[Congressional Record: July 9, 2002 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ITEMS OF CONCERN TO AMERICA
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Kennedy of Minnesota). 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, I rise tonight to bring to the attention
of my colleagues a number of issues. I have listened, as I have been
sitting here preparing my notes, to the previous speaker, and there are
many concerns that he expresses that I certainly share.
Before I get into the main part of my comments, I do just want to
make one statement regarding the issue of wildfires and their cause,
for the severe nature of the fires we are having in my State and the
others around the West.
I certainly agree with the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer)
when he says that what has contributed to this condition in our
Nation's forests has been 100 years of fire suppression philosophy. The
idea that we had to try to put out every fire that started in our
forests has undoubtedly been a wrong-headed approach. We recognize now
that fires, of course, can be healthy. I say ``can be,'' because it is
not necessarily the case. It is not always the case that every type of
fire that you have is a ``healthy'' phenomenon.
There are certain kinds of fires that are enormously destructive, not
just in the terms that we naturally think of when we hear of a
wildfire, but there are certainly other aspects of it. So not allowing
for a natural process to occur, constantly getting in there and trying
to stop all fires, is not good, and I agree.
Now the question becomes one of how to deal with it. Is it to simply
ignore the fact that we have forests in the Nation that have
accumulated up to 400 tons, 400 tons per acre, of fuels, when the
average amount, what we would call a healthy natural forest, is around
10 tons per acre? Is it to simply ignore that, leave it, and say
because we do not like the idea that mankind, that governments have
attempted to intervene in this process, and that has been problematic,
is it to suggest that we have no role to play?
I would state categorically that it is just the opposite. Now that we
know what the problem is, now that we have some sense of what has
contributed to this enormous problem, then what we need to do as a
government and as a public policy is to try to address it, and it is
not to ignore it. It is not to pretend that the potential for these
catastrophic fires does not exist and to simply walk away from the
forests and the management thereof to some other kind of bucolic world
in which, after all of the forests in the United States have burned to
the ground, in a couple of hundred years they will all be back in a
more natural and pristine state. That is essentially what our
environmentalist friends are asking us to do.
However, we do have options. We do have alternatives. What we have
learned is that you can actually now reduce the catastrophic kind of
fires that we are experiencing in the West by management, by
enlightened forest management. Part of that is what we call controlled
burning, where we go to the area, the Forest Service goes into a
particular area and does in fact burn a lot of the underbrush and burn
those fuels in an area and in a way that they can contain it so it does
not, hopefully, get out of control. It has happened in the past, Los
Alamos is a horrible example, but, for the most part, it does not
happen that it gets out of control. We have in fact over the years had
hundreds, if not thousands, of controlled burns. They have all worked
perfectly well. It does help create a more natural environment.
It also helps stop the spread of catastrophic fires like the one we
are having. I have seen it with my own eyes in Colorado, in the forests
we are now dealing with, with the firings we are now dealing with,
where we have allowed for a controlled burn. The Hayman fire, which is
the one that has consumed 150,000 acres, you can actually see where it
has come up against what was called the Polhemus burn, which was a
controlled burn, come up against that area, and essentially stopped
because there was not the fuel to have it continue.
We can manage the forests by controlled burns. We can also manage the
forests by thinning, by going in and actually taking out a lot of this
underbrush, by cutting down trees, yes, I am saying it, cutting down
trees, especially the trees with the small circumference, and a lot of
the underbrush that has been so problematic in these fires. We can do
There are ways to manage forests, not to stop all fires, but to make
the fires that do occur a product of or manifestation of that healthy
ecosystem. It is this area, this point of conflict, that we find
ourselves in with our friends in the environmental community,
especially the more radical elements of that community, who have
stopped every single attempt on the part of the government to try and
manage the forests, of the Forest Service to try to manage those
forests, and, as a matter of fact, were successful in stopping the
Forest Service from doing any sort of thinning right in the middle of
the area we now call the Hayman fire.
A year-and-a-half ago the Forest Service proposed to go in there and
thin parts of that area, to clean out that kind of underbrush. The
environmentalist community filed appeals. They worked for a year-and-a-
half with them to try to come to some resolution of their concerns.
When the Forest Service thought the concerns were met, they went ahead
to start the process. What do you think happened? Guess what? The
environmentalists went in there and filed the appeal again, stopped the
process again. That was a year-and-a-half ago, and, of course, now that
issue is moot, irrelevant, because that part of the forest, along with
another 150,000 acres, are simply pieces of charcoal.
