[Congressional Record: May 7, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Grucci). Under the Speaker's announced
policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo)
is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, tonight I want to talk about an issue of
great concern to me. I hope it is of great concern to my colleagues. I
know it is of great concern to a majority of Americans out there. I
know that because I receive thousands and thousands of communications
from people all over this country about immigration, about their
concerns with regard to immigration. And I have certainly taken this
floor many nights to discuss my observations, to express my concern, my
own personal concerns about massive immigration into the United States
and the effects thereof.
Recently I had the great opportunity to travel to Arizona,
specifically to a site known as the Coronado National Forest. The
Coronado National Forest is a beautiful and wild region of southern
Arizona that has been a national forest since the early 1900s. It is
undergoing a dramatic transformation. It is being transformed from a
national forest of great pristine beauty into a forest that resembles
more of a trash heap, frankly, than a forest. The environmental
degradation of that forest is great, with the thousands and thousands
and thousands, hundreds of thousands, actually, of people who come
through there every year, and I am not talking about campers and hikers
and bikers and picnickers, I am talking about illegal aliens. Because,
as it turns out, Mr. Speaker, that particular part of the Nation has
become the thoroughfare for the movement of illegal drugs and illegal
immigrants into the United States. Like every other phenomenon of this
kind, this has happened because we have put pressure on various parts
of the border and it has essentially moved more and more people into
this corridor. They see it as a very valuable piece of real estate from
their point of view because it is rugged, it is difficult to be
detected, and so it now has become the point through which a majority
of the people coming into this country and a great amount of the
illegal narcotics coming into this country will flow. As a result of
this traffic, as a result of the sheer volume, we find that the forest,
the Coronado National Forest, is under siege. Perhaps 60,000, maybe by
now as we speak 70,000 acres have been burned this year so far. Fires
start in this forest because UDAs, as they are referred to, as the
folks coming through there illegally are referred to by the Forest
Service and Border Patrol, that stands for undocumented alien, UDAs
have started these fires. They start campfires in the evenings to stay
warm and then they simply move on and let the fires burn and much of
the forest has been destroyed as a result of it. On their way through
the forest both now, as we are talking about both people coming through
just seeking jobs and people coming through carrying drugs on their
shoulders, this traffic has begun to wear into the land so that if you
fly over it, which I did the weekend before last, I spent one day,
Saturday, on horseback there and Sunday in a helicopter going over the
forest. As you fly over the forest in a helicopter, you look down, what
you are looking at is simply a spider's web of trails. These are not
Forest Service trails. These are trails that are worn into the land by
the thousands and thousands of people entering the country illegally.
The trash that is left behind by these folks makes the place look
essentially like a landfill more than it does a national forest;
thousands and thousands of plastic bottles, trash from the backpacks
that are homemade. These are the backpacks that are used to carry the
This is a picture of someone, and it is hard to perhaps identify him
clearly here, but this is a picture of an individual carrying all of
this, and that is closer to 75 pounds of narcotics. This one here looks
like it is marijuana. But they will create these homemade backpacks.
This gentleman is coming through on his own. Oftentimes they come
through in larger numbers, 20 and 30 at a time, preceded by someone
with an M16 guarding them and being followed by someone with an M16. A
lot of times these folks will run into campers and hikers and bikers
and people just there to enjoy the national forest. They are confronted
by illegals coming through. It is a dangerous situation, to say the
But I want to just focus for a little while longer on the
environmental aspect of this thing because that is what I went down
there to see, Mr. Speaker. I went down to the Coronado National Forest
because I had been told that the problems that the Forest Service was
facing with UDAs, or undocumented aliens, in this particular area were
so great that the forest was actually in jeopardy. So I thought to
myself, what an interesting situation. I have been on this floor many,
many evenings and certainly I have been in committee meetings and I
have been on radio programs and television programs to talk about the
problems with massive immigration into the United States. They are
many. There are political consequences to massive immigration. There
are economic consequences to massive immigration. There are social
ramifications, cultural and national security issues that arise as a
result of having essentially open borders. All of these things warrant
our concern in this body. All of these things warrant the concern of
the Nation. But another dimension of this whole problem is, of course,
this environmental tragedy that is occurring not just in the Coronado
National Forest, I should tell you, but in many areas on the southern
border. It is an environmental problem, along with all of the other
ones I mentioned.
