[Congressional Record: May 14, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). Under the Speaker's announced
policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo)
is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, before I get into the main topic of this
evening's discussion, that being immigration and immigration reform
issues, I am compelled to respond to some of the comments made by our
colleagues on the other side with regard to the budget dilemma that we
all face here this evening. It is the dilemma faced every year, I
suppose, and has for many many decades; and that is that we will always
be spending more money in this body than we take in, or at least that
was the case for all of the time, for the at least 40 years prior to
the time that the Republicans took control of this body.
The Democrats, of course, ran an imbalanced budget for many, many,
many years. And I am in complete sympathy with those Members of the
Democratic Party who say that that is an improper way to run
government; that, in fact,
we should be looking more to how businesses and industries run their
business and States run theirs by having balanced budgets every single
year. And I certainly completely and wholeheartedly agree. But I must
say that as I listen to, on one hand, what I believe is an articulate
plea for a balanced budget and, on the other hand, an articulate excuse
for a vote for the farm bill which we just passed, it is hard to
reconcile those two concepts.
This farm bill being, of course, one of the, percentage-wise, the
greatest increase in any domestic policy program in, I think, history.
I am not sure, but certainly in a long, long time. Widely criticized
for being what it is, an incredible pork-laden boondoggle, and then to
say in the next breath we have to do something about government
spending, we have to control government spending.
And, if I may be so bold, I had to ask a staff person, because I am
not really familiar with all of the variations of shades of different
colors, and I asked one of the staff here a few minutes ago, What is
the palest blue there is? And the young lady told me it was cornflower.
Cornflower is the name of the color. Cornflower blue.
So I would suggest that the Blue Dog Democrats think about changing
their names to the Cornflower Blue Democrats because they are not
really Blue Dog Democrats. They are not really stuck to this issue of
balanced budgets. What they are saying, I think, is that, and there are
exceptions to this rule, that we are going to establish today, and,
yes, I will yield to the gentleman who I assume is coming up to ask for
that particular motion.
Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the good humor in which the
gentleman is approaching the cornflower blue. But let me point out that
the farm bill, the $73.5 billion, the gentleman, I believe I am
correct, voted for that budget that provided the $73.5 billion that the
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) and I, the speaker tonight, and
others then proceeded to mark-up the bill. It was not called those
critical comments when it passed as a budget, but it is only after we
have put together the policy in which the criticism comes.
I would appreciate the gentleman acknowledging that as I was talking
about balancing the budget, that I included farm spending in any
reductions in spending that must accompany any kind of a new budget.
That is what we are saying, and I do not think that is inconsistent at
Mr. TANCREDO. Reclaiming my time, and I appreciate the gentleman's
observations, it is, of course, true that I have voted for a budget
resolution that I wish we could hold to and this is a way in which we
can all, I think, contribute to that possibility; and that is a vote
against any appropriations bill that does not conform to that budget
resolution. Any budget, any appropriations bill that puts us outside of
that scope which I intend, that is the way in which I intend to vote
and have in the past voted.
I mean, we have to be, as I say, consistent with this because it is
difficult for people who listen to this debate to understand that on
the one hand we call for fiscal constraint, which I appreciate the
gentleman has in the past and certainly even today has been a strong
supporter of that issue, but we cannot accept that mantle of a fiscal
conservative while at the same time doing things that bust the budget.
But because of our issues, our individual concerns, the gentleman was
very articulate in explaining the problems of the farm community in
America, and no doubt his observations are accurate. But do you not
see, every single person who is connected to any one of the various 13
appropriations bills we have here can come up, and do regularly, talk
about the particular issue. It is the problem with education in America
that we must, in fact, involve the Federal Government to the extent now
that was never conceived of in the past.
We should both, I think, use the Constitution as a measure to help us
determine what is an appropriate role for the Federal Government. And
the gentleman, I must ask and I will yield for his response, what is
the constitutional role of the Federal Government? Where in the
Constitution does it set out a purpose for us to be the primary support
for the farm, for the agricultural community? As I would say the same
thing, by the way, in the area of education and Health and Human
Services, I believe it is not there. I look at the Constitution. I do
not find it. I find only a relatively narrow role for us, especially in
the area of defense. Other than that, we could use that. That is the
way we could defend our vote against these pork-laden, constituent-
driven pieces of legislation that put us every single year in the
position of saying, My stuff is okay. My stuff is appropriate.