So we can do a lot to mitigate the disastrous effects of the fire. As
for the wildlife wildland-urban interface, that is problematic. We can
also control that. There are zoning laws we can adopt and, in many,
many cases, have already. It is not the fault of an American who wants
to live near a forest or in the forest area. It is not their fault that
we have fires or that the fires are catastrophic.
To this point, we have not had a fire in Colorado, of which I am
aware, actually, that was started because someone was living near a
forest. I am not saying that has not happened. Nothing I am aware of
recently. None of the major fires were started by people who happened
to live in or near the forests.
Unfortunately, the two most horrendous fires we have burning or have
just brought under control in the United States, one in Colorado and
one in Arizona, were started by Forest Service personnel. In Colorado,
the lady that started the fire apparently, apparently started the fire,
I should say, is a Forest Service employee directly. The gentleman in
Arizona who apparently started this fire is someone who is employed by
the Forest Service to go in and help the Forest Service fight fires. He
is a smoke jumper and he wanted to essentially be employed, so he
started this fire thinking I will get the job; I can go in and fight
the fire. It got away from him, and 500,000 acres burned down. An area
actually now larger than the size of Los Angeles has burned in Arizona.
So this idea that you have got people living on or near the land and
therefore we have these big problems, that is really not it. Yes, there
are homes that are destroyed, and it is true and horrible, but the
people who have chosen to live there take that kind of risk and pay
insurance premiums that reflect that, for the most part.
Anyway, I just wanted to talk about that. There are many other
issues, but that was not the main purpose of my coming to the floor
I did want tonight to reflect upon another speaker who had the hour
before the gentleman from Oregon, and this was my dear friend and
colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul), a gentleman whom, by
the way, I respect enormously and whose opinions and attitudes I
believe are incredibly profound and need to be heard. The gentleman
from Texas (Mr. Paul) is a devout libertarian who has in many, many
cases and many, many times, I think, been a lone voice for a variety of
different causes here and a perspective that is not heard often enough.
Of course, there are certain aspects of his presentation, of his
discussion tonight, with which I must disagree, especially in terms of
what our responsibility is as a Nation to defend ourselves against the
war that we are now involved in and whether or not we can argue about
the purpose of the war, I should say the genesis of it. But I do not
think we can argue about the fact that we are in one.
The question that I think this House must always deal with, and I
commend my colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul), for being
such an articulate defender of the fact or the idea, the philosophy,
that we must never surrender individual freedom and liberty in the
pursuit of ultimate security. I certainly agree with that, that that is
a terribly difficult balance that we are asked to try and maintain here
in this Congress. And the issue is to what extent does this government
a responsibility to actually try to defend itself against the threat
that we, I think, that we now face, and what are the measures that we
can legitimately take to defend ourselves, considering the nature of
our opponent, our enemy.
That is really the ultimate debate we are having. What is the nature
of the fight we are in? Is it just against this small band of
terrorists who have, as we have been told, hijacked a particular
religious philosophy? And, if so, if it is just against a small band?
Maybe we can name them al Qaeda. If that is it, if that is our only
war, I would agree with my colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr.
Paul), that the steps presently taken, the steps we have taken up to
this point in time, may have been overreaction, because it is a
relatively small group and we can identify who they are by name, we can
go after them wherever they are, find them, arrest them, kill them, if
that is the only alternative.
But I believe that that is not the nature of the battle or of the
enemy that we face. I believe it is much broader than that. I believe
it is in fact fundamentalist Islam that we are fighting tonight, today,
yesterday, and will be fighting for many years to come. It is something
far larger than this small group of people.
Tonight, maybe, during this discussion we will have the opportunity
to go through this at greater length, to determine what exactly it is
then our Nation should do, if we are faced with that broader, more
broadly defined enemy. One of the things I believe we must absolutely
do is to work to control our borders.
It is incumbent upon us, it is incumbent upon us because we call
ourselves a Nation State, because we believe ourselves to be a
sovereign Nation. We claim that, and I believe we are, I believe we are
separate and distinct from the other nations of the world.
I believe that becoming an American citizen, for instance, means more
and should mean more than simply crossing a line, simply stepping over
a boundary. I believe there are all kinds of things that are incumbent
upon an individual when they become a citizen of this country, and I
believe that there are people in this world, there are, in fact, far
too many people in this world, that would destroy this Nation,
everything we stand for, everything we believe in, and physically
destroy us, not just our philosophy, but all of us living here.
I believe that that is the nature of the fight we are in, and I
believe that there are many things we need to do. Among them is to
actually secure our own borders. It is to say to the world that we have
a right, a responsibility, to defend ourselves. Part of that may be to
seek out our enemies in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in the Philippines
or wherever they may be hiding. But it is also to defend our own
borders from those who would come across for the purpose of doing us
harm. And I do not think we should be condemned for that or called
myopic or xenophobic or anti-individual freedom. It is the least that
our citizens can expect of us, to defend them, so that they can be free
to practice their religion and their political philosophies and their
individual ways of life.