On our side of the border down there, we have operated a range
management program that has successfully brought back many thousands of
acres of native grasses, has kept the land from being overgrazed. Maybe
I should have put all of that, by the way, in past tense. Because over
the last several years, livestock fences are routinely cut or knocked
over by undocumented alien individuals trafficking through there.
Consequently, livestock from the Mexican side comes into the United
States side and begins grazing on the rangeland. This results in the
overgrazing of carefully managed public lands. It results in erosion, a
shortage of forage for U.S. ranchers who hold valid permits to the
These people also utilize and damage livestock water tanks. They
break into Forest Service corrals and private buildings. You can see
where the livestock have come across and where the land has been
essentially denuded, looking very similar to land on the other side of
the fence in Mexico, where, of course, there is no range management
program. That is the ravages on the land just stemming from
Then, of course, there is the fire issue I brought up. So far this
year, over 53 fires have broken out in the Coronado. People on the
ground tell us that UDAs and the smugglers starting unauthorized
warming fires in the forest likely cause 70 to 90 percent of all the
fires. Fires have consumed over 5,000 acres in the tinderbox Coronado,
not including the 35,000-acre fire that started the day that we left
there, the Ryan fire. It is burning near the communities of Sonita and
Huachuca City. We do not know, but now it could be closer to 50 or
60,000 acres. We are not sure.
Not only do we have the problem with these fires being ignited by
careless activity as a result of these people coming through the forest
but their presence in such large numbers in this forest actually
prevents our people from being able to fight the fires effectively.
During one fire that was referred to as the Oversight fire earlier this
year, which consumed over 2,000 acres, the Forest Service was forced to
suspend evening firefighting efforts after a, quote, pack train of 70
to 100 emboldened and potentially armed smugglers walked through a
firefighters' camp in the vicinity of the fire. Air tanker fire
retardant drops also had to be delayed and coordinated to account for
the presence of illegal aliens in this area. So we could not fight the
fires they started. We could not do it effectively for fear of harming
somebody on the ground because there are so many people in this area.
These are not the folks from the United States and other countries who
have come there legally, who have paid their fees to come into the
forest and who have, in fact, tried to enjoy that forest. These are
undocumented aliens in the area. Millions and millions of dollars have
been expended to try to fight these fires. As I say, they have to fight
them with one hand tied behind them, essentially, because of the
presence of so many people.
When these fires start and when they are finally put out, we still
have horrendous problems that develop. Erosion, caused by the fact that
we have lost the ability for trees and shrubs to actually hold the
ground in the area where they have been burned, erosion becomes a
It is a problem that is not easily remedied or rectified. Along those
same lines, the thousands of people, as I mentioned, create these foot
paths, these trails, and everywhere we go, we see them. The Forest
Service people tell us those are not Forest Service trails, those are
UDA trails. And because the undocumented aliens coming
in are fearful of having sensors placed in certain areas detecting
their presence, they will use a path for a certain amount of time and
then they move over to the side and start another one. So now, they
have worn literally thousands of trails into the mountainside of the
It is an ugly sight from the air. When one is on the ground, that
ugly sight is compounded by the litter. Hundreds of thousands of one-
gallon plastic jugs mark the trail that these people take. We can see
here that this gentleman is carrying, as I say, several packages of
narcotics through the forest, and it is not easy to distinguish on this
picture, but they have created their own homemade sort of backpacking
materials, which are really just kind of nylon ropes and some sort of
nylon material that wraps around it.
Well, when they get to the place where they are going to stop and
unload this and subsequently load it into trucks, trucks that come in,
by the way, on roads that are not Forest Service roads, but that are
carved into the mountain as a result of so much traffic, to come and
pick up the drugs that again, they are everywhere. One can see them
everywhere. When they get to one of those roads where they can unload
this into trucks, they just take all of this stuff off and dump it
So periodically, we will see these large, large stacks of trash,
trash; just their drug accoutrement trash, I guess I will call it.
