Hernandez turned to me and the other two Members that were with 
me and said, Congressman, we are really not talking about two countries 
here. It is just a region. It is just a region. That was a very, very 
interesting statement, and a very candid one on his part. And that is 
what I appreciate about Mr. Hernandez. He was up front with us the 
whole time. He essentially agreed with the proposition that the United 
States public policy is. He understands it is made as a result of 
voting blocs. He wants public policy in the United States to change 
vis-a-vis Mexico. How do you do that?
  Well, you have millions of people here in the United States who have 
cultural and linguistic ties to Mexico and who will vote for a policy 
shift in the United States. I mean, he was absolutely clear about it. 
This is not just some sort of, I do not know, hypothetical that he was 
talking about. It is not a conspiracy with deep, dark secrets. He was 
explaining exactly. It is a very logical political strategy if you 
think about it.
  There was a time especially in Mexico that people leaving Mexico were 
thought of in derogatory and spoken of derogatorily as people who were 
abandoning their homes, but that has changed. But now they are 
encouraged, in fact, to do so, but remain connected somehow 
linguistically, politically to Mexico.
  These are interesting facets of the problem we face, and they are 
part of what should be the debate that goes on in this body and 
throughout the country over whether or not we should eliminate borders. 
But if we are going to maintain borders, or at least the facade of a 
border, then it behooves us, I think, Mr. Speaker, to try and do 
everything we can to provide integrity to the process.
  The first thing we need to do is abolish the INS or that portion of 
it that deals with enforcement. The first thing we need to do is create 
a brand new, a brand new agency. We can call it a lot of things. I 
would suggest that it would be something that would be attached to 
Governor Ridge's Office of Homeland Security. But whatever we do, we 
need a brand new structure, one that has a clear line of authority, 
that has a singleness of purpose, that is given the resources 
  We should take away the responsibility from Customs and from the 
Agricultural Department and all the other agencies that now get in each 
other's way essentially at the border trying to do their job which 
sometimes conflicts with the other agencies' jobs and makes it easier 
for people to come across the border here.
  Here is another one of those amazing but true things I was telling 
you about earlier, Mr. Speaker, another interesting point. Because we 
have so many different agencies handling our border security, they are 
assigned each one of stations that people are coming through in their 
cars. One may be run by Customs. One may be run by Agriculture. One may 
be run by INS, but each of them have different responsibilities, and 
different ways of dealing with the issue, and different questions they 
ask and different things they are looking for.
  So people actually will sit on the hills observing this situation 
down on the border, people coming through; and they will watch through 
binoculars to see which line is being managed by which agencies. And if 
you are smuggling people in, you will want to come in through this 
line. And if you are smuggling drugs through, you will want to come 
through that line because they have a different sort of emphasis. 
Amazing, but true.
  We have to stop that. We have to combine the agencies, take the 
responsibilities away and create a brand new one. That is not easy to 
do here. As you know, Mr. Speaker, this body and the government is not 
set up to allow tough issues to advance very far. Everybody gets very 
jealous, very, very guarded about their little kingdom, their little 
piece of the action here. So when recently Governor Ridge and his staff 
developed a white paper on border security, and it said that we needed 
to do exactly what I have just described, it said we must take all of 
these responsibilities away from the other agencies, we must create one 
new agency with a singleness of purpose, a clear line of authority and 
all the rest of it, it set off a firestorm of protest. I think that is 
the way the article characterized it, a firestorm of protests within 
the administration, within all the agencies that would be affected.

  So we called over there. My office called the Office of Homeland 
Security; and we said, we were reading an article in the New York Times 
about this white paper. They said, we do not know what you are talking 
about. They are taking on the INS logo. I do not know. I am not sure. 
And we do not know. We said we are reading, we have a white paper that 
talks about how we should create the new border control agency. They 
said, no, no, it is all theoretical. Nothing is on paper. Of course, 
that is not true.
  As a matter of fact, maybe I am breaking the news here to the Office 
of Homeland Security, but the paper is out. The media has it. The one 
you say does not exist exists. So you might as well 'fess up to it and 
let us get on with it. Let us try to do it regardless of whether or not 
the INS gets mad, regardless of whether or not the Department of 
Agriculture gets mad, regardless of whether or not Treasury gets upset 
because some sort of their little bailiwick will be affected. Who 
cares? Who cares?
  The job of this body is not to protect any particular agency. The job 
of this body is to protect the United States of America. And it is 
impossible to do in this way on the particular system we have created 
and it is being maintained.
  So now we are seeing one or two bills that will come to the floor, 
and we will try to tinker with it and pretend the rest of it is not a 
problem. And if we separate the agency into the two parts, enforcement 
and social services, everything will be okay. But it will not, Mr. 
Speaker. It will not be okay at all.
  The problems will remain, and what we will have done here so many 
times is create an illusion, created an illusion. We have fixed the 
problem with INS, we will say. It will not be fixed. People will still 
stream across the border illegally. Thousands upon thousands of people 
will be here. Right now there are at least 300,000 people who are here 
in this country who have been ordered deported. They have actually 
somehow gotten arrested.
  Now, be sure and understand, Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about 
people who overstayed their visa and we somehow found out about it. I 
mean, the INS was out there doing their job and said, you know what? I 
think so-and-so may have overstayed their visa. Let us go find them. 
No. No. That is not what happened, of course.
  What happened was so-and-so violated a law, broke a law, broke some 
other law. They violated one law because they overstayed their visa, 
but then many times they also robbed somebody, they raped somebody, 
they murdered somebody, whatever, but they have been found. They have 
been brought to trial.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to once again consider the 
importance of this issue of immigration reform and treat it with the 
respect that it deserves and do not just create another illusion.


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