I see that I am joined tonight by the gentleman from California (Mr.
Rohrabacher) and another colleague whom I will introduce in just a
moment. I am glad that they are here. I will gladly yield to my
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I would like for
the record and for anyone who is observing this presentation this
evening, to understand the pivotal role that the gentleman from
Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is playing in this battle for our Nation's
security in terms of the fight against illegal immigration.
Now, I may or may not agree with the gentleman about the nature of
the terrorist threat to the United States; I tend to think that there
are many, many Muslims throughout the world who are as much against
terrorism as we are, standing right here in this body today, and that
they are horrified that the bin Ladens of the world are being presented
to the American people and to others as spokesmen for Islam. They are
just horrified by this.
But to the degree that there is a threat there, what is important is
what the gentleman from Colorado has been doing to make sure that we
focus on a major vulnerability of our country, which is the fact that
our government is not concerned about the sanctity of our immigration
system and the security of our borders, so that the people of the
United States of America are being made vulnerable every day in many
ways; economically, but also in terms of their own personal safety, as
well as the safety of our government and our institutions, by a massive
flow of illegal immigration into the United States of America.
The gentleman from Colorado has taken it upon himself to try to
mobilize public opinion and mobilize the opinion of Members of this
body so that the public, as well as this body, will understand the
great risk we are putting ourselves in by not controlling the flow of
illegal immigrants into our country. It is a risk that has economic
ramifications, which the gentleman from Colorado has time and again
talked about, and about how the standard of living of the average
working person has been going down; and yet, of course, we have the
ownership class in America who seems to be able to take advantage of
We have also heard from the gentleman from Colorado about the
criminal elements that are coming into our country; and now the
gentleman from Colorado is also warning us about the potential
terrorist implications to not having control over our borders.
Now, I have been fighting illegal immigration for as long as I have
served, and have been privileged to serve, in this body; and that is
why I feel so strongly that the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo)
is playing a role that is just indispensable to the security of our
country, because he is carrying much of this load on his own shoulders.
But I have been especially concerned over the years about the
security risks that illegal aliens pose to our country. We do not need
to just make this fundamentalist Muslims, because I happen to believe
that there are a lot of fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist
Jews that say crazy things about other people's religions, and there
are radicals who would murder people in every faith. We must make sure
that we are opposed to any of this type of radicalism, and it should be
denied access to the United States of America. If you have a radical
Christian or a radical Buddhist or a radical Communist or a radical
Hebrew or a radical Muslim, any one of those who are willing to kill
other people because of their faith, should not be permitted in the
United States of America, period.
Well, since 245(i), which was an amnesty for illegal aliens, was
proposed in 1996, I have talked myself hoarse about why this was such a
grave matter to our national security. Mr. Speaker, 245(i), as we know,
permits people who are in this country illegally not to have to go back
to their home countries in order to readjust their status so that they
could in some way be here legally. In the past, if someone is here
illegally, they have to go back before they can adjust their status.
Well, others in this body have openly scoffed, saying that 245(i) is
about, what they claim, is about uniting families, or fairness, or
economics, or anything else than what it is.
Mr. Speaker, 245(i), which is an amnesty for those people who are
here illegally so they do not have to go home to adjust their status,
they can do it here, is an invitation to criminals and terrorists and
anyone else who would overstay their visa to come to this country and
break our laws. It is an invitation for everyone who comes here on a
visa to overstay their visa because, after all, now that they are here
in the United States, and they can be adjusted. And while 245(i), which
we put into place, was supposedly a limited right of these people who
are here illegally to adjust their status, it has had already horrible
impacts on the safety of our people.
Now, the 245(i) amnesty for illegal aliens has claimed the first
victims that can be officially proven to be the victims of the action
of 245(i) by this Congress, and it is a very prominent case. The INS
Congressional Relations Office confirmed to my office that the Egyptian
gunman who killed two people at the El Al counter in Los Angeles
Airport, at LAX, on July 4, was in this country only due to a 245(i)
That is that Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian citizen, a man who
apparently either was part of a terrorist system which we do not know,
he may not have been, but we do know that he lost his composure or
perhaps he did it intentionally, but he went to LAX and murdered two
people, two innocent people.
Think about this. Mr. Hadayet, and I do not know if that is the way
you pronounce his name, who was due to be deported, became a resident
of this country due to a 245(i) amnesty. What a travesty.
