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WAIS Document Retrieval

[Congressional Record: February 26, 2003 (House)]
[Page H1388-H1393]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Murphy). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 7, 2003, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) 
is recognized for 60 minutes.

[ ... ]

And that is why oftentimes I take the floor of the House, evenings like this, on special orders to exhort my colleagues to think about another aspect of this problem, and that is the degree to which massive immigration into the country combined with this philosophy of multiculturalism can be and, in my estimation, is a dangerous, dangerous phenomenon. Massive immigration into the country unchecked, massive immigration that is combined with this, that is combined with this philosophy I describe as multiculturalism does not help us develop a coherent society. It does not help us develop a strong intellectual base of support for the ideals of western civilization. It pulls people apart rather than pulls them together. We have a tendency to vulcanize our society rather than bring it together as one United States of America, both geographically and intellectually and emotionally. Immigration is a very, very significant problem. And it goes far beyond the issues of jobs that may be being taken by people from outside the country, although that is a significant issue. And believe me, if your job has been taken by someone from another country, then it is the most important issue to you. And I understand that. But the problems that arise as a result of this kind of massive immigration combined with this bizarre and rabid multiculturalism that pervades our society are such that I think that they actually pose a great and significant threat to the United States of America and, in fact, to western civilization. I think that the need is great for at least the debate of this topic. It is a topic that we eschewed, that we have avoided, that we have attempted to move aside because it is uncomfortable. That is true. The debate over immigration and its effect on our country at this point in its history needs to be undertaken, but is very, very uncomfortable for many Members of this body and certainly many people throughout the country. But I believe with all of my heart that debate needs to be undertaken. There are these more esoteric aspects of it that I have tried to address here, and then there are some very practical and very dramatic effects of massive immigration that need to be explored also. Mr. Speaker, last week a couple of the Members of this body and several members of the Arizona State legislature accompanied me on a trip I took down to Cochise County, Arizona, which is on the border, of course, of Mexico, to observe firsthand what was happening there and to try to bring back to the people that serve in this body and to the rest of the United States a picture, perhaps a little bit different than the picture of illegal immigration that is portrayed by the local media in the various cities and States of the people of the people here in the Congress of the United States. {time} 2145 I know that in my own city, Denver, Colorado, the media enjoys the presentation of the concept of or the reality I should say of illegal immigration. It always presents the picture of illegal immigration as one of a very benign sort of concept and that the people here, those people who are identified as illegal immigrants into this country are just folks looking for a job and willing to do a job that ``other Americans will not do,'' and that they are, generally speaking, beneficial to the country from the standpoint of our economy and from just the standpoint of the type of individuals that make up the Nation. That is the picture of illegal immigration that is portrayed by the media in many of our districts; but if we go to the border, almost any point of the border, southern or northern border, of the United States, we will find a completely different picture, one that is hardly ever portrayed in the press. We will find a very ugly picture, a picture of violence, a picture of criminal activity revolving around the importation of illegal narcotics, a picture of threat to the national security of the United States as a result of having porous borders across which people are coming, some of them with the intent to do great harm. That is a different picture entirely and one, as I say, we hardly ever see; but it is absolutely as real as the one that is presented in the local media of many of the newspapers and television stations and radio stations of the folks of the hometown of the folks who actually serve in this body; and so I wanted to go there and show people a different picture, another picture that I think they should see. We went to the Coronado National Forest for the first day, and we looked at the environmental degradation in that forest, brought about by the fact that thousands and thousands and thousands of people coming into the country illegally every single week come across that national forest and do enormous damage to it from an environmental standpoint. They drive across in vehicles creating roads, [[Page H1391]] ``roads,'' of course, where there should not be roads. They walk across, and the impact of thousands and thousands and thousands of feet on pathways that are created does enormous damage to the environment, very pristine environment, a very delicate environment in the southwest part of the United States, a desert environment. They start warming fires. These people, undocumented illegal immigrants, start warming fires in the night, walk away from them in the morning; and they, of course, during this draught are devastating. When I was there last, when I was in the Coronado National Forest little over a year ago, I left on a Sunday morning. By the time I returned back to Denver, Colorado, a fire that had started that morning by an illegal alien had consumed 35,000 acres of the Coronado. The trash that is distributed throughout the forest is enormous, are enormous, monumental. It is hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash discarded by the people coming through there, so much so that one would think that the Coronado National Forest should be renamed the Coronado National Dump because that is what it looks like. Yet, of course, and interestingly we have never seen or ever heard the Sierra Club or any other environmental organization in America take issue with this problem. One can talk to the forest supervisor. One can talk to anybody who works there, the parks people, the forest service people, and they will tell my colleagues what is happening to that forest as a result of porous borders, as a result of people being shoved out of Mexico by their own government, across the borders by the thousands and into the United States. We went the next day to Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, just adjacent to the Coronado, also a scene of environmental degradation that is truly disturbing. All of the same problems of the Coronado but it is also the site of the death of a park ranger by the name of Chris Eggle, E-G-G-L-E, Chris Eggle, 28 years old, killed by two Mexicans coming across the border escaping from the crimes they have committed in Mexico, several other murders that they had just committed in relationship to some sort of drug deal, drug situation. Chris was ambushed by them and killed. His life ended at 28 years old in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, and we went there to that site with his father, Robert Eggle. Mr. Eggle has relived this event now three or four times. He has gone down to the national park to see where his son was killed and to relive that event, and he does so because he believes that his son's death cannot be forgotten nor should it be in vain, and it should not in either case. It should not be forgotten, and it certainly should not be in vain. He talks about the need to secure our own borders. He talks about the need to prepare and train the people who have to deal with the invasion that is occurring on our southern border so that the next person confronting someone coming across the border armed with AK-47s will be a little more able to defend themselves than poor Chris was. Then we went the next day to a ranch house, a ranch owned by the Kuykendall family, B.J. and Tom Kuykendall, wonderful people who have lived there for generations, and they brought their neighbors in from all over the county, people who had also lived there for generations and who for generations had dealt with the issue of some degree of illegal immigration, peopling coming across the border periodically. They would seek them out for food. These ranchers would give them food, would sometimes give them jobs; but it was never an issue, never a problem, no big deal. In the last 4 or 5 years something has changed they say. It has become not just an annoyance; it has become a threat to their very existence. Their ranches are being destroyed. Their cattle are being killed. Their homes are being broken into. Their families are being intimidated. Their entire way of life is being threatened, and they ask, where is my government? Who is here to protect us? What is happening to our life? Thousands of people we have on videotape, thousands of people crossing those borders, tearing down the fences, breaking the water wells, destroying the property, bringing with them tons of trash, depositing human waste in amounts that are certainly dangerous in terms of the health issues that they represent, bringing with them diseases that we cannot even treat, we do not have means to treat. We do not have the antibiotics to treat some of the most virulent forms of tuberculosis and something called Shakas disease, all these things being brought across by people into the United States. We are witnessing an invasion. It is an invasion that is being prompted by the Mexican Government to satisfy some of their needs, as was told to me by a Mexican official by the name of Juan Hernandez who was the head of something called the Ministry for Mexicans Living in the United States. And I asked him what is the purpose of such a ministry. It was just created about a year and a half ago, and there were two other Congressmen with me, two other Members of the House who were with me, in Mexico when we visited him. By the way, Mr. Hernandez is a very, very sophisticated gentleman, very urbane, very competent and articulate and a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico and interestingly serves or served on the cabinet of Vicente Fox, an American citizen serving in Mexico on the cabinet of the Mexican President, an interesting situation. He said, the purpose of my agency is to increase the flow of people into the United States, of Mexican nationals into the United States. I said what do you want to do that for, knowing in my heart of course exactly why. Because he had been so forthcoming, so candid, I thought this is great. I have hardly ever heard anybody be so candid about the designs of the Mexican Government vis-a-vis immigration policy; and he said the reason is simple, the more people we have in the United States, the more possibilities there are for us to influence your policy vis-a-vis Mexico, and he said there is the issue of remittances. ``Remittances,'' for those Members who do not know, Mr. Speaker, is just a term that applies to the money that is sent back home to Mexico from people living outside of Mexico, working outside of Mexico, and it actually amounts to a huge amount of money. Some 30-some percent of the Mexican GDP is a result of these remittances. Mexico has also experienced an enormous population growth, almost doubling in 25 years; and they have a stagnant economy because they are stuck with a socialistic economy which is combined with a completely corrupt system from the cop on the beat to the highest levels of government, and that combination makes for a lousy economy, and always will, regardless of NAFTA or free trade arrangements of any kind. Because of that, of course, they need to get some of those people out of there because they are very young, they are unemployed. That is a