Everybody else's is out of the question and is a budget-busting bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Let me say, in the Constitution there is a little part of it that
says ``promote the general welfare.'' And I appreciate the gentleman's
pointing out that it is difficult to find supporting our farmers in the
I do not stand on the floor and say that we are special or we are
different than anyone else. Well, I guess I do. That was not a correct
statement. I do believe that American agriculture and producers have
done a pretty good job of feeding America and a good part of the rest
of the world and do believe as we argued strenuously for the amount of
money that was passed. So I guess, yes, I do, I do believe that.
But I also believe very strongly that anyone else that has an opinion
should have the opportunity to stand and make the same arguments. If I
can get 217 of my colleagues to agree with me, it passes, and that is
our system. If I might just continue. I want to get back, I agree with
the gentleman, on the 13 appropriations bills, and that is why if the
gentleman heard what we were talking about a moment ago, we think we
ought to put a meaningful, reasonable cap on discretionary spending as
part of the budget process. I think the gentleman and I will find,
maybe not an agreement on the amount, but at least that we would find
an agreement on the policy and procedure that we should follow to have
a little bit of restraint.
I appreciate the gentleman's generosity. I appreciate the gentleman
admitting that he voted for the budget that provided for the $73.5
billion. So I take a little bit of offense when the gentleman stands on
the floor as he did starting tonight by decrying this $73.5 billion
when he was the one joining, not with me because I did not support this
budget, but he said $73.5 billion was not an obscene amount of money
for the budget we operate under.
Now times have changed; and, therefore, we are saying now let us take
another look at the budget. If we need to trim, let us trim; but let us
trim across the board.
Mr. TANCREDO. Reclaiming my time, I thank the gentleman for his
observations. Of course, times have changed and exactly that. First of
all, we are talking about a $73 billion maybe $140 billion farm bill.
There is a big difference there. It could go to $140 billion. That was
not in the budget resolution. And so to say that I have voted for the
latter as opposed to the former is inaccurate, and I would also suggest
that the gentleman is absolutely correct. If one can get the required
number of votes in the House, one can pass anything. And I guarantee
you, we have done it year after year, time after time. And it is the
way, I understand entirely, it is the way the process is run. But I
suggest that it should be perhaps incumbent upon all of us as we
approach all of these bills coming up, the supplemental, I do not know,
I think this week sometime, and a variety of other spending bills, I
will watch for the Democrat and the Cornflower Blue Democrats to see
how they vote because I will be voting ``no'' on all of them because I
believe we should stick inside the budget. I thank the gentleman for
his cordial relationship and his willingness to discuss this issue with
I also remember thinking while I was listening to the discussion
earlier here there was a comedian during the 70's and 80's. And his tag
line was, ``The devil made me do it. The devil made me do it.'' And he
used to end his little skit with that all of the time. And of course,
what he was saying was I did not want to do all of these bad things,
but the devil made me do it, so it is okay.
I listen to all of this discussion about how bad it is to have these
expenditures and budget-busting bills all over the place for which my
colleagues on the other side voted for most of the time as far as I can
remember. And then to say, The devil made me do it. I do not know how
we got here but this is bad, and somebody has got to impose some fiscal
discipline on me. Somebody has got to make me behave. Somebody has got
to make me say, you know what, I do not think we should vote for all
this stuff. If everybody imposes a balanced budget amendment, then I
will be able to take my medicine.
I am all for a balanced budget amendment, Mr. Speaker, absolutely. I
will vote for it anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It is okay with me. But I
think it is just the funniest thing in a way to listen to people who,
as I say, from the other side of the aisle especially, and talk about
budget constraint and fiscal responsibility, the devil must have been
making him do it here for 40 years before we ever came in control in
this body and now they want to seek forgiveness. Well, the Lord says
that that is possible. So who am I to suggest that they are not truly
On to another issue, the issue of immigration and, specifically,
immigration reform. In the past several weeks we have passed
legislation in this body, and, as a matter of fact, yesterday the
President signed a piece of legislation into law that will have the
effect of tightening down on what heretofore can be described only as
the most liberal immigration policy in the world of any country in the
world. It is almost a misnomer to indicate there is an immigration
policy in the United States because that implies, of course, that we
have control over the process; that we establish how many people are
going to come into the country every year like every other nation in
the world does. We control it. We know who is coming in. We know how
many. We know what they will be doing here. We know when they leave. I
say that is the implication of saying you have an immigration policy.