Now, this is a case that we can document. I would contend that there
are probably many other cases in this country where people have been
brutalized or murdered or raped or robbed, or that you have someone who
imposes a terrorist threat in our country because of this, but this one
we can document. If we had deported him, those two people there at LAX,
those beautiful young people, may be alive today, would certainly be
alive today, and their families and their friends would have been saved
this enormous grief.
Estimates from the INS and others are literally several hundred
thousand, by the way, in terms of how many illegal aliens have already
applied for and received legal permanent status through 245(i). So let
us make that clear. Hundreds of thousands of people have received their
permanent resident status, even though they were in this country
illegally at the time, because of 245(i).
Now I might add just for the record that the gentleman from
California (Mr. Berman), my good friend and colleague, the two of us
debated this issue out. I was claiming at the time that hundreds of
thousands of people would seek to utilize this loophole if Congress
passed the 245(i) extension. The gentleman from California (Mr. Berman)
emphatically stated that it would only be 30,000, he could never
imagine more than 30,000 or so people claiming this, and this was his
official estimate by some, of course, source that either did not know
what they were talking about or were intentionally misleading the
gentleman from California (Mr. Berman).
But I remember him saying, if you have over that many people apply, I
will buy you dinner. Well, I say to the gentleman, I am ready for
dinner. I am ready for dinner. And I want the gentleman to know that I
will not mention over dinner the death of those two poor people at the
El Al counter at LAX, because they can be traced right back to that
245(i), and there are not just a few thousand people who applied, there
are hundreds of thousands, and it is a gigantic loophole that we do not
need to open wider, we need to stop that loophole. We need to plug it
so we do not have any more maniacs in our midst who might have been
deported; at least they would not have been here. Who knows.
I had a person from the INS tell me that the reason why we want them
here, if they are here illegally, the reason we want them deported back
to their home country to check them out is because that is where the
records are. That is where all the authorities in those countries know
in their country who has been arrested for unstable behavior. Maybe
this man was not a Muslim extremist. He may have just been a very
Well, guess what? We do not want a very disturbed person in this
country who is here illegally either. And if Congress should pass
another extension of 245(i), which is, of course, what we were being
pressured to do, and let me add that the vote that they were leading up
to, and there is enormous pressure on us to pass 245(i), that vote was
supposed to be on what day? 9-11.
If those people would not have flown those planes into the World
Trade Center, if those terrorists would not have slaughtered thousands
of Americans up there in New York, this body would have been in session
and we would have been voting for 245(i) that would permit these types
of threats to our security and to the personal safety of our people to
remain in the United States. Had Congress passed 245(i), there would
probably be, and we estimate, another 300,000 illegal aliens permitted
to stay here and to start to legalize their citizenship status and
their immigration status.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time for just a minute, the
gentleman makes a very interesting and, I think, dramatic point here,
something I did not know, something that I think a majority of
Americans did not know. And I will guarantee my colleagues this: What
my colleague has just stated about the status of the gentleman who was
here and killed those two people at El Al, that fact, I would be
willing to bet anyone dinner and anything else, would never, ever, ever
have come out had it not been for the dogged determination of the
gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher).
These are the things that we hear about, but the INS will never admit
to. And I hope to see, but I wonder if tomorrow morning we will see on
the front page of every newspaper in this country and on every talk
show in the country this fact, the fact that my colleague has just
pointed out to us; and I will bet again, if it is brought up at all, it
will probably be buried, except for the very few parts of the media
that have a tendency to support our point of view on this.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman will yield, the
gentleman is precisely correct. My staff, when this happened, noticed
that there was a discrepancy about why this person was actually in the
country after he had been given deportation notices. I talked to them
about it and, frankly, several of my staff members worked very
diligently to find this information out. Rick Dykema, who is my chief
of staff, headed the investigation; and the INS, although they finally
confirmed it this evening, right before I came up here, the INS was
being very nebulous and it was like, oh, well, they did not want to
admit that this was it.
How many people around the country are going to hear this? As the
gentleman says, how many newspapers are going to report that? I am very
grateful, and I thank the gentleman very much for noting that it took a
lot of hard work for us to do this.
I would just hope that those people who want to extend 245(i) go down
and take a look at the blood on the floor of the LAX airport before
they do. Take a look at the picture of those poor people who were
murdered by this either fanatic or unstable foreigner who was here
illegally, whom we could have sent back, but instead, we kept, because
our colleagues have bought into this idea that it is in some way a
positive thing to permit this loophole to exist.
By the way, if there are another 300,000 people who now the INS has
to process because of 245(i), let us remember that the INS is already 3
million cases behind in processing people who already have made their
application. Why are we adding to their work in processing these
applications, and while they are doing it, permitting these people who
are here illegally to stay here in this country?