This forest and our Nation are under siege. This forest is a
microcosm, in a way, of what is happening in America because, of
course, there are environmental consequences to massive immigration.
Hundreds of thousands and now up to 11 million people we think
presently are in the country illegally, plus the massive numbers of
people that we allow into the country legally, create enormous problems
for us from an environmental standpoint. If one doubts this, go to East
L.A. and take a look at what has happened to that part of the city.
Take a look at what has happened to many cities where the
infrastructure cannot keep up with the number of people coming in, and
sprawl is the result, and people move out and move to other areas of
the country, like my State.
I happen to represent a district now that includes a county called
Douglas County. Douglas County is the fastest growing county in the
Nation for the second year in a row. Now, Douglas County is being
impacted by immigration and impacted by people who are coming here
directly, coming to this county and others in Colorado, directly from
other countries, but also people who are coming from cities like Los
Angeles and cities in Texas and cities in Arizona that have been
impacted by immigration.
So it is a process by which massive immigration comes in at certain
points, it causes people to leave the area because of a variety of
reasons dealing specifically with quality of life issues, and they go
somewhere, and they are coming to Colorado. Our task is to try to keep
up with it, to build the infrastructure necessary to provide services
and schools, hospitals, roads and all the rest. It is a very expensive
undertaking and it is environmentally challenging, to say the least. I
have lived in Colorado all of my life, and I must admit to my
colleagues that asphalt and concrete are not nearly as appealing as
trees and grass, but asphalt and concrete are what are expanding in
Colorado, not trees and grass. And that is happening all over the
Nation, of course. And the reason is, as I say, immigration, massive
immigration in numbers that we have never before witnessed in this
Presently we bring in about a million people a year legally; add to
that about another quarter of a million that we identify as refugees,
and about another million or so that we net gain every year from
illegal immigration. That 2 to 2.5 million people a year number is
about 10 times the number of immigrants that came into this Nation at
the height of immigration into the United States, the heyday of
immigration in the past century and the previous century to that.
Around the early 1900s, 1902 or so, we received about a quarter of a
million people a year.
Now, admittedly, the population of the Nation was smaller and so the
percentage of immigrants was higher. But I still say that it is
becoming more and more difficult to deal with the issue of immigration.
It is more difficult now because this is a different country, for one
thing. It is a country that will encourage people to come here and not
disassociate from the country of their birth; it encourages them to
keep their own language. We tell them that their children will be
taught in their native language in the schools. We do not force them
into English language proficiency which, of course, creates a number of
problems educationally. We are creating an impoverished class as a
result of refusing to teach children in a language, in this case
English, that is the language of commerce, industry, and business and
is the language that one must speak somewhat fluently in order to be
successful in this country. We are stealing that away from them.
And why? All because we worship at the alter of multiculturalism and
we believe and we teach children that whatever culture that was
prevalent in the land from which they came is a culture that is better
than the one to which they have arrived, the one they are living in
today. We teach them that any culture is better than the United States,
that any country is better, that any society is better, that all we are
as a Nation are people with a heritage that is not worthy of great
merit or praise.
Not only that, we provide welfare. When our grandparents came here,
great-grandparents, however long ago the bulk of America's ancestors
came to the United States, there was no such thing as welfare. People
had to work, or they starved. So they got jobs, and menial jobs at
first. But then, in order to move up the ladder, they had to learn
English in order to improve themselves, to get better jobs. And the
combination of the lack of welfare and the lack of this bizarre
multiculturalist philosophy, we had people who integrated into American
society. Most of them wanted to. Most of them came here for that
purpose. They came with a desire to disconnect from their culture,
their history, their heritage, to a large extent.
Still, certainly everyone is proud of their heritage and can hang on
to certain aspects of it but, for the most part, people came to be
Americans. That meant learning English, that meant melting into and
becoming part of an American mosaic.
That is changing today, so that we have a different kind of America
to which people are coming and a different group of people who are
coming. Many coming today do not wish to be part of that mosaic. They
wish to remain separate. They want to celebrate not only the
achievements of their own societies, of their own culture and history
of the past, but they want to supplant that here in the United States.