The reality, of course, is we do not. We have not. And even the
passage of this recent legislation euphemistically called the Border
Security Act, we will not have accomplished the goal of border
A couple of weeks ago the House passed a bill by an overwhelming
margin that was designed and is often referred to as the abolishment of
the INS and the creation of a new body. Well, of course, it really was
not all of that. As is often the case here, we have a tendency to name
things, I guess, a little euphemistically and to create these illusions
about what we do here.
Now, the reality is we passed a very tepid bill designed to reform
the INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Much more needs to be done to actually reform that organization, much
more than what we did in our bill in the House. In fact, what has to
happen is that we must take from every agency presently charged with
responsibility for border control, that being the Customs under the
Treasury, Agriculture, a variety, DEA, all kinds of agencies have
border control responsibilities, of course Border Control under the
INS. The Forest Service has some responsibilities in areas. We have
national forests that adjoin international boundaries, and what we have
to do, Mr. Speaker, is to consolidate all of those agencies, all of
these parts of agencies into one agency, with a clear mandate, with a
very clear line of authority, so that everyone who works for that
agency knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing and know that
they have the full support of this Nation in that endeavor. That agency
should be put into the Homeland Defense Agency, should be run out of
Tom Ridge's shop or whoever is the subsequent head of that
That is what we should do. That is what everyone who studies this
area understands needs to be done. Now, we did not do that. We did not
do that in the bill we passed in this House. We split the agency into
two, which is good. We said they are going to have an enforcement
responsibility and they are going to have what I call the immigration
social worker side of things, the welcome wagon. Those will be the two
separate responsibilities. They will be reporting to two different
chiefs who in turn will be reporting to a single individual in the
Department of Justice.
That really is not a lot different than what we already have. It
really is not because among other things almost all of the people who
will be running those two separate organizations within Justice are the
people who are presently running the single organization we call the
INS. Names will be the same but titles will be different, and we assume
that by changing someone's title we will change their attitude or
improve their competencies, but my colleagues and I know, Mr. Speaker,
and I think the American public understand fully well that just
changing titles will not change the way it is run.
Unfortunately, today within the INS we have people who are not,
number one, competent to do the job and it starts from the top. The
gentleman, very nice gentleman, Mr. Ziglar, whom I have nothing against
personally, seems like a very pleasant individual. Unfortunately the
water is so far above his head in trying to operate this agency that it
is almost pathetic.
Mr. Ziglar was appointed several months ago because he had been the
doorkeeper of the Senate. That was his job before he became the head of
an agency with 30,000 people and an $8 billion budget. He should not be
there. He is not able to run the agency. He is not able to run it
because the force of his personality cannot control it, and secondly,
he is not able to run it because of course it is an enormous
bureaucratic organization, moribund, plagued with inertia and internal
incompetence and protected by Civil Service.
So even if we had some of the finest people, even if we had someone
with enormous capabilities as head of the organization, their ability
to actually change the course of this big ship, they could be turning
the wheel as hard as they can and they will notice that the bow hardly
ever moves because all of the people are turning the wheel as fast as
they can, they realize there is nothing connecting the wheel to the
rudder. It is going its own way, and that is a problem, and it will not
be solved by the bill we passed in the House.
Here is the rub with that particular bill. It is going to the other
body and it will not be improved. It will not be made better. We will
see a conference report on this. It will pass and it will be something
far short of what we passed in the House, and then we will all walk
away from here and tell our constituents not to worry, we voted to
abolish the INS and we are going to construct a really great agency to
handle this problem.
Okay. That is the problem. That is a big problem, and I ask my
colleagues to just think about that for a minute over here, that the
INS today, regardless of what we pretended to do in the House,
abolishing the INS, that was the way it was presented to us, regardless
of that, regardless of the words we used, the reality is we added a
lifeboat to the Titanic. I voted for it. It is a pretty good idea. I
think it is a good idea. In fact, who would say we should not have
added lifeboats to the Titanic? That would be good. I voted to do it.