If there is a backlog of 3 million people, it is going to take them
years to work and to try to find or go over everyone's case like this,
and now we are just adding more and more people who are able to stay
here without the serious background check that they would get if they
were sent home because they were here in this country illegally.
With the July 4 attack, we knew that we were in a horrible situation.
We must take a look at 245(i) and the entire immigration policy of this
country after this attack on July 4, but we should have been doing this
after September 11, as well.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, absolutely. Here is the thing: we are now
10 months past 9-11. We can talk about the errors we have made in the
Congress in the past and the errors this government has made in the
past in the crazy-quilt patchwork type of immigration policy that we
have been dealing with here for years, and we can affix blame there,
and rightly so.
But would the gentleman not think that subsequent to 9-11, subsequent
to that horrible event, we would have done something to correct this
action, to say, okay, we have made mistakes and we recognize it?
But not only have we not done anything significant to correct it, but
an interesting article that I came across just the other day said that,
since 9-11, we have given out over 50,000 visas to people from
countries on the terrorist watch list. This is not just people from
countries that are kind of on the fringe; these are people from the
countries on the terrorist watch list. We have given out 50,000 visas
It is still the case that if people live in Saudi Arabia and want to
come to the United States they do not have to go see an actual
counselor; they can put it in a drop-box. They can get the visa. No one
interviews them. This is coming from Saudi Arabia, a country that we
already know many people have come from who have done horrible,
horrible things to the United States.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman knows, all 19 of those
people who flew the planes into our buildings and murdered our people
were Saudi citizens. I think there are some people in Saudi Arabia who
are friends of the United States and allies of the United States, but
we have to take a look at what is going on in Saudi Arabia. We have to
protect ourselves, to make sure that we just do not have an open door,
because they have not cleaned up their own house. They have not put
their own house in order. Thus, they have made it unsafe.
How many other countries are like that?
Mr. TANCREDO. Reclaiming some of my time, I want to say that the
gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) has been enormously
flattering in his description of my efforts, and I sincerely appreciate
it. But I also know that long before I came to this Congress, there
were people here laboring in this vineyard, and the gentleman is one.
I want to tell the gentleman how much I appreciate what he has done
in this area. It is by circumstance and event and whatever that I ended
up in the position of being the spokesman for our caucus, but it is
only because of work like the gentleman has done and another colleague
I will introduce right now that we have the ability to actually bring,
I think, some sanity to this discussion. It is because they have been
here for some time, and they have been really and truly pressing this
Now, of course, it is on everybody's plate. It is on everybody's top
list of things to be concerned about. Why? Only because of horrendous
events. They should have been listening to my colleagues a long time
Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Deal).
Mr. DEAL of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his
leadership, as the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) has
already expressed, for leadership on the Immigration Reform Caucus.
I would like to take a few minutes to share more information. I think
the information just brought forward by the gentleman from California
(Mr. Rohrabacher) is certainly pertinent to the issue of the 245(i)
matter that is still pending before this Congress.
Mr. Speaker, we should learn some things when we have studies and
censuses and other reports made, because we spend a lot of money doing
this. If we will just look at a few statistics. For example, the latest
census of 2000 tells us that approximately 8.7 million people
are undocumented illegal aliens living in this country. That is about 1
million more than most people estimated was going to show up in the
According to those figures, we are having about 700,000 a year
illegal immigrants entering this country. If that translates down to
1,918 per day, 80 per hour, and approximately one per minute, in other
words, since 9-11, we are approaching a half a million illegal
immigrants who have entered this country and virtually nothing is being
done about it.
Let me share some other things. As the gentleman has already alluded
to, the 19 terrorists in the 9-11 attack all had Social Security cards,
all had Social Security numbers. In fact, 13 of them obtained Social
Security cards legally. In that regard, a recent report was issued by
the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration in which he
said that one in every 12 foreigners receiving new Social Security
numbers have done so using false documents. He indicated in his report
that preliminary results show that some 100,000 Social Security numbers
were wrongly issued to noncitizens in the year 2000.
He goes on to say that even before 9-11, that he had been
recommending that the Social Security agency check its records with the
INS before issuing Social Security cards, and had received no support
and cooperation from Social Security. Since that time, Social Security
has agreed with that recommendation, but still is having difficulty
coordinating records. We, of course, have tried to pass legislation
previously to deal with that issue.
Let me deal with another subject. Speaking of ironic situations, I
have discovered in my research and in my talking with local INS agents
that one of the reasons we are having difficulty deporting illegals is
that a lot of times we do not have any detention facilities to keep
them until we can process them for deportation.