We have about 6 million people in the United States today that claim
dual citizenship. This is new. This is different. We never, ever had
anything like that in the past. When people came here, for the most
part they wanted to become Americans. That meant giving up their
Mr. Speaker, when one takes an oath to become an American citizen,
one says they disavow all the rest, they disavow any allegiance to any
foreign government, potentate, and there is a whole large thing one
goes through to describe their task. Well, people take that oath, but
they do not live up to it, because they will retain their citizenship
and retain voting rights in other countries, and they are encouraged to
by other countries.
We are creating a nation that Samuel Huntington in his book ``A Clash
of Civilizations'' warns us will be our own destruction. He calls it a
``cleft society,'' one cut into. Two sets of principles, two sets of
ideas, two cultures, two languages, at the minimum.
Of course, there are places where many more languages and cultures
and everything are maintained in the country. This is the Balkanization
of America. It is different today than it was in the past. Certainly
from our Nation's beginning, there has been a debate over how many
immigrants should come in, from what country, for what purpose. And
many of these debates, unfortunately, were based upon the basis of
emotions, fear, racism, xenophobia.
So therefore, today to talk about immigration in a way that is a
negative or to make any sort of critical remarks about it, all of those
old stereotypes are brought out by the opponents of
people who want education reform. And therefore, it is fearful to stand
up and talk about this issue in a public forum. But it must be talked
about, and it certainly should be talked about here in this body.
Mr. Speaker, this supposedly is the marketplace of ideas, this place,
where we should never shrink from bringing to the attention of the
Nation and our colleagues issues of great importance to our own future
and, certainly massive immigration is something that is incredibly
significant when we are talking about the future of the Nation, and it
should be discussed. We should determine as a Nation, as a Nation we
should determine how much immigration we want, for what purpose, for
how long, all of these things a sovereign nation does.
There are people, Mr. Speaker, who wish to abandon the concept of a
sovereign nation. There are many people who believe that borders are no
longer relevant, that they are anachronistic, as a matter of fact; that
they are impediments to the free flow of goods and services, and that
we should abandon them for all intents and purposes, and that in the
United States, we should adopt a model similar to the model prevalent
in Europe today referred to as the European Union: Common currency, the
essential elimination of borders, and the amalgamation of a lot of
people into one sort of quasi-governmental entity.
Well, okay. That is a point of view. It is a point of view I do not
share, I do not believe in, but it is a point of view, and it should be
debated openly. But my concern is, Mr. Speaker, that we will reach that
point in a relatively short period of time and we will turn back and
say, how did this occur? How did it happen that we lost essentially our
own sovereignty as a Nation? And we will be surprised by the fact that
America is a different place than it was a short time ago.
Now, as I say, if we make that decision in this body, if we make that
decision in a democratic fashion, a bill is introduced to abandon the
borders, it passes, the President signs it, okay, fine. But if we make
this decision in a de facto way, that is what is disconcerting. Because
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that a majority of Americans today do not want
that, yet that is where we are going. That is actually the direction
that this government is taking, our administration, and even this
Congress. Some are doing it purposely. Some want that end result that I
have just described.
Some are doing it for other reasons. Massive immigration into the
United States is beneficial to us, to certain people, to certain
groups, and is a very politically sensitive topic. Let us be candid
The reality is that massive immigration into the United States is
supported by one party, in this case, the Democrats, because they know
that massive immigration will accrue to their benefit politically. For
the most part, immigrants going into the United States will, as they
become citizens, and sometimes, unfortunately, even before they become
citizens, cast votes. When they cast votes, they will do so for the
Democratic party. That has been historically the case.
On our side of the aisle, on the Republican side of the aisle, we are
hesitant to try to stop immigration, or reduce it, I should say, to
manageable levels because we hear from our constituents in the business
community who say, we need cheap labor. There are many jobs that we
have available that Americans will not take. I hear that all the time.
The H-1B is an interesting example of that. This is a category of
visa, the H-1B visa, that we now give out to people to come into the
United States who have certain talents in the area of high-tech,
especially. We are told that there are not enough Americans to fill the
jobs in the high-tech community.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not know what is happening in others' States,
but I will tell the Members that in mine there are plenty of workers
available, because thousands and thousands have been laid off in that
particular industry. Yet, we still bring in 195,000 H-1B visa
recipients every year to take the jobs of Americans who have been laid
off. But this is an example of the kind of pressure that our side of
the aisle is under, to not do anything about immigration.
