[Congressional Record: April 16, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
WELFARE REFORM AND OTHER ISSUES IMPORTANT TO AMERICANS
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Boozman). 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, before I give my comments tonight, I want
to take note of one individual in particular here in the room with us
tonight and those that are also here every single night, every single
day on the floor, and they are the pages that have worked so hard to
make the operation of this House successful as it is. In particular,
one Katie Roehrick, who I spoke to just a little earlier, I want to
especially point out and thank her for her work and staying late in the
evenings as she does and to her mom, Brenda, for producing such a
Mr. Speaker, there are a number of issues with which I wish to deal
tonight. Before I begin the major body of my presentation, I want to
refer to the comments that were made by members of the minority party
here earlier this evening, and for at least an hour, perhaps longer,
they went on about the concerns they have with the fact that we have,
that this body has passed and this Congress has passed, a package of
bills that we refer to as a stimulus package and essentially, they are
measures designed to reduce taxes on the people of the United States of
I think, and they were concerned about this, and they certainly do
not want, as they said, they do not want these measures to become
permanent. They want all of the temporary tax cuts to remain only
temporary. In fact, they are concerned about the fact that we passed
them at all. They would just as soon that we never had passed tax cuts.
I would like the people listening, and also, most importantly, Mr.
Speaker, I want to address this comment to the House, and reflect upon
exactly what it was that we had to do in order to get Democratic
support for our package, the package that we refer to as a stimulus
package. I think it is very elucidative. It tells us a great deal about
the difference between the two parties, and about the way in which we
do our business here in this House. It tells us a great deal about how
we view government and its relationship to the people.
Now, it is undeniably true that as a result of a number of things,
traditional economic downturns, the war we are facing, a variety of
other issues have impacted negatively on the economy of this Nation.
That is undeniably true. No one argues with that.
As a result, revenues have dropped, jobs have disappeared, and
Federal, State and local governments are having a more difficult time
meeting their commitments because revenues have decreased. That is
undeniably true. That is the only thing upon which we agree.
Everybody here can agree there is a problem. The President has
articulated the problem, and has postulated a response and a solution.
This is what separates the two parties, this philosophy of government
embodied in this whole idea of a stimulus package, ``stimulus,''
meaning to get the country moving again.
What can we do, what is there that the Members of this body can do,
to reinvigorate the American economy?
Now, when we presented this in the form of a motion here on the
floor, in the form of regulations and/or laws, here is what we came up
On the Republican side, we said that the best thing that we can do as
a body is to in fact reduce the tax burden on the people of the country
and on the businesses that employ the people of this country, because
we believe in order to get the economy in fact stimulated, as the title
of the package implies, we need to increase the number of jobs that are
available to the people of the country. We have to make sure that the
government does what it can do to make it easier for corporations, for
small businesses, to employ other people, to sell their products and
services, and thereby prosper. We believe that is the way to get the
economy moving again.
What did our friends on the other side offer to this stimulus
package? What did we in fact have to include in order to get it passed?
The one proposal, the one and only proposal that came from the minority
party to stimulate our economy, was to increase the length of time
people could be on unemployment compensation.
Now, we can argue for the need for the Federal Government to increase
the length of time people can be eligible for unemployment, but that is
a separate debate. It should be a separate debate, totally and
completely different from the debate over what it is we can do to get
the economy moving again. Yet, this is the only thing they put forward,
an increase in the amount of time people could be eligible for
Now, I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that that is a perfect example. I cannot
think of a better way to explain to the American people the difference
that exists between two parties, two philosophies, two ideas of
One, because we want tax breaks, we are characterized as
heartbreakers, cruel, or only wanting to help the ``rich.'' But as has
been said often on this floor, and certainly something with which I
agree, Mr. Speaker, I have never personally been given a job by a poor
person. Jobs only come from people who can afford to give jobs,
companies that can afford to employ people. And their ability to do so,
their ability to employ people, is directly related to the costs they
incur to be in business.
One of those costs, in fact, I think a very expensive cost, is the
cost of the government. I think it is too high. I think we interfere
far too much with the marketplace and with people's ability to actually
There are legitimate roles for the government, undeniably, legitimate
roles in this area. But when we are talking about trying to get this
economy moving again, and then to hear our friends on the other side of
the aisle come up here tonight and talk for over an hour about their
fear that a tax break, that a tax cut would in some way or other
jeopardize the success of our stimulus package, that is absolutely
Actually, it is not incredible, it is to be expected, but it is also
to be rejected. It is a failed philosophy. We cannot tax ourselves out
of a recession. What we can do is, of course, unleash the power,
the spirit, and the enterprise of the American people, and that is what
we have done. That is what this President has requested. That is how
this Congress has responded.