It is not going to stop the ship from sinking.
Yesterday in the Rose Garden the President signed a bill that, as I
mentioned earlier, called Enhanced Border Security, and it is adding a
couple of more lifeboats to the Titanic. It is good. Glad we are doing
it. It will give us the ability to track people eventually. 2004, 2005,
it will give us the ability supposedly, and we have done this before
actually. We have actually mandated this before, and nobody ever
carried it out, so we will see. If agencies carry out the law, it will
give us the ability to track people who come into the United States.
People who request a visa will actually have to have some sort of
identifier, a biometric identifier, which is a term for fingerprint
probably. Eventually other maybe more sophisticated approaches but
initially fingerprints. So we will know if, in fact, the person asking
for this visa is, in fact, who they say they are. That is good. Good
Also, schools will be required to participate in this and tell us
whether people who are here on student visas are still in school. We
have done this before. Everybody complained. We pulled back because the
schools said, please, we do not want all that paperwork and what if it
discourages all our foreign students from coming here. We make a
lot of money, and we said, okay, well, never mind, we are going to try
again. Try again when students were not coming to class, when they were
not educated anymore in the course work. That will be good. I am all
for it. Another lifeboat.
It will create a database that will allow various agencies of the
Federal Government, the FBI and the INS and everybody, to identify
potential terrorists or people who pop up on a terrorist list. We will
be able to go and this name will come up, and it will say, oh, that guy
came into the United States, or lady as the case may be, on such and
such a date and he is here or he has gone, and that is good. I am glad.
We will still have, by the way, Mr. Speaker, we will still have the
visa application that anyone can go to the Web site for the State
Department and look this up. I love it. This is great. I always think
it is a metaphor for the entire INS debate. It is called the temporary
visitor visa, and it says about the third or fourth question, I am
paraphrasing only slightly. It says are you a terrorist; are you
planning to come into the United States and blow things up and commit
acts of terrorism; have you committed acts of terrorism in other
countries; are you a member of the Nazi Party. It is all one series of
questions, and then the person checks over one box, yes or no.
So this potential terrorist says, yeah, I am, I am terrorist, I am a
member of al Qaeda and I am coming in to blow up a building or
distribute some sort of biological warfare agent, and at the bottom of
this visa, because of the efforts of a Member of the other body from
Massachusetts, very big Member of the body, there is an additional
little asterisk and it says, after you answer yes or no to this
question, are you a terrorist, if my colleagues go to the bottom and it
says answering yes does not mean that you will be denied access to the
So we still have that, but now that is okay because we will know if
the terrorists come in, they will sign up. Naturally, they will say of
course I am coming in, I am a terrorist, here I am and here is my
terrorist credentials, and I am coming in to do a lot of damage.
Now, for those folks who admit to being terrorists this is a good
idea that we have them register. I am all for it, but supposing, just
supposing, I mean, I know this is a great hypothetical, but just
supposing a potential terrorist decides to come into the United States
and not sign up as a terrorist, not actually apply for a visa, now my
colleagues say that cannot be because of course everybody coming into
the United States applies for a visa, comes here as a visitor, a guest
of the United States, tells us who they are, where they are going to be
and for how long.
I say these things, of course, with tongue in cheek because everybody
knows that our borders are porous and that only our most honest people
in the world for the most part say they are coming in, especially to
apply through the regular process, but of course millions and millions
of others come in a different way. They do not wait, they do not waste
time filling out visas, requests for application to the United States.
They come across the border.
These are two pictures of the border along the Arizona-Mexican border
near Nogales, Arizona. We took them a couple of weeks ago when we were
down there on a fact finding trip. This barbed wire fence, if it can be
distinguished on the television, I am not sure, here, that is
separating Mexico on the other side of this fence from the United
States. Down here, same thing, barbed wire fence, but there is only a
cattle guard separating Mexico from the United States.
This part of our border is actually more demarcated, more defined
than many parts of the border that have absolutely no distinguishment,
here and on the Canadian border. We have 1,900 miles in Mexico of the
border and 4,000 miles on the northern border.
