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[Congressional Record: April 16, 2002 (House)]
[Page H1328-H1332]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr16ap02-116]                         



 
         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 
lovely daughter.
  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 
America.

                              {time}  2230

  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 
with.
  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 
unemployment.
  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 
government.
  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 
do business.
  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 
incredible.
  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

[[Page H1329]]

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 
landscape.
  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.

                              {time}  2245

  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

[[Page H1330]]

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 
it.
  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 
fail.
  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 
everyone.
  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 
reasons.
  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.

[[Page H1331]]

  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.

                              {time}  2300

  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 
revenues.
  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 
the engine.
  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.

                              {time}  2310

  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

[[Page H1332]]

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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