We should not only disavow any attempt on the part of the minority
party to retain the degree to which all of these things were temporary,
but we should in fact move quickly to make all of these tax reductions
permanent, and we should do so with haste and with great pride, because
it is in fact what will get this country moving again.
Now, it is interesting to note that although we heard a number of
protestations from the other party tonight about the cost of
government, about the expenditures of the Federal Government, something
I am sure they are not used to actually doing, when we consider that
for 40 years this body was controlled by the Democratic Party and for
40 years we were in deficit spending, and the idea of a balanced budget
was almost laughable. In fact, I know that many people did consider it
a joke: How could we ever do that? Impossible. It is only right and
just and God willed somehow that we would always be in deficit
spending, as long as they were in charge.
So the idea of actually coming to the floor and talking about fiscal
prudence, fiscal responsibility, I am happy to hear it. I hope somehow
or other those words begin to actually take root within the Members of
the other side. I hope they actually begin to listen to what they say
about being able to actually prioritize the needs of this Nation in a
way that allows us as a nation to live within our means, as we all must
do, or face the consequences.
I say that that is ironic in a way because, on another note, we will
be and have been for some time and we will continue to debate the issue
of immigration into the United States of America. We will talk about
the need for immigration, and we will talk about its impact, and the
fact that diversity plays such a wonderful role in the American
We will soon be debating whether or not we should in fact be
increasing the amount of money, and in particular, the amount of food
stamps, that will be made available to people who are here who are not
citizens of the country: an expansion of the food stamp welfare
program. That may be up on this floor as early as tomorrow. It is the
motion that I made earlier upon the beginning of my comments here that
I intend to instruct the conferees, at least I intend to bring a motion
before this body that would instruct the House conferees that are
presently in conference with the Senate over the farm bill to not agree
to any expansion of welfare benefits for people who are not citizens of
the United States.
Now, we passed just a few years ago, 6 short years ago, we passed a
bill in this body that is widely, widely accepted as being a monumental
improvement in the area of welfare. The Welfare Reform Act that we
passed in this body did a number of amazing things. It was a sea
change, if you will. It was one of the few times that a government
reverses its policy and begins to go in a different direction. That
hardly ever happens around here, as we know, but it happened in 1996,
and to the benefit of literally millions and millions of Americans,
millions of Americans who were no longer besieged, in a way, by the
plight of welfare.
I say it in that way, I couch it in those terms, because that is
exactly what welfare is in reality, it is a plight. It is something
that we understood in 1996 to affect intrinsically, I say,
intrinsically, the character of the Nation, and to negatively affect
the people it was designed to benefit.
Welfare was always, since the beginning of the country, designed or
thought of as being a very thing. For the most part, of course, we know
at the beginning of the Nation it was never thought of as being a
government responsibility at all; it was the responsibility of churches
and of local communities. But we have expanded that concept
dramatically, as we all know. We did so, I think, for the most part for
very altruistic reasons. We did so because we believed that the people
who were more well off needed to help and benefit those who were in
need. That is something that I think we can all agree to.
But the whole idea of welfare was that it was a temporary thing,
meant to get them over a particular bump in the road, a problem they
were having in their lives that, with a little bit of help from the
government, they could overcome and move on to self-sufficiency.
But we all know, Mr. Speaker, what happened over the course of time:
it was no longer thought of, for the most part, as just a temporary
thing; it was thought of as a lifestyle. It became a lifestyle for far
too many, literally millions of Americans, far too many Americans. And
it did not benefit them, in the long run.
In a way, there is a great metaphor. We could think about penguins
who were at one time able to fly. I always think about this, and
realize that over eons of time, these particular birds did not use that
ability and they eventually lost it.
What we did to a lot of people was to take away their ability to fly;
in this case, I mean to actually make their own way in life. We took
away their self-esteem.
There have been many books, many research papers, written on the
effects, the negative effects, of welfare on our society. We came to
that conclusion as a majority of this body, and with the President.