Then also on our side there are people with a libertarian perspective
and libertarian philosophy. That is what I described earlier: Borders
are anachronisms. They really are unnecessary. We should eliminate
them. People should move from country to country at their whim, get
jobs as they are available, and we should not be actually trying to
determine who are coming across these borders.
Now, I mean, that sounds bizarre to some people, but I guarantee that
this is a strong sentiment among many of my colleagues. It is certainly
a sentiment among some of the think tanks in this Nation, the Cato
Institute being the foremost of them, espousing this libertarian
philosophy. Certainly the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal
pushes the same kind of philosophy.
So it is not something that I am telling the Members here that is
coming about in some sort of sub rosa fashion. These are people who
believe in this, who push this concept. Now, they were set back a
little after September 11. They could not talk about open borders after
that as willingly as they had in the past because people would say,
what are you, out of your mind? Open borders? Are you crazy? The people
who came in here to do such damage to this country, the people who came
in here and hijacked these planes and drove them into buildings, they
all came in here on visas. Or some of them, of course, had overstayed
their visa, and some were here illegally, but they were all immigrants.
They were all noncitizens of the United States. Are you suggesting in
your right mind that we should simply ignore people who come across
So because the sentiment of the American people was so quickly
riveted here against open borders, we do not hear much about it. But I
guarantee that the sentiment is not gone and the desire to move in that
direction has not dissipated. It is simply going dormant for a while.
It is going through their quiet period, if you will. They do not want
to talk about it, but I assure Members, that is what they want to
So we move in that direction in a variety of ways. We refuse to do
anything to significantly change the nature of the immigration service.
We have passed a bill out of here that everybody touted a few a few
weeks ago, or excuse me, last week. We passed a bill out of here that
was touted as the reform of the INS, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. Do I not wish, do I not wish it was the reform of the INS.
But it is so like us in this building, in this body, to create an
illusion because we know there is great public sentiment out there for
reform, so we pass something that we call INS reform. But is it reform?
Not at all. Is it better than what we have today? Yes.
I often liken it to giving the Titanic an extra lifeboat. Before it
left, if we knew what we know now and somebody said, do you think we
should put another lifeboat on, we would say, well, yes, sure. That is
better. But it is not the solution. But the person goes, that is all we
are going to do right now. We will call it the salvation of the
Titanic. Of course it is not. Of course it is not.
I assure the Members that simply dividing the INS into two parts and
keeping it in Justice, the Department of Justice, and keeping, for the
most part, the same people as the administrators of that agency, the
same people who are completely incompetent and incapable today of
administering that agency will be the people who will be unable to
administer the new agency that we are creating in the Department of
What are we doing about all of the other parts of border control that
are under other agencies, and making it a confusing mish-mash of
responsibilities: Customs, Agriculture? All these agencies have
different responsibilities for border control. We are doing nothing
about that. There will still be confusion, overlapping authority,
indirect lines of communication, inability to communicate among all the
various groups that have some sort of responsibility.
All that will be there. It will still be on the border, each one
honoring points being run by a different agency, so that the people who
want to come into the country illegally or to ship
drugs in will be able to look through binoculars, as they do today,
sitting on a hill overlooking the port of entry, and see which agency
is handling which drive lane. Then they radio down and say, if they are
smuggling drugs, they will want to go through this lane because that is
being handled by this agency and they are less concerned about that;
and if they are smuggling people, it is over here. That is what happens
today. That will not change.
We will still have an agency managed by incompetent people, having
been shown their incompetence, or unwillingness. In some cases, they
are competent individuals, but they are completely unwilling to
actually uphold the law of the land when it comes to immigration
control, Border Patrol. They do not believe in it. Even the present
head of the INS has said he does not like that part of his job. He does
not like being a policeman.
This gentleman, who should have been, of course, dismissed, if not
when we recognized the failures of the INS after 9/11 then certainly
when we, 6 months subsequent to 9/11, sent a couple of the hijackers
their visas, although they were dead.