I guess I ask my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, when I hear people on the
other side, people on our side, people in the administration, people
talking about the fact that we should not try to connect immigration to
terrorism, because most people come into the United States and they are
completely and entirely looking, they are mostly looking for a good
job, a way to send some money home, and they are not looking to do us
damage, and this is absolutely true. Undeniably true, but of course,
there are people who come into the United States for other reasons, and
when they come into the United States for other reasons, may I ask my
colleagues if they think it is logical for us to assume that they are
all going to come via a visa process, especially when we start to
tighten it up.
The 19 hijackers who committed the atrocities here in the United
States in September were all here on visas. Some of them of course
overstayed their visas. Some were here fraudulently, but they were all
on visas. If we make it tougher for those people, Mr. Speaker, which I
am all for, I am all for asking if you are a terrorist, please, let us
know on this document, sign up right here, tell us you are a terrorist,
and we can keep track of you. I am all for doing that.
But just supposing, I mean wildest stretch of your imagination,
supposing they choose not to tell you that they are a terrorist and not
to sign up that way on the visa. Why, may I ask, is it so hard to
understand that there is a connection? Why is it so hard to understand
that they would in fact come in a very easy portal, that they would
walk across the border?
Here, this one on the bottom, the cattle guard, at least that
protects us from illegal cattle coming into the United States. This one
does not even protect us from that because there is no cattle guard. It
is just a big deeply rutted road. And by the way, this road is not on
any Forest Service map. It does not exist on any map you have ever seen
because, of course, it is just illegals coming into the United States.
And this is the greatest thing of all, Mr. Speaker. You know, you can
go to our Web site, it is www.House.Gov/Tancredo, then you go to the
immigration part of it and you will see all this stuff in greater
detail, and I encourage you to do it because it is hard to see this.
But here is a sign that is facing our side of the border, and it says
here: ``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 person or vehicle entering at this
point is in violation of the U.S.,'' certain codes and blah, blah,
blah, blah, and a $5,000 fine or penalty.
This is on our side. This is facing the United States. Then it is
printed down here in Spanish. I am glad they are letting people know. I
know a lot of illegal aliens coming into the United States finally get
on our side, turn around and look at the sign and say, ``Oh, wait a
minute, I guess I better go back. It says here this is not a designated
point of entry.'' So certainly they are going to turn around and go
back and find wherever that point of entry may be. Probably it is in
Nogales. Yes, that is right, it actually is; and they will go on down
the road certainly and they will enter the country legally. I am sure
that happens a thousand times a day, would you not agree, Mr. Speaker?
Here they are not even able to see a sign such as this. They are not
able to say, ``Well, gee, after I cross this cattle guard, I see now
that I am in the United States illegally. I best turn around and go
back.'' And one reason why there is no sign here, Mr. Speaker, as they
were often placed there, folks from the other side of the border,
primarily Mexican police, come across and tear them down every night.
We actually got to the point, the Forest Service people, because this
is right on the Coronado Forest, a national forest, where the
trafficking in illegal aliens and drugs is so great it is destroying
the national forest. The degradation of that national forest is a
national disaster. But not one single environmentalist has spoken out
against it, interestingly. Not one.
The tracks, as I show you here, go on up into the forest. They have
worn footpaths through the forest that now make it look like cobwebs
all over the forest. There is trash. It looks more similar to a
national dump than a national forest. And they set fires, campfires;
and then they walk away from them. And of course especially at this
time of the year, and this year the drought being what it is, the day
we were there and just as we were leaving a fire started, again by
someone coming across illegally. They believe it is
UDAs, that is the way it is referred to, undocumented aliens, because
it is in the very remote areas; and it had consumed 35,000 acres in
less than a day.
I do not know where it is now. I do not know if it is contained. I do
not know. We cannot even go in and use the most up-to-date methods of
fire suppressants. We cannot drop slurry because there is so many
illegals going through the forest that it actually may harm them. They
may get some stuff on them so they do not drop it. And they only fight
the fire during the daytime, because in the nighttime they have had
fire crews up there and the crews have confronted armed men, people
carrying M-16s, because they are the people protecting the people
carrying drugs; and they are coming in huge bands 20, 30, 40, 100. The
forest is being destroyed.