After he vetoed it two times, the past president, President Clinton, he
eventually came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do,
and it was. That was to stop doing what we were doing and begin to move
in a direction that would once again reflect that original attitude
about welfare; that is, that it was a temporary intercession on the
part of the Federal Government or the State or local government, and
that the worst thing we could do was to make it a continuing process.
So we started a new era, and almost without exception, every State
began to see a reduction in the number of people on the welfare rolls.
Now we are something like 50 percent below where we were. Some States,
I am told, are 80 percent or 90 percent below where they were in 1996.
Now, a lot of people say, well, naturally, it is because, of course,
we had a time of economic prosperity. But I would refer to the many,
many studies that have been done on this issue that have shown that
heretofore, prior to 1996, it did not matter how many economic boom and
bust cycles we went through in the country, it did not matter that the
graph showed this fluctuating line in times of great prosperity, in
times of economic downturns. It did not matter that, over the course of
time, the number of people on welfare went up, and the economic boom
cycle had nothing to do with bringing it down. It never came down. It
went up in good times, it went up in bad times, prior to 1996.
It was not the economic good times of the nineties. After all, we
only passed this in 1996. It began to take effect maybe 1997-1998, and
we had already been in a period of at least 10 or more years of
economic upturn. Why had we not seen an increase in the number of
people employed during that period and getting off of welfare during
the time prior to 1996, say, from about 1985 to 1996?
We did not see it because, of course, the welfare system only
encouraged people to stay on welfare. We encouraged generation after
generation after generation of people to be on welfare. It is all they
knew. It is all they trusted. It is all that they could actually hope
for or think about.
We actually forced a change in the character, the national character
of a nation, an amazing thing.
So what are we now proposing in the farm bill? We are proposing to
add people to the welfare rolls, 200,000, perhaps more, depending upon
which version of this thing is passed by this body, if it is passed. I
suggest if history is any guide to this, it will be far more than
200,000; but what we are saying is that all of the things we did right
in 1996 we are going to undo, little by little here; and we are going
to start with people who are immigrants to the country, legal, that is
true, but nonetheless ineligible for welfare at the present time,
ineligible for food stamps at the present time.
Mr. Speaker, there is a peculiar thing that we do, one of the many I
guess that we do with regard to this issue of immigration, and that is,
that when someone comes here as an immigrant they have to actually find
a sponsor who is willing to say and swear to the fact that when this
person comes in as the person they sponsor, that they, in fact, will be
held financially responsible so that that person coming in will
never be a drain on the resources of the Nation. We say that all the
time. I mean, that is every single person comes in, they actually sign
Amazingly, Mr. Speaker, we do not enforce it. In fact, there is not a
mechanism to enforce it. We would not know what court to go to. There
is no regulation that allows us to actually have a pathway to do this.
So it is never enforced. Not one person, not one person here today as
an immigrant, and some are eligible under our laws because of economic
status, but none should be eligible because of the fact that we have
someone who said they would be responsible, financially responsible.
Yet not one person has ever been held responsible for an immigrant
family coming here that then goes on welfare, not one. It is a big
joke, as much of the immigration issue is a nasty, ugly and really not-
so-funny joke. No one has ever been held responsible, no one; but that
is the law. They are supposed to.
I ask my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, should it be the business of this
body to actually reverse some of the activity, some of the benefits of
the 1996 Welfare Reform Act and now begin an expansion of the number of
people who are on welfare, in this particular case, on food stamps, who
are made eligible for food stamps? I believe it is wrong-headed.
I know that there are political motivations for this. I understand
that in this body is what really makes things work. That is the
mother's milk of this organization, that is, what are the politics of
the issue, and in this case, it is pretty clear. There is a rapidly-
expanding immigration population in the United States; and the hope
that we can garner their support, the political support of these people
who will soon become citizens and eligible to vote and even those who
vote, even though they are not citizens, and they do en masse, believe
me, fraudulently vote, but we are all concerned about the impact of
this massive immigration on our own political futures. This goes from
the White House down through the House and Senate.
Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating, because in the Zogby poll I saw not
too long ago there was one portion of it where they actually went to
Hispanic Americans, and in this case Hispanic immigrants to the country
who are not yet citizens, and said there is a proposal to, among other
things, provide amnesty for people coming into this country, and would
you be more or less inclined to vote for someone who supported amnesty
for someone here illegally? Amazingly, a majority of the people,
Hispanic Americans, said no, I would not be in favor of that. I would
actually vote against someone who proposed that.