But he is still there. In fact, Mr. Speaker, not one single person in
this great debacle we call the INS, and all of the things that we know
that have happened that have been documented over and over again, the
failures of the system, not one person has been dismissed, not one.
What makes us think for a moment that just changing the nameplate on
the door will change the way people act?
But we have people on the ground who are trying, who are working as
hard as they can, people in the Forest Service, people in the Border
Patrol who face this day in and day out, this particularly in the
Coronado National Forest, but, of course, it is like this in many, many
places on our borders.
This is a couple of pictures I took of a fence, a barbed wire fence.
This has a cattle guard that goes through it here, and this has a
regular gate over here. There is nothing else here, nothing else for
miles and miles except a rather well-used road.
This road is not on any map, and neither is this one, because this
road is a road that is used by illegals, primarily by illegals to come
into the country; yes, to come across the border. That fence is the
border between the United States and Mexico. That cattle guard is the
port of entry, if you will.
Up here, there is a sign on our side of the border. I have to get it
a little closer to me to see this and read it. It says here: ``All
persons and vehicles must enter the United States at a designated port
of entry only.'' By the way, this is facing the United States side.
``All persons and vehicles must enter the United States at a designated
port of entry only. This is not,'' underlined, ``this is not a
designated port of entry. Any violation is,'' blah blah, and then here
it is printed in Spanish.
We had the same sign over here on this side of the border, the same
signs telling American citizens or anybody else that this is not a port
of entry, but certain people on the Mexican side would come across
every night, steal the signs and tear them down.
They put them up on our side. We welded them up on two metal posts.
They came one night with a torch and took them down, cut them down, all
because this happens to be an area that is heavily trafficked also by
hikers and people visiting, tourists. Sometimes they will wander across
into Mexico. When they do, they are grabbed by the Mexican police,
taken to jail, and essentially extorted of all of their money. What I
mean by that is they are held because they are told, well, you are here
in Mexico illegally and it is going to cost you so much to get out. It
is blackmail. That is all there is to it. They take down the signs on
our side so as to hopefully track people coming across from our side to
But this is the border. Now, I am told that the administration has
come out with something they call a ``smart border'' program. ``Smart
borders,'' I do not know exactly what that means, of course, but I have
an idea that there is going to be a lot more technology and that sort
of thing. I am all for it.
It will be interesting to see how long these gates remain, because,
by the way, they were made into gates because they simply trampled down
the fence so many times that they gave up putting it back up. They just
left it and said, I cannot stop it anymore.
This is an example, perhaps, of smart border. It is an example of
what the people on the border have to put up with constantly.
There are a total of four U.S. Forest Service personnel to guard 60
miles of border along that Coronado forest. They do so with the help of
I am not sure how many Border Patrol people, but they do a great job. I
want to tell the Members right now that I want to wish every one of
them the very best. I understand what they are up against.
I want to mention John McGee, who is the forest supervisor for the
Coronado forest; Rocky Stone, who works for the Arizona High-Intensity
Drug Trafficking Area; Dan Bauer, the National Forest Service Drug
Enforcement Program coordinator. These are some of the folks I went
down there with. There is Richard Padilla and Greg Zelo of the Forest
Service, special agents.
All these people were immensely helpful in getting us a good, clear
picture of what is going on on this border.
Let me tell you one of the most peculiar and interesting aspects of
the trip I took down there. It was not just to see, I mean, I was
surprised by and certainly distressed by the amount of environmental
degradation that is occurring in this forest as a result of the
thousands of people coming through there illegally.
But there is another aspect of this thing that was fascinating.
During a briefing that we had the first day by Mr. Stone with the High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area folks, they explained to us a project
they are working on and a process called ``cobija,'' which is Spanish
for blanket and it just means essentially that they are trying to get
the various agencies, Customs and Border Patrol and Forest Service all
of the agencies that have responsibility for border protection to sort
of bring together all of the information that they have, they have
accumulated over the course of the last couple of months since they
last met and so they can plot out where best to deploy their resources.