One of the major reasons is we cannot use many of our jails where we
are housing American citizens for criminal activity. They do not comply
with the INS detention standards. The INS has adopted detention
standards that do not correspond with the American Correctional
Association standards. Now, these are the standards that are used in
over 21,000 detention facilities all across our country, but the INS
says they are not good enough.
Let me give the gentleman just a few examples. Non-English speaking
detainees must be provided with more than just simple access to a set
of English language law books. They must also be allowed to have
presentations made by outside groups informing them of U.S. immigration
laws and procedures, and the INS encourages these presentations.
What about meals? Detainees under the INS standards must be served at
least two hot meals a day. Any sack meal shall contain at least two
sandwiches per meal, which at least one must be nonmeat and one must be
meat, and that must be nonpork, and they must also include one piece of
fresh fruit and a dessert item.
I was recently told that in my hometown in Hall County, Georgia, we
could not use the local detention facility which houses all other
detainees simply because that facility serves a cold breakfast and a
balogna sandwich for lunch, and that was just not good enough for the
housing of people who are illegally in this country.
Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman tells me that it is all right to detain
our neighbor who has a traffic violation or a bad-check charge, or even
our children in the school lunch program who do eat balogna sandwiches
and are sometimes served cold breakfasts, and it is not good enough for
those who are illegally in this country, but it is good enough for
American citizens, let us get real about this.
What about telephone access? We have all heard the proverbial, I am
entitled to my telephone call. If one is an illegal alien in this
country, let me tell the gentleman what they are entitled to about
telephone calls. They cannot, first of all, be placed in a detention
facility unless they have unlimited access to telephones; and they
cannot be limited, except if they do attempt to limit the time, it can
be no less than 20 minutes.
They have also required, the INS has required, their telephone
service provider to program the telephone system to permit detainee
calls to numbers on the pro bono legal representation list, and permits
them to use debit cards to make the calls. Now, that is not the same
privileges that are entitled to Americans who are detained in our
They also say that if one is a normal detainee, one has to make all
long distance calls, and they have to be collect. Not so if one is an
illegal alien. They are entitled to use a debit card. I am told by one
that even the detention facility may have to have international
telephone access to meet the requirements.
I know that we all recall some of the debates that surrounded the
1996 Immigration Reform Act. We are in the process of looking at that
act again, trying to clarify some things. One of the issues was what is
a deportable offense. Generally, it was considered to be certain
felonies that are of an aggravated nature.
For example, just to have a DUI is not enough to get one deported.
Let me read from a letter from a local judge in my hometown. This is
what he said:
``Last week I sentenced a gentleman on his fourth DUI committed in
the last 2 years. This gentleman is an illegal immigrant. I directed
department to contact INS in an attempt to prevent further violations
in Hall County.'' He goes on to say that that was not enough to get him
He also makes reference to local gang activity. I might just say
within the last months we have had two drive-by murders and gang-
related activity in my community.
He goes on and summarizes. He says that people who repeatedly drive
drunk and are known to be involved in gang activity are allowed to
basically run free, with no fear of prosecution, because of the current
INS policies. That is a real tragedy and a real shame. It needs to be
How many DUIs does the gentleman think a person should have who is,
first of all, illegally in the country to begin with? One is not enough
to get them deported, two is not enough, three is not enough, and in
this case he cites an actual case where four DUIs is not enough to get
him sent out of this country.
I ask, where is MADD on this issue? Where are those who say that we
ought to get tough on drunk driving and the other things that disrupt
communities and endanger the safety and lives of our local citizens?
I commend the gentleman, and I will conclude with this comment. It is
a comment that was presented to our reform caucus by a senior INS
special agent. I think he says it very well when he says this: ``The
first laws that aliens entering the United States encounter are those
laws that the INS is supposed to enforce. When the INS fails to
effectively, consistently, and fairly enforce these laws, we are
sending a very dangerous message to aliens seeking to enter the United
States. In effect, we are telling them that not only can they expect to
get away with violating our laws, they can anticipate being rewarded
for violating our laws.''
I think he says it very well.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. Although the
gentleman did say it very well, it was made even more profound, I
think, and more articulate by the gentleman's brilliant analysis. I do
sincerely appreciate the gentleman coming down this evening.
The gentleman points out several ironic, would be one way to describe
them, or infuriating is another way to describe these situations, these
events, these things with which we are now dealing almost daily. It
seems to me I confront something like this all the time where we hear
something like this and we say, How could this be? This could not
really be. For instance, four DUIs, and he cannot be deported?
