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[Congressional Record: January 8, 2003 (House)]
[Page H126-H127]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                          ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, today we have successfully debated and 
passed a bill to provide an extension of unemployment benefits to 
millions of Americans who find themselves out of work. This is a 
laudable activity for us to be involved with and I was proud to be able 
to support that particular piece of legislation.
  I find, however, that we are soon going to be debating another piece 
of legislation that is referred to as an economic stimulus package, and 
during the course of that debate we will undoubtedly be talking about 
the number of jobs that need to be created in the United States in 
order for our economy to get moving again. All of these things I 
support and I believe need to be done, but I also believe that there is 
something which has been left out of the equation and left out of the 
discussion when it comes to jobs and providing economic benefits for 
American citizens. I underline the word ``citizens'' because what has 
happened over the course of the last decade is that we have allowed 
into this country, illegally we have allowed into this country between 
8 and 13 million people. We do not know for sure, of course, because 
they came without our permission. They came across the borders. We are 
told that they are here working and taking jobs no other Americans 
would take.
  Mr. Speaker, I get many, many letters from people in my district who 
are out of work and they tell me that they would take any job available 
to them. There are steelworkers out of work, factory workers up and 
down the East Coast, all across the rust belt, these people are willing 
to take any job available; but, of course, other people have gotten 
there before them. But, who are these people? Up to 13 million of them 
are people who are not citizens of this country.

                              {time}  2200

  We import them. Of course it is true that many businesses hire people 
who are here illegally, even knowingly hire people who are here 
illegally because they believe they will work for less, they will work 
under conditions that perhaps other people would not. We take advantage 
of many people. They are oftentimes manipulated by unscrupulous 
employers once they get here.
  This is all bad, it is all illegal, but we ignore it and we suggest 
that we have to do something else to provide jobs for people who are 
here. But why do we not look at the fact that if we secure our own 
borders, if we ask people who are here illegally to return to their 
country of origin, that we would immediately provide millions of jobs 
for American citizens? Only we would not have to spend another dollar; 
we would not have to appropriate any more money.
  Today it was 7 or $8 billion for the extension of unemployment 
benefits, but doing what I ask, and that is to secure our borders, to 
identify people who are here illegally and deport them. This does not 
really cost all that much. That is what the Federal Government should 
be doing. That is our role and responsibility, to secure the border, to 
know who is coming into this country, for how long and for what 
purpose. We choose not to do that. We choose not to do that because 
there are political implications there, and there are political 
ramifications of such a decision. If we were to actually defend our own 
borders and control the process so that people coming into this country 
would do so in a legal process, we would, of course, diminish the flow 
of illegal immigrants. That would upset the Democrats because they 
would say that this would impede their ability to gain potential 
voters, knowing that many immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, 
would flock to the Democratic Party.
  On the other hand, we have the Republican Party which says that if we 
were to secure our own borders, if we were to stop the flow of illegal 
immigrants into the country, that would impede the ability of 
businesses to hire cheap labor. Both of these reasons are, I think, 
bogus. They do not reflect what we should be doing in this body and, 
that is, to uphold the law. We should be demanding that the INS, we 
should be demanding that this administration uphold the law and that we 
address the issue of border patrol, increasing border patrol and also 
putting the military on the border which is absolutely necessary in 
order for us to achieve any degree of security on our borders and on 
our coastline. That is imperative. But we refuse to do it. We are 
fearful of doing it.

[[Page H127]]

  At the same time, there have been attempts on this floor, there have 
been attempts in this body to provide amnesty for people who are here 
illegally, to reward people who have come here illegally and give them 
the opportunities that are usually provided for people who have gone 
through the process, who have spent the time, who have spent the money, 
who have had the brain damage of having to go through sometimes years 
of bureaucratic wrangling to come into the country legally. They have 
waited in line. They have done it the right way. But we keep proposing 
to give people who have broken the law, who have snuck into the 
country, we keep proposing to give them amnesty. What does that concept 
tell everybody who has done it the right way? It tells them that they 
were essentially suckers and that they should have simply snuck into 
the country, we would eventually give them amnesty and they would get 
all the benefits that anyone here legally would enjoy.
  Speaking of those benefits, Mr. Speaker, let me tell you about 
another phenomenon that is going on throughout the country. There is a 
process, something called the matricula consular. This is a card, an 
identification card that is being handed out by the Mexican Government 
to Mexican nationals in the United States.


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