I believe with all my heart, Mr. Speaker, that we can appeal to every
American, whether they be Hispanic or black or Italian, as I am, or
Hungarian or Polish or whatever, we can appeal to them all to vote for
our party based on our principles.
I am a Republican. The principles of my party rest on less
government, less welfare, more individual freedom, a greater degree of
trust and understanding of the importance of individual responsibility.
That is what I believe we can appeal to people on.
People on the other side have their own principles and ideas, all
just as deeply felt, all principled. I do not suggest for a moment that
the folks on the other side of the aisle do not feel these things as
strongly as I feel our principles.
Let us go forward based on who we are and what we are and ask for the
support of the people who are here in the country; and I think, as
Republicans, I think we will win. Certainly we will win our share. We
will not win every single person, but I believe we can win our share by
saying to them that we trust you, we want you to be part of this
American mosaic, and we want to give you the freedom to both succeed
and the freedom to fail.
That is the essence of freedom. Every country on the Earth that has
tried the other experiment we call socialism, that experiment that
tells people you really cannot fail, you really cannot, do not worry,
we will always make sure you have a job even if your job produces
nothing of value, the government will subsidize it, we will always make
sure you have a home, a little apartment maybe someplace, because this
is a guarantee against your ever failing.
Well, when you say to people you cannot fail, you also say to them,
well, you cannot succeed; and the greatness of America is the fact that
here we do say to everyone or at least it is the promise of America
that you have this great opportunity. The great opportunity is to
succeed even beyond your wildest imagination, and yes, you may fail,
but that is an important part in the process, and to fail does not mean
it is all over. It means you start again on a new path.
That is what I consider to be the American way. That is what I
consider to be the promise we should hold out to everyone coming into
the United States and to people who have been here for all of their
lives, that we give them both the freedom to succeed and the freedom to
There is an immediate allure I know to going up to people and saying
we will protect you from failure, we will make sure you cannot; and we
will hide any of the negative from you, but to fail as a system cannot
work like this, and they have failed all over the world. It is only our
system that now shines a light as a beacon really to the poor and
impoverished of the world as to how we can improve the lives of
The poorest American for the most part lives even a better life than
most of the people in the Third World. The poorest American has a
better life today than most people in the world. I say in the world
because, in fact, the Third World populations dwarf those of the rest
of the world and so, in reality, the poorest American still lives
better than most people in the world.
That is an amazing thing. It is an incredible thing, and of course if
you are here and the only thing against which you judge it is what your
neighbor has you feel impoverished, and I do not mean for a moment that
we should not do everything we can to make sure that everyone in the
United States does not move as quickly as they possibly can toward
economic self-sufficiency, but welfare is not the way to do it.
It is more often than not a political ploy. It is a political carrot
we dangle in front of people for their votes, but it is in a way as
destructive to them as a drug that we put in front of them. Welfare is
a drug that once injected becomes addictive. We recognize that. This is
what I am saying now. What is amazing to me is that we came to this
conclusion as a body, as a country just 6 years ago. Yet here we are
talking about expanding the number of people eligible for, in this
case, food stamp benefits; and again I say it is simply for political
The issue of immigration is one with which we must deal; and it will
be interesting to see tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, if we do bring this motion
to the floor to instruct conferees. It will be interesting to see how
all the people who stood on the floor tonight to talk about fiscal
discipline, the importance of not spending more than we take in, it
will be interesting to see how they vote on this $2 billion proposal,
an expansion of welfare.
My guess is that most of them will vote to expand it. Regardless of
the fiscal implication of this country, it really does not matter. I
would bet, Mr. Speaker, that most of the people on this floor would
vote for it even if it expanded welfare by $20 billion, by $50 billion,
because the issue is not fiscal responsibility at that point. It is
politics. It is votes. How many votes can we buy with welfare; and as I
have told people on my side of the aisle so often, Mr. Speaker, we will
never be able to outbid the folks on the other side of the aisle for
votes when it comes to handicap welfare because everything we offer
they will up the ante.
After all, it is not their money. It is just the people's money. Why
not buy votes with the people's money? It is not yours, and that is in
fact what we are doing here when we expand welfare. It is, in fact,
what we are doing when we expand the number of people that can come
into the United States. It is exactly what we do when we try to stop
organizations of our government from actually enforcing the immigration
laws, because we want for the most part, many people here want more
people coming into the country. Why? Because they want diversity?