destabilizing factor and why not send them north. We, on the other hand, have chosen to accept this policy on the part of our southern neighbor and ``friend,'' that ``friend'' by the way who is threatening a ``no'' vote in the security council against the resolution that we are presenting to bring Saddam Hussein to bay. They are threatening a ``no'' vote until we agree to some sort of attempt to provide amnesty for all the Mexican nationals living in the United States illegally. That is their quid pro quo. That is what they want. These are our friends in the south. Now whether they are going to stick, whether we are going to be able to get them to vote ``yes'' or not soon in the security council remains to be seen, but this is what they are presenting to us as being their demands, like Turkey asking for several billion dollars for the right to provide American troops some air space and flyover opportunities. He said that, and he went on to say, Mr. Speaker, another fascinating thing as far as I was concerned, an immensely incredible statement. He said it is not two countries we are talking about. It is just a region. It is not two countries he said. It is just a region. That may be his true opinion. It is the opinion I think of some of the colleagues with whom I serve here, that the borders are really not significant. They are not of importance, they are anachronisms, and that they should be [[Page H1392]] erased for the purposes of allowing for the free flow of goods and services and people. It is a libertarian point of view that is expressed on this floor and by several Members of this body. Mr. Speaker, I want to engender that debate with those folks. I do not want them just talking about it in the halls or with me individually. I want that debate here on this floor in front of the American people. I want to know whether this government, whether this government believes that, in fact, borders are necessary or not. I want to know the opinion of this government because I think I know the opinion of the people of this country, but I may be wrong. I may be in the minority. Maybe it will turn out that, in fact, borders are determined to be by a majority of the people in this body and the President of the United States, they are determined to be irrelevant and that we should allow for the, again, free flow of people, goods, and services. If that is a decision that is reached through the process that we have established for making policy in this country, so be it. I am a ``no'' vote, but so be it. {time} 2200 What I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues, that what is happening is that that is the direction we are moving. That is the de facto sort of arrangement we are going to achieve, an open borders policy. But it will never be as a result of a debate or a particular piece of legislation where people have to vote yes or no. It will always be done in an incremental fashion. And the people in Cochese County will suffer the consequences. Their lives will be ruined. Their ranches will be destroyed. But they will just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the sacrifice that this country will make as a result of our commitment to open borders. Because, of course, the people coming across those borders are not just people who are strewing trash all over the land, breaking fences, poisoning wells, breaking the pipes on wells and allowing all the water to drain out, invading ranch houses, threatening and in fact assaulting ranchers, pulling up these rock barriers on the highway to stop the cars to then carjack the people. It will not be just those people coming across to do ``jobs no one else will do.'' And, by the way, along those lines, about a month ago in the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, a Denver newspaper, there was a very large article about a restaurant, a Mexican restaurant that I have been to several times, called Luna Restaurant. It is in my old stomping grounds in north Denver, and I know it well. There was an article, a strange article, because it was talking about the fact that this restaurant put an ad in the paper for a waiter, a $3-an-hour waiter position. Three dollars an hour. Of course, with tips, you get more. That first day that the ad went in the paper there were 600 applicants for the job. One day, 600 applicants. Now, do you believe, Mr. Speaker, that every one of those 600 applicants were illegal immigrants wanting to do a job that no American would do? I do not think so. I think there were plenty of American citizens looking for that job. But nonetheless, nonetheless this is what we hear all the time; that that is the only thing we have going on; that these are just people coming to do jobs that no American will do and, therefore, we should not be concerned about what is happening on the border, and we should not be concerned by the Kuykendalls or the Barnetts, or any of the other people who have lived there for generations and who are trying to sustain themselves on that border. We should not be concerned about them. We are going to sacrifice them for cheap labor for the Republicans and for potential votes for the Democrats. That is why we refuse to secure our borders. It is a political decision of this body to not secure the borders because of the fact that it will harm what we believe to be a political base, a power base that we either want to get or that we have at the present time, and all the time these people are coming across those borders, yes, mostly with no ill intent, most with the same purpose of my grandparents and perhaps yours, who came to seek a better life. But across those porous borders also come other people, people with much more dangerous motives. And you see, Mr. Speaker, we have not figured out a way to create a sieve on the border that effectively siphons out those people who are coming across with no ill intent and keeps out those who have other purposes in mind. We do not know how to do that. So, therefore, the border is open and we are fearful of closing it. Because if you close the border, if you seal your borders and only allow people to come in