We have constructed on our Web site a list of things that we call
``incredible but true,'' and Members can go to that Web site,
www.house.gov/Tancredo and go to the immigration page on that Web site,
and Members will see these.
If they wish, people are able to go to that Web site and sign a
petition to the President of the United States asking him to please
augment the forces that we presently have on the border, the Border
Patrol people that are so, right now, inundated. They are so overrun,
outgunned, outmanned by the people they are trying to keep out of this
country that they are in desperate shape. So we are asking the
President to actually help us help them by putting military on the
border. Members can go there and sign a petition.
I see that my colleague, the gentleman from California (Mr.
Rohrabacher), has something else he wants to say.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I would just like to reaffirm something
we talked about earlier, and this is for people who may have missed the
beginning of this Special Order, that due to research from my office,
we have discovered that the murderer who may well be a terrorist or may
well be just a very disturbed man or may be a cold-blooded murderer who
is in this country illegally, managed to stay in this country through
the use of the 245(i) process, this is the murderer who killed those
people on July 4 at LAX. So we have confirmed officially for the first
time at least, these are known victims of the 245(i).
This is outrageous. And hopefully by exposing this, it should wake up
some of our colleagues to just how serious it is to not regain control
of our borders which are just totally out of control. And, number two,
hopefully this will alert our fellow colleagues to the danger of the
245(i) reform, which they call it, which is a gigantic loophole which
permits people who should be deported or should not be in this country
because they are here illegally, to stay in this country and adjust
their status here in the country rather than having to go back to their
Had this man who came from Egypt been forced to return to his country
as was the law without 245(i), those two people who were murdered on
July 4 at LAX at the El Al counter would be alive today. And this grief
that we brought upon their families is the grief that can be brought
upon any American family.
We just heard from our colleague of someone having four DUIs. What
does that mean? That person was driving, that person was a threat to
killing our families on the street. Now, why are we permitting people
who are in this country to pose a risk to the safety of our people and
the security of our country? This is ridiculous. I would hope that
those listening understand just how serious this issue is and demand
that Congress act on this, and watch what Congress does, and, again,
that people pay attention to people like the gentleman from Colorado
(Mr. Tancredo), who is offering tremendous leadership on this issue and
he has taken a lot of personal hits.
I can tell you years ago I was called a racist skinhead for
suggesting that instead of giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to
medical benefits to illegal immigrants, that they should be sent home
to their own countries for medical benefits. There was one man in my
district who received over $300,000 worth of medical treatment. He had
leukemia. Now, I am sorry he had leukemia, but $300,000? What does that
do for the amount of money that we have available to take care of our
Obviously, America has not been taking the steps necessary to secure
our own borders. Obviously, the leaders in America are not putting the
safety and security and well-being of the American people first. Who is
to care about America unless we do?
The gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) has been in the forefront
of this type of patriotism, caring about his country and watching out
for our people.
I thank the gentleman very much for letting me participate.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for joining us this
The gentleman brought up several interesting points, not the least of
which is the cost of illegal immigration, the cost to the country.
There are a whole host of ramifications of illegal immigration into the
country. People do not like talking about any of them. But there is an
enormous economic cost to illegal immigration, and it far outweighs the
amount of money that is contributed, quote/unquote, to the American
society by the taxes that many of these people pay.
It is true that if they come here and they work and they are working
for wages that can be taxed, that is to say they are not working under
the counter, just being paid under the table, they will pay some sort
of tax, and they pay a tax on the things they buy. But the reality is
that for the most part 90-some percent of the people who are here and
especially who are here illegally have the lowest-paying jobs. They are
low-skilled people who, therefore, of course are employed at a marginal
level. They pay relatively little, if anything, number one, in income
tax and certainly not all that much even in the sales tax because their
purchasing power is relatively low. We do not gain a tremendous amount
of revenue from the people who come here and are working illegally. But
we do gain a tremendous amount of cost.
Recently Rice University estimated that the undocumented aliens in
the United States cost taxpayers $24 billion every single year. And by
the way, in Arizona a Federal judge has just added to that. To go on
the list of incredible, but true, things about immigration, let us add
this one: right now 175 illegals in Arizona are getting free kidney
dialysis treatments, free kidney dialysis. Many of them came across the
border to obtain this service.
Now, it was supposed to end on June 30, but Judge Browning has
the benefits for five illegals who are ``very ill.'' Now the question
we have to ask ourselves, how many people in our own districts, how
many people who have been here all their lives, that were born here,
grandparents born here, that are citizens of the United States, paid
taxes all their lives, how many of them can afford kidney dialysis or
have it paid for or that were able to have it paid for by the State?
And yet people who can come into this country illegally, take advantage
of our system, take advantage of our laws, can receive this treatment?