Because they have some sort of altruistic feeling? No. No, sir. I do
not believe that that is the case.
I think for the most part, this is my feeling, Mr. Speaker, I believe
that what we are talking about here is the most crass politics. I see
it as verbose. I see the people coming in as potential voters that I
know want to retain power and even if you have to buy them off to do
so, through government programs and services, some people will do that.
There is a great danger to this country from massive immigration,
both legal and illegal. It is on many fronts. One is, in fact, the
economic implications of massive immigration. For many, many years,
immigration was thought of as one of the things that drove the economic
engine of this country, and we still talk about it in that way. We
still talk about the need for labor, especially low-cost labor. People
on my side of the aisle especially talk about the need for low-cost
labor and the importance of, in fact, keeping the engine running with
those folks, and therefore, the need for massive immigration.
For a long time, Mr. Speaker, I think that that was a legitimate
argument. When the country was going through the industrial revolution,
it was in desperate need of low-cost labor. That was necessary for the
accumulation of capital and for the eventual development of our system.
And there were horrendous examples of the excesses of the time, sweat
shops and the like. Nonetheless, a case could be made for the need for
massive numbers of low-cost, low-skilled workers. I suggest, Mr.
Speaker, like everything, the economics of this changed dramatically
and that the impact today of massive numbers of low-skilled, low-wage
workers is actually negative on the country.
I know that there are people who will disagree with me, recognizing
as I hear all of the time from certain industries that they could not
run their business, a lot of ski areas in Colorado, talk about the fact
that they cannot find enough people, they have to rely on immigrants;
and they know that most of them are illegal.
Here is an interesting concept put forth by a Vanderbilt professor,
and I will characterize it in this way. Massive immigration of low-
skilled workers privatizes profits and socializes costs. That means
that there are undeniably a number of people who do profit as a result
of having a lot of low-skilled people working for them. They do in fact
have greater profits in that regard because you can pay lower wages.
But on the other side, there are costs to society. There are costs for
schools, costs for streets, hospitals, costs for social services,
including welfare. What we have found is that the cost of immigration,
especially for low-skilled, low-wage people are higher than the profits
they return, higher than the benefits that they provide in terms of
taxes, higher than what they actually turn in in terms of their own tax
Low-wage, low-skilled workers naturally pay less in taxes, naturally.
Many of them, of course, are paid in cash because they are illegal.
They are here illegally. So there is an advantage to the employer who
can skirt the law by paying the employee in cash, thereby avoiding all
kinds of employment taxes, and to the employee who takes it in cash who
therefore does not have to pay taxes on it, does not have to account
for it or fill out any forms. So a huge amount of money, a huge part of
this economy, is a cash economy from which the government receives
absolutely no revenues.
For those people who then in fact do pay taxes, they are people who
pay a low level because naturally they are low-skilled, low-wage
earners. Most pay none. Even if they are filing, they do not really pay
taxes with the exception of sales and use taxes, but they pay no income
taxes for the most part. But the costs of society are significant.
The cost of adding each new person to a community is about $1,500 and
that is the first year, taking into account all of the things that have
to be put in place for that additional person, streets, houses, all of
the infrastructure. It is not economically viable; it is no longer
something that pushes the engine of the economy. It is a drain on the
economy. It is a governor, if you will, on the engine, on the speed of
It does in fact benefit certain people, undeniably true. The hotel
owners in the resort areas in my State are benefited by having low-
skilled, low-wage people come into the United States seeking jobs that
perhaps no one else would take. That is what we always hear. But what
we do not hear is the rest of that line, jobs no one else would take
for the price I am paying this person. Well, it is true that perhaps
they will have a harder time getting other folks to take those jobs,
but it is not true this is an overall economic benefit to the Nation.
The numbers are staggering. In a recent article, and I should
preference this by saying at the height of the immigration wave into
the United States in the early part of the 20th century, we saw about
200,000 people a year coming in. That was only for 2 or 3 years,
and after that it went down. That was tops. That was at the heyday of
immigration into the country. Today, about a million come in legally.
We do not know how many come in illegally.