legally, then you stop the flow of illegal immigration. And the country of Mexico becomes disturbed by that, because now they have to deal with the problem of unemployment, the problem of their own sinking economy, and the fact that the United States Government may not be quite as sympathetic to their particular concerns. So they do not like the idea of closing those borders and they, in fact, make demands upon the United States to keep those borders open and let their people come through. They even provide buses for them, observed on our side of the border through binoculars; buses that come up to the border and unload people who walk across into the United States. These buses are part of a governmental project, a governmental agency. We do nothing about it because we are fearful of the response. We do not like the possibility that the political ramifications in the United States to either party might be detrimental. So we put this Nation at risk, we put our very lives at risk, and we damage not only our national security apparatus and we place upon those agencies given the responsibility for internal security issues, finding out who is here to do us harm, we place upon them enormous burdens of trying to identify people in a sea of people who are here as immigrants. This is not good for the United States. Beyond that, I go back to the original part of my discussion here this evening. It does something to us, Mr. Speaker, in our inability to create a society that has a singleness of purpose and an understanding of exactly who and what we are. I had the opportunity to have lunch not too long ago with a Catholic bishop in Denver by the name of Bishop Gomez, a very fine gentleman who happens to disagree with me entirely on this issue. And he said to me at lunch, Congressman, I do not know why you get so exercised about this. He said, you know, for the most part, these people coming here from Mexico today, they do not want to be Americans. They do not want to be Americans. He was thinking that would alleviate my concerns. I said, well, of course, Bishop, that is the problem. The other thing is, the agency I mentioned earlier, the Ministry for Mexicans Living in the United States, the other thing that was stated by Mr. Hernandez in that very candid conversation that we had was that part of his responsibility was to work with the Mexican nationals who had come to the United States to make sure that they retained, as he said, a connection to Mexico, a political, cultural, linguistic connection to Mexico. Because they want them, he said, to continue to have that loyalty to Mexico. Otherwise, pretty soon they are not sending home the kind of money that they are today, and also they are not agitating for any sort of change in American policy to Mexico if they essentially go native. That is really what he was concerned about, that the Mexicans would come here and essentially become part of the American mainstream, integrate into the American culture, become Americans. But as Bishop Gomez says, that is not their intent. That is not their desire. They are here to get a job, make some money, send it back, perhaps go home later. Well, you see, many people could have come here over the centuries for that same purpose, without any strong desire to become American, but in fact this country forced them into it. There was no such thing as a multiculturalist philosophy that permeated American culture. We did not allow for people to remain segregated for all that long. We required, in order for them to, as my grandfather had to do, in order to achieve anything in this country, he had to do a couple of things. One was to learn English. And my grandfather, and perhaps yours, and certainly most people that I know, their grandparents came here with a strong desire to separate themselves [[Page H1393]] from the past and from the countries from which they came. No desire to hang on to that. A desire to become American. And there were obstacles put up sometimes in this country. You know, we were antagonistic to immigrants many times. But over the course of time, and with a strong desire to integrate, what we saw was this infusion of people into the American mainstream that made us a great Nation. Diversity, in fact, can be a good thing. But unity is also a good thing. E pluribus unum, out of many, one. Not out of many, many, which is today's concept, today's admonition. So I think this issue of immigration has many implications, far far greater than, as I say, are discussed most of the time with regard to issues like jobs and other things. This will determine, Mr. Speaker, I believe, not just what kind of country we will be, that is divided or united, but this issue will determine whether we will be a country at all; whether we will be a Nation at all. That is why it is worthy of our debate on this floor and in this House. We are challenged by a variety of things in this world, and our ability to succeed will be based almost entirely upon our ability to defend, understand and, therefore, defend the principles of western civilization. And I think it is something worth thinking about. And as I say, Mr. Speaker, I may be wrong. I may be totally wrong; completely, 100 percent, wrong. I want the debate, however. Is that too much to ask, I wonder? And let us determine the course of our Nation. Let it not happen in a way that does not allow for the intelligent analysis of the events and their implications. Let us think about who we are, what we are, where we are going, and what we have to do to get there. We can certainly allow people into this country from all over the world, from Mexico and Africa and Asia and Europe. We can allow them from all over the world, but we have to determine how this will happen and it has to be a process that we determine to be governed by the rule of law. How you come into this country should be a factor of the laws that we pass in this body, and that is all I ask. That is the plea I make tonight. It is for the United States, it is for Western Civilization, and for the threats that I see that are aligned and arrayed against it. ____________________