It is not fair. I am sorry for them that they need the treatment. How
much can we possibly afford, is the question? How much can we afford?
And why should we be doing it for people who are not citizens?
There are a lot of people who would suggest that in reality there is
nothing different from being just here physically in this country and
being here as a citizen. But I suggest to you that there is an enormous
amount of difference, and we should not ignore it.
Another colleague who has joined me this evening, another member of
our Immigration Reform Caucus and another member who, long before I
came to the Congress, has been laboring in this vineyard and bringing
to the attention of the American people concerns about illegal
immigration, my colleague from Virginia (Mr. Goode).
Mr. GOODE. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Colorado
(Mr. Tancredo). First, I want to thank him for his tireless effort on
behalf of reining in the huge problem of illegal immigration in this
country. I also want to thank the Congressman from Georgia for pointing
out the situation where four drunk driving convictions are insufficient
for deportation. I would also like to thank the Congressman from
California (Mr. Rohrabacher) for pointing out the background of the
killer of the three persons at Los Angeles Airport on July 4. He
mentioned one cost and this gentleman has mentioned one cost, and that
is the free medical treatment that illegal immigrants impose on the
I was just reading a letter from another Member of Congress in a Dear
Colleague about a cost of a million dollars for treating immigrants in
the State of Florida. In Patrick County, an illegal immigrant ran a
citizen off the road in an automobile accident. That citizen had to go
to Baptist Hospital in North Carolina, was in a coma, and the young man
is still not recovered. And this treatment of him has been going on and
that is a tangent cost. It is not a direct cost, but it has long
surpassed the resources of that family.
I also wanted to talk this evening a few minutes about the need for
troops on our borders. This past week we celebrated Independence Day.
And I think one of the best birthday presents this Nation could have
would be secure borders. With secure borders we could greatly reduce or
stop terrorism. We could greatly reduce or stop illegal immigration.
And with secure borders we could greatly reduce or stop the illegal
drug traffic. And I know that several of us with the gentleman's
leadership have urged the administration to deploy the military on our
borders; and we stand committed towards that end, either
administratively or through legislation. In particular, the southern
and northern borders of the United States are porous.
Canada and Mexico are still not doing an adequate job of screening
the immigrant traffic and cargo in and out of their countries. Aside
from obviously being dangerous to the welfare of citizens in this
country, the porousness of our borders adds an unacceptable burden on
our already overworked border patrol.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service is struggling to meet the
demands of new threats, and it is in urgent need of the support of our
military. Congress is working to give the administration greater
authority to use the military on our borders. As the gentleman noted,
the House adopted an amendment to the defense authorization bill that
would allow the Department of Justice, if requested by the INS or the
Customs Service, to utilize troops on our borders. This legislation
would allow the direct involvement of the military in assisting Customs
and our border patrol in preventing the coming into this country of
terrorists, drug traffickers, and illegal aliens.
If we really want to make our homeland secure, we have got to do more
than reorganize homeland security. That is a good positive step. And we
have taken other good and positive steps, but to have our borders
secure we needs troops; and that will have a three-fold purpose of
stopping illegal drugs, stopping illegal immigration, and stopping
terrorists. And, again, I want to thank the gentleman for his tireless
efforts on behalf of this.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, I sincerely appreciate it.
The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goode) has been also enormously
helpful as a member of our committee and a person to whom I turn often
for advice and consultation. It is important I think that we should
point out that it was the amendments of the gentleman from Virginia
(Mr. Goode) to the defense authorization bill that did, in fact,
provide, if it is passed by the other body, signed into law, it will
provide the President with that authorization. And I sincerely hope
that it is retained by the Senate.
This would not be the first time we have passed that resolution, and
every time we have done so in the past the Senate has chosen to simply
ignore it. This is, I hope, a change as a result of all of the events
of the last several months. The last 10 months really would help the
Members of the other body understand the need for doing this and
certainly would help the President also.
Mr. Speaker, again, I want to just say that there has been an
enormous amount of talk about the need to protect the United States
from future terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, there has not been enough
action, certainly far more talk than action. Since 9-11, we are
absolutely not one bit safer today in this country. Our borders are not
one bit more secure than they were at the time that the terrorists flew
the planes into the buildings here in the United States and killed
3,000 of our citizens. That is an unacceptable position to be in for
the Members of this body. For the administration to ignore the security
of our borders as one aspect of this war that we are fighting, is
irresponsible to say the least. And all I can hope is that they will
heed the advice of the colleagues that joined me tonight, especially
the President, in putting troops on the borders, that is the number one
thing, and the rest of the Members of this body to tighten up our
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