Here, people who are hiking, picnicking, whatever, around the
national forest, could mistakenly enter into Mexico, you see, because
there are no signs telling you, like this one, be careful, you are
leaving the United States, you are going into Mexico. And they do. They
go into Mexico. And the reason why is, and I started mentioning this
earlier when I spoke of them tearing down the signs time after time, we
have actually put up over here, just a little farther inside here, two
metal posts, two big metal posts with a metal sign. That had been cut
out. The Mexicans came across that night with a torch and cut the sign
down, because they want people to wander over, then nab them and throw
them into the local hoosegow and then extort money from them. It is a
way of making a few bucks down there. They want people to wander in so
that they can then say you are here in Mexico illegally and we are
going to make you pay the price.
But there is no connection, Mr. Speaker, no connection whatever; and
how can we even talk about things like immigration reform and terrorist
activities? How could we suggest that there is anything related here,
just because you can waltz across this border with great impunity? And
believe me, hundreds of thousands of people a year come through right
here, millions of people across the border, both north and south. By
the way, this is not unique in any way, shape, or form to Mexico. Of
course the greatest numbers coming through are Mexican nationals. But
nonetheless, we have the problem on both our borders and in our ports
of entry on both coasts.
Recently, 25 suspected Middle Eastern terrorists evidently came in on
cargo ships. They are here someplace. We do not know where. I do not
know exactly how we found out about it, but I am glad we at least know
they are here. Makes me feel a lot better. And hopefully they will be
caught. I know we are judiciously looking at everyone in the United
States who is not here legally and returning them to their country of
origin, so certainly in a short time we will have them.
We have a huge problem, Mr. Speaker. It is a national security issue.
To suggest anything else is to be naive to the ultimate. And to suggest
that we cannot clamp down on this kind of situation, we cannot in fact
protect our own borders, even if it means putting troops on the border,
because it will be insulting to Canada and Mexico, to suggest that
trying to enforce our own borders and protect the lives and property of
the people in this Nation is an act that would turn certain
constituencies in America against us defies the imagination. It defies
anyone's ability to actually and appropriately characterize such a
There are people in the United States of America, regardless of their
ethnic background, who are opposed to their own government trying to
protect them and their property? I want to hear that. Because most of
the people, Mr. Speaker, I guarantee you, by magnitudes that are
actually astounding to me, numbers that are incredible, tell me that
they are asking more from their government in terms of protecting them,
and they are asking us to do something to cut down on illegal
And, Mr. Speaker, this is not just something that white WASPish
Americans are asking for. This is something all Americans are asking
for. Everybody. Because everybody here who has come here legally, who
believes in the sovereignty of this Nation is saying to us, What are
you guys doing up there? And I mean we are talking Asian Americans and
we are talking Hispanic Americans. I do not care what the ethnic
background. By and large these people support our efforts to try and
actually do something about border security and to reduce even the
amount of immigration.
A vast majority of the people in this country recognize that is
necessary. It is not ethically driven. This is not racially motivated.
This is a matter that strikes at the heart of everything we should be
doing here in this Congress. We should be looking, first and foremost,
at the security of the Nation. And you cannot go in front of your
constituents, I do not care who you are or where you are from, Brooklyn
or Timbuktu, no, strike that, Brooklyn or Ray, Colorado, you cannot go
in front of your constituents and say that we have in fact done
anything to significantly increase the protection of our borders and,
therefore, your safety. Because we have not.
I repeat: the tepid bill we passed here on INS reform will be
destroyed, I predict. And by the time we see it in a conference, it
will be something totally different and much less dramatic than it was
even leaving here, and that was not much.
I also predict that unless we do this, unless we actually reform the
INS, actually create an agency that has the resources and the direction
to protect our borders, and the commitment internally, the people
working for it who know why they are there, who are on our side when it
comes to whether or not we should be letting people in here illegally,
and our side means saying no, unless we do that, we have not done
anything to improve security.
All of the other stuff we have done, including the bill the President
signed yesterday, which I supported because it was that life boat, and
I am all for adding another life boat to the Titanic, but it will not
keep the boat from sinking. Signing a bill and calling it border
security implies, I think, far too much. It is not security if we have
an agency that is completely and totally incapable of actually
providing that security.