Because, of course, during certain periods of time you recognize that
you are having more traffic of a certain nature through certain parts
of the border, more heavy drug trafficking coming through here, more
heavily in the area of people coming through smuggling over here,
smuggling of guns. In this case from north to south is a huge problem.
So they try and figure out where they can deploy their resources the
best, and they try to do that by getting all the information from all
the agencies together. This is one of the slides that we saw during
this briefing. And I had to stop them because I said, What do you mean
here? It says here UDAs by border patrol sectors, and this one here is
a major drug trafficking organization. But over here this one is
talking about the number of people that were actually arrested or that
they got in the last year or so, 400,000. It was not the last year. I
am sorry. That was during the last period of time that they met.
403,000 through that Tucson area, which is where we met. It is a huge
We got to talking about this, and they showed me another slide that
said incursions of the Mexican Government into the United States
territory in the year 2001. And I was taken aback by that and I said,
What do you mean incursions into the United States? They said, That is
just it. We have 23 times in the year 2001. We confirmed incursions of
the Mexican military or members of the federal police in Mexico who
came into the United States. And we confronted them at some point. We
met them. That is how we knew they were here. And sometimes it became a
very tense situation with guns drawn on both sides. And in most cases
the members of the military withdrew; the members of police withdrew
but in some cases shots were fired, and it became a very difficult
thing to deal with.
I just was surprised by that because I had never heard of that. I
mean, I guess I ask you, Mr. Speaker, have you ever heard of, did you
know that just last year foreign troops, in this case Mexican
government troops and/or members of the foreign police establishments,
came into the United States without our permission? You have to ask
yourself, of course, why.
We have found out, by the way. I should say we found out this was not
unique to 2001, that over the course of the last 7 years or so we have
had over 100 documented incursions. And you have to say, well, why? And
I asked that question. What do you mean? Why were they coming? And they
could only speculate. And I said, Well, could it be that they were
lost? And they found that quite humorous, the folks I was talking to,
and laughed and said, Everybody down here knows where the border is.
No, the people who came down here knew they were on our side.
What were they doing on our side? And the speculation was it was in
conjunction with some drug trafficking activities, that perhaps members
of the military or the police down there were protecting a cartel
moving some product through the area, or perhaps they were creating a
diversion so that this drew our border people away while it did move
through another area. We are not sure yet. We are not sure. But I wrote
a letter to the Mexican President Vicente Fox, and I asked him to
explain to me what he knew about it, and, more importantly, what he was
doing to stop it. Although I did not receive a letter from him, I
received a letter from the Mexican ambassador to the United States that
told me essentially that he did not like the tone of my letter and that
these issues were handled satisfactorily, that in each case some
explanation was made and everybody is happy about it.
Well, I know that not to be true. I know when I talked to the State
Department they were concerned about this. They told me of a time
around Nogales, Arizona, just a short time ago, told me of an incident
that occurred just a short time ago, where a group of maybe 100
illegals were coming into the United States. They were hiding in a
culvert in and around Nogales. They were all carrying large amounts of
drugs in, smuggling drugs into the United States; but we got them. We
arrested them, and about half of them were members of the Mexican
Now, I do not know if these guys were on leave or something; but I do
know that the problem of corruption in the Mexican military and the
police is endemic. We all know that. There is not a soul in here that
does not understand that corruption in Mexico is debilitating for the
government. And I do believe that Vicente Fox is going to try to do
something about that, to try and produce a better situation down there.
But I want to know what they are going to do, and I want to know now. I
want to now how they are planning to stop these incursions, because,
Mr. Speaker, this is a very dangerous situation.
Not only do I believe that these incursions are a result of drug
trafficking into the United States, and that these people are
participants in that in some way or other, but I also believe that it
is a very dangerous situation. At some point in time someone will be
killed here in the confrontation because these people are heavily
armed, and they are coming up against our folks who are armed. And one
of these days something very ugly is going to occur.
I want to know what the Mexican Government is doing to stop this; and
do not tell me they were lost. Do not tell me these people came
wandering across the border heavily armed, retreated only when they
came across some part of the American Forest Service or Border Patrol,
and do not tell me they were lost. That is not true. They were here for
a reason. I want to know what it is, and I want an answer; and I will
not stop discussing this until I get one.