Mr. Speaker, here is an interesting article that appeared recently in
World Net Daily. It says in Cochise County, Arizona, the U.S.-Mexican
border is the most heavily used corridor for illegal alien traffic on
America's southern border, and the numbers of unauthorized immigrants
smuggled across the porous border dumbfounds the imagination. As of
October 19, 2001, the U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended 158,782
illegals. That was in 2001. By the Border Patrol's own admission, it
catches one in five and admits that around 800,000 have slipped across
the border up to that point in time. Local ranchers who have been
watching the border for several generations strongly disagree and
estimate that the agency nets one in 10. Estimates are that in 2001,
over 1.5 million unlawful immigrants crossed into America in what the
Border Patrol people called the Tucson sector. The numbers are
staggering. It is growing dramatically.
Mr. Speaker, please understand, we are not just talking about people
from Mexico or South America; we are talking about people from all over
the world coming through Mexico.
This article goes on to identify the many people coming through that
border illegally from the Middle East. A Border Patrol spokesman stated
that the other than Mexican detentions has grown by 42 percent. Most of
the non-Mexican immigrants are from El Salvador, but they have picked
up people from all over the world. Arabs have been reported crossing
the Arizona border for an unknown period, and border rancher George
Morgan encountered thousands of illegals crossing his ranch on a well-
used trail. He talks about an incident where he saw literally hundreds
on his property one day. They were all Iranians, 100 Iranians, coming
across the border. This article goes on to detail that particular
phenomenon. That is to say that just because we have a porous border in
the south and we talk about the danger that that poses to America from
an economic standpoint, please understand that there is another danger
that it poses to America, and that is a very vital part of this
discussion, and that is the danger to our national security that is as
a result of our porous borders, that is as a result of the fact that we
do not care.
Mr. Speaker, we do not care who comes across. We are afraid of
actually putting into any sort of order our border control efforts. We
are afraid of it. Why are we afraid? How can this be, Mr. Speaker? That
after 3,000 Americans were killed by aliens, people who came here from
other countries for the purpose of doing harm, some of them here
illegally as a result of overstaying their visas, how can we say that
we turn a blind eye and that we do not care about the fact that these
borders are porous? How can we continue to encourage people to come
across those borders illegally? How is it that we can be so cavalier
about what I consider to be one of the most important aspects of our
national sovereignty, the establishment of, the protection of, the
defense of our borders.
Is it really passe? Is it really outdated for me to stand on the
floor of this body and this House and plead for the protection of our
borders, the defense of our borders? Is that really that odd? How is it
that we can look at this
whole phenomenon and not reel by the impact made when we understand the
fact that every day, literally thousands of people are crossing our
borders without our knowledge, certainly without our permission. For
the most part, I am sure that their intentions are benign. But whether
their intentions are simply to take a low-cost job that no one else
will take or their intentions are to do something more evil, the fact
is that the impact is negative on the country, negative from an
economic standpoint and negative from a national security standpoint.
This body has failed to produce a single piece of legislation, both
the House and the Senate together, failed to produce a single piece of
legislation which will significantly increase the security of the
people of the United States as regards the borders. We have done a
great deal to improve our ability to respond to the threats of
terrorists in Afghanistan, in Iraq maybe soon, in the Philippines, in
the Republic of Georgia, the many other nations where we have
identified tentacles of the terrorist threat Al Qaeda. We have done a
marvelous job. It is to the credit of this President, this body, the
Congress of the United States and more importantly to the people, the
men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, that we have been able to
accomplish what we have been able to accomplish since 9/11. But it is
not enough, Mr. Speaker.
We have one primary responsibility here in this body, one thing that
is more important than making sure that we fund health and human
services activities, education activities, transportation and all of
the other budget bills that we deal with. Something more important than
that is the protection of the life and property of the people of this
country. We shirk that responsibility if we do not pay attention to our
borders, if we do not get some sort of hold on our own immigration
policy and become a real nation. Because a real nation has borders. It
defends them. It determines who comes across them to the best of its
ability. It expels people who come across illegally. We laugh at that.
We wink at it. It is a joke.
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, we will not be laughing the next time
we have an incident. God forbid that another event occur in this Nation
that we can attribute to the evil intent of people who come here from
other nations and who sneak across or come across legally and stay
beyond what they should or who lie to us for telling us why they are
coming in. All those people coming in illegally, we have a
responsibility to do everything we can to protect the American citizens
by defending our borders. Do not shirk this responsibility, I beg my
colleagues. It is our primary responsibility. God and the American
people will judge us for our actions.
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