We must reform the INS first. And I mean real reform. Then all the
other things we do, all of the other jobs we give it in terms of
tracking, all of the other responsibilities we give it in terms of
protecting the borders, expanding our observation and control of the
border activity, all of those things will be easier to accomplish with
an agency committed to that task. Because I know this, Mr. Speaker, and
I will tell you, I have spent many hours with the folks who we give the
responsibilities of being on the ground down at the borders, and they
want to be supported by us. They want clear lines of authority. They
want to be able to protect America. But they are working for an agency
which is incapable of providing them with the leadership, direction,
and resources to get the job done.
They will tell you personally, time after time after time, of the
horrendous frustration they feel in trying to deal with this issue and
do their jobs, do their jobs for their own families and for America.
They want to do their jobs, but they are prevented from doing so
because the agency itself is so incredibly, incredibly incompetent.
We will move just for the next few minutes to one final issue about
which I am greatly concerned, and that is the issue of amnesty. We may
talk about all that we have done in this body to protect the borders;
but every single time we reconstitute, regenerate support for amnesty,
every time that the administration pushes it, every time the other
party brings it up, we are doing great damage to our ability to
actually control the borders; and we are doing great damage to the
moral character of the United States of America.
Here is why I say that. We call ourselves a Nation of laws. We tell
the world to emulate us. We tell every country how important it is to
disavow the rule of man and to accept the rule of law as the philosophy
of government that all people should abide by and hearken to. And yet
we suggest that 11 million people who are here illegally, who broke our
laws coming into this country should be forgiven for that and given
citizenship, in fact, rewarded.
Put them in line for citizenship ahead of all those millions of
around this world who are reading the words on the Statue of Liberty:
``Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to
breathe free,'' and say how do I do that, I want to go there, I believe
that the principles of the United States of America are the principles
I want to live by; and I want to leave my country, I want to disavow
any relationship, political relationship that I have with the country
of my birth, and I want to start a new life in America, as perhaps your
grandparents, I know my grandparents did.
We are telling all of those people every time we give them amnesty,
we are telling all of the people who are waiting that they are suckers,
and that the better way to get into the United States is to sneak in,
stay under the radar screen long enough, and we will give you amnesty.
It is a slap in the face to the people who have done it the right way,
filled out the paperwork and waited the appropriate length of time,
learned the language, learned our history, things we actually require
of people coming into the United States. They did it right, and we are
telling them, you are suckers. You should sneak in.
I know the allure is on our side. It is like the drug issue. We say
there is the demand, there is always going to be the supply. There is
the demand for cheap labor; and, therefore, they are going to come. I
understand that part of the equation. I will be for any attempt on the
part of the government, we have the laws, it is illegal to hire people
who are not citizens of the United States or not here on the
appropriate visa. It is illegal. Recently we finally started actually
cracking down. I know Tysons Food and a couple of other big employers
who acted covertly to bring workers into the United States for cheap
labor are being fined. I would try to dry up the demand, but that does
not excuse the supply. It does not excuse the fact that people come
here illegally. We cannot reward them for that.
I am concerned because Monday, yesterday, President Vicente Fox said
in a speech in New York, it may have been just a couple of days ago,
President Fox of Mexico said the number one litmus test of our
relationship with Mexico will be our willingness in the United States
to give amnesty to the people who are here illegally. The number one
One needs to ask himself, why would a President of one country demand
from a President of another country the complete revulsion, if you
will, of our own laws? Why would they demand that we ignore our own
laws as a litmus test for their friendship, while at the same time, Mr.
Speaker, at the same time they are asking for our friendship and
declaring themselves to be the best friends of America on the
We find that in calendar year 2001, Mexican government border
incursions. Here is the seal of the President of the United States.
This is the slide that I was witness to, a slide presentation I was
witness to when I went down to Douglas, Arizona. The briefing was
presented by something called the HIDA, High Intensity Drug Area, and
it is all of the agencies that get together and try to control the flow
of drugs into the United States and the flow of illegals into the
In their presentation they showed me this slide, and it says
``Calendar year 2001, Mexican Government Border Incursions.'' I said
Mexican government border incursions, what are you talking about? There
were nine from the Mexican military and 14 from the Mexican police for
a total of 23 in 2001. When I had a little more discussion about this,
it turns out this is not unique in the year 2001; we have had over 100
such incursions over the last 7 or 8 years. The hundred have been
documented. Many others go undocumented, we are told by the border
Some of these incidents have resulted in shots being fired by the
Mexican military. Some have resulted in confrontation when guns were
drawn on both sides, and finally people backed off. You have to ask
yourself, what were they here for? What were members of the Mexican
military and Mexican federal police doing in the United States of
I called the State Department, and they said they were probably lost.