I know it is embarrassing to the Government of Mexico. It may be
embarrassing to our own government that does not want these issues to
be dealt with openly. Even the State Department told me, look, we are
trying to deal with this at the highest levels. We are trying to
negotiate. Well, it has not worked. It has been 7 years as it turns
out. I was surprised when I heard about it. Twenty-three incidents in
2001. It turns out it was not unique. This was not an aberration, the
year 2001. It has been happening a lot. It is starting to increase.
Talk to the people down there at the border. They will tell you the
problems they face. They will tell you these people are not lost. They
will tell you that they are armed. They are dangerous. They are worried
about what is going to happen when they confront hikers and bikers and
campers in the national forest. This is a dangerous situation.
What are we going to do about it? There is a wall that is built.
There is a wall that separates the countries that goes through Nogales
for 3 or 4 miles. It is about 15 feet high or so. I suggest that that
wall should be continued at least along that forest border. And, yes,
it will simply move people around it. I know that is true, but at least
we can start to protect that forest in that area. Because if you are an
environmentalist, Mr. Speaker, if anyone in this body has the slightest
concern about the environment, they should go to the Coronado National
Forest. They should begin doing all the things they do so effectively
in any other part of the United States when they believe that the
environment is being jeopardized: chain themselves to trees and start
protests and demand action on the part of the government, and start a
letter-writing campaign and boycott certain industries, or I do not
know. Do whatever you want to do as environmental activists, but do it
for the sake of this forest.
Why is it, Mr. Speaker, I ask you, why is it that we have not heard a
word out of the Sierra Club or Friends of the Environment or any of the
myriad of organizations that call themselves environmentally sensitive?
Why have we not heard a word about the Coronado Forest? I will tell you
why. It is because they do not want to say anything that would be
thought to be derogative of immigration. Well, you cannot have it both
ways. In this case, immigration, massive immigration through this
forest, massive illegal immigration through this forest is causing the
problem. We have to do something about it. If it is a wall, it is a
wall. If it is more border patrol, that is what we need. If it is an
agreement with Mexico to actually clean up their act, then that is what
But I do not know that we will get it, Mr. Speaker. I do not hold any
illusions here about the degree to which we will press this issue for
fear that we will lose votes among Hispanics here in the United States,
for fear that Mexico will take affront at this. But I will tell you,
Mr. Speaker, when we become concerned enough about our national
security to recognize that it is not just drug traffickers, not just
people looking for jobs in Tucson who are coming across this border or
who could come across this cattle guard, but it is the next Mohammed
Today they are crossing through these gates and over this fence
carrying literally tons among the accumulated mass of narcotics coming
across, literally tons of narcotics being carried on shoulders into the
United States. What is to say that tomorrow or yesterday somebody did
not come across this border with 50 pounds of something much more
dangerous on his shoulders?
Smart border? I do not think so. This is a national security problem.
It is an environmental problem. It is a cultural problem. It is an
economic problem. It is a political problem. It is all of those things.
To ignore it is an act of incredible idiocy. These things have
implications for us, for who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow
as a Nation.
If Mexico is our friend and ally, as I often hear them referred to, I
would ask again, What are you going to do about this? How are you going
to help us stop this? How are you going to help us stop people coming
into the United States? Why do you not stop pressuring us to give
amnesty to those people who are here illegally? Why is it so important
to you in Mexico, I would say, Mr. Speaker, why is it so important to
you to have us give amnesty to people who are here illegally,
especially from Mexico? What does that matter? How come that is a major
foreign policy issue?
Now, these questions are questions for every American citizen. They
have to ask themselves if, by the year 2100, they want a Nation of a
little over a billion people, because that is exactly where we are
headed now if we keep the population growth at the present level. And
90 percent of that population growth by the year of 2100 when we hit a
billion will be as a result of immigration. Is that okay? Is that where
we want to go? Some do. It turns into political hay for them, political
benefit. Others do. It turns into cheap labor and the bottom line, the
immediate bottom line.
But I ask all of my colleagues to think beyond the immediate. Think
about the Nation. Think about the implications of massive uncontrolled
immigration into this country. Think about September 11. How many of
those days do you want to relive?
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