Probably lost? I do not suppose anyone wonders why we have 4,000 miles
of border with Canada, much less defined, we have 1,900 miles with the
border of Mexico, and we have at least 100 of these incursions by the
Mexican military on the southern border, and I called the Canadian desk
in the State Department and the Canadian Embassy and said, How many
times have we had Canadian military wander into the United States
getting lost because they could not find the line? They said never.
I said, How many times has the Canadian Mounted Police come riding
across the border chasing someone and we found them in Detroit because
they just got too far? It is not happening.
I will tell Members why it is happening on the southern border.
Unfortunately, a large part of the Mexican military and the Mexican
police establishment are corrupt, and they are coming across the
border. Ask any member of our service on the border, any member of the
border patrol there on the spot, ask them why it is happening, and they
will say they are coming across to protect large shipments of narcotics
coming across the border. Sometimes they come across to create a
diversion pulling our people away from where that shipment is coming
Mr. Speaker, 90,000 pounds, and this is another slide. This is a
gentleman coming through carrying several bags in these makeshift
backpacks carrying drugs. This is Coronado National Monument, Arizona.
This is May 7, 2001. Most come 20 or 30 or 40 protected by armed
guards. In calendar year 2001, 11,300 seizures amounting to 2.476
million pounds of marijuana; cocaine, 42,000. That is just in this
particular area, and I am just talking about the Coronado National
Now, is this the act, I ask, of a friendly country? Why are we facing
this is because President Fox, who I believe is a man who is trying to
do a good job, I think he is an honest person; but, unfortunately, I do
not believe he controls his own government. He certainly does not
control some of the most important parts of it, including his own
military. Corruption is so endemic, it is so bad that the President of
that country cannot guarantee the actions of his own military and/or
federal police. It is a sad commentary. I am sorry for him.
If I could wave a magic wand, Mexico would be a place with enormous
wealth and a driving middle class, with everybody having the same
chance to achieve their dreams and goals. But there is nothing that I
can do about that, there is nothing that this body or the President of
the United States can do to change the situation in Mexico.
The corruption is so endemic and it is connected to a government that
still has connection to a socialist economic theory. The government
still owns the oil company, for heaven's sake. While that is the case,
while you have this combination of socialistic thought and socialistic
economic thought and internal corruption, the economic prosperity of
the nation will never, ever be achieved; and there is nothing we can do
about it. No matter if we open the border tomorrow and walk away from
every port of entry, which some would like us to do, even take away the
barbed wire fence, for what little good it does, and walk away from the
border. That is what some people want. Members know it is true. But it
will not change the situation in Mexico. It will not be something that
improves the lives of the people down there.
I am concerned that the Mexican government is not doing what is
necessary to help us control our own borders. I am concerned that they
are not helping us as the President asked them to do so. The President
said, If you are not with us, you are against us. Then why are they not
patrolling their own borders to stop incursions? Frankly, people are
coming in through Mexico, not just Mexicans looking for jobs, other
nationalities, Middle Eastern. One hundred ten Iranians were captured
on a guy's ranch in Texas all dressed in string ties, white shirts and
black pants thinking they could blend in, I guess.
This is a terrible problem connected to our own national security. It
is also connected to the kind of country we will be, how many people
will be here, the kind of environment we are going to leave for our
children. Will it all be the environment that is today part of
that national forest which has been destroyed? Is that the kind of
legacy that we want to leave? I think not.
We have to reduce immigration into this country. We have to reduce
legal immigration to a manageable number; 300,000 a year is plenty. We
have to put the same amount of effort into the protection of our
borders as we put into the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan and
around the world. We have to put the same degree of resources and the
same degree of commitment into the defense of our own borders as we do
to the prosecution of the war halfway around the world.
That may mean, as a matter of fact, troops on our border and demands
to our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, to help us patrol it. It is
incumbent upon us to do it, Mr. Speaker. It is our responsibility and
no one else's. The States cannot do it. The Congress and the President
must provide the leadership that the American people are demanding. We
and the administration have to stop turning a deaf ear to the pleas of
our countrymen to protect and defend our borders.
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