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[Congressional Record: June 9, 2003 (House)]
[Page H5075-H5081]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                           IMMIGRATION REFORM

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Feeney). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 7, 2003, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) 
is recognized for half the time until midnight, approximately 56 1/2 
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, it has been very elucidating listening to 
the folks who have such concerns about the possibility of a tax cut 
going to people that think they deserve it, and although it is not the 
topic of my discussion tonight or my presentation, I still feel it is 
worthy of some sort of rhetoric, and that is what we are really seeing, 
interestingly, is a discussion of what should be the tax cut policy of 
this country as proposed by the Democrats.
  That is great. It is great to hear. It is a wonderful thing actually 
to hear Democrats say things like we need a tax cut. I am sure they 
almost have to gag when they say it, but the reality is we need a tax 
cut. It is just not the one that you guys proposed. You guys proposed a 
tax cut for the rich and all this and other stuff, but what is even 
more fascinating about this, Mr. Speaker, is that we all know, there is 
not a single person in this body who thinks, and perhaps I hope very 
few people in the listening audience in America who think, that there 
would be any tax cut proposal from the other side tonight or any other 
time had not we proposed one first.
  Does anybody really believe that if the other party were in charge of 
the Congress of the United States or the White House that there would 
be any sort of tax cut proposal we would be debating? Does anybody 
really think for a second that there would have been something that the 
Democrats would have said we need a tax cut, because those words do not 
emanate freely and easily from our friends on the other side. They are 
prompted, they are urged and they come with great difficulty; and so 
they say, well, okay, we have a tax cut, we want a tax cut, but in 
reality, it is not the one that you guys have proposed.
  We will take a tax cut anytime, anyplace, anywhere. A tax cut is 
essentially and generally a good thing. Having people pay less of their 
hard-earned money for the task of expanded government is a good thing, 
I think, and so the fact that we would have even gotten the Democrats 
into the position of debating what their tax cut policy would be is a 
great, great boon for America. It is a great thing for all of us to 
have them try to stand up and defend a tax cut policy that they would 
never have put in place in a million years. No one thinks it, no one 
believes it, no one has the slightest idea that that would have come 
out of the Democratic Party had they been in charge of the Congress of 
the United States.
  That is part of who we are and what we are all about is reducing the 
cost of government to the people of this country; and so they think, 
well, we have to figure out a way to attack that. We have to attack the 
President. We have to attack the Party, the Republican Party, for doing 
this. How do we do it? I know. Let us drag up all of those things that 
we have used, time after time after time, somewhat successfully. Let us 
always say that it is the rich guys that the Republicans are giving a 
break to and it is the poor that are not getting their due rewards, and 
maybe they will buy it this time, or I should say maybe they will still 
buy it. Maybe we can still get the people who

[[Page H5076]]

believe that, in fact, people should not be, that people do not, in 
fact, earn what they attain through the labor and the sweat of their 
brow, and that somehow or other everyone in this race of life should 
end up at the finish line at the same time.
  I used to teach ninth grade social studies at Jefferson County Drake 
Junior High, and one time one of my students asked about the difference 
between conservatives and liberals and how I would describe that. I 
said, I am a conservative and I want you to take that into 
consideration when I tell you how I think about that. I said, this is 
the way I really do envision our division in our country between these 
two major philosophies of the Republicans generally and Democrats 
generally. Republicans are generally conservative. Democrats are 
generally liberal. Not all, of course; differences on both sides. But 
for the most part, you can say this: that if you look at life as a 
race, and start at birth, and the finish line is death, and a lot of 
things can happen to you in between time, and you are trying to 
accomplish certain goals as you move through life, that for the most 
part a liberal would say that everyone has to end up at the finish line 
at the same time. That is the important role of government, to make 
sure that everyone ends up at the finish line at the same time, that 
there are no winners and there are no losers; everybody gets there at 
the same time.
  That is an idealistic approach and idealistic thought and philosophy. 
And remember, I am trying to explain this to ninth graders. I said, 
then, on the other hand, you have conservatives I think are saying if 
the government has any role at all, it makes sure the gate opens up 
exactly at the same time and everybody has the same opportunity, and if 
government has any role at all, it is to make sure there are no 
obstacles in the way, but no one is going to make sure you end up at 
the finish line at the same time because if you do that, of course, it 
is not a race. Pretty soon, if you do that, everybody walks because why 
should you run? It does not matter; we will all be at the finish line 
at the same time.
  It is true, it can be portrayed as hard-hearted from a conservative 
standpoint to say that government's responsibility is to simply make 
sure that the gates open on time and that from that point on make sure 
that there are no obstacles in the race, and there will be losers, 
there will be winners, and people will say how dare you, how can you 
accept that? That is, the government should not be in the position of 
accepting the idea that there are winners and losers. That is the way 
of life.
  I wish I could be on an NBA team. I am not tall enough. I am not 
capable of it. There are a lot of things I cannot do as a result of 
some of the shortcomings, literally and figuratively, that I think I 
face. And so no matter how much I would like the government to make 
sure I could get on that team, and therefore participate, and want the 
government to make sure that I am able to make baskets the same way as 
any other member of that team, it does not work that way.
  So I think our position is right. I think that in fact in the race of 
life, the government has relatively few responsibilities, and that the 
most important one is to make sure that the gates open up exactly at 
the same time and there are no obstacles in the track and that whoever 
ends up at the finish line, some win and some do not, and there are a 
hundred different races. We all are better at some things than others. 
It is not just where you race. We all accomplish certain things that we 
can do better than other people, and that is, again, the way of life.

                              {time}  2215

  We have to accept that. But our friends on the other side of the 
aisle keep suggesting that somehow or other we have to say that in fact 
all people will end up at the finish line at the same time, and that is 
a winning sort of political proposal. People will respond, especially 
those who know they cannot make it to the finish line will say, yes, we 
should have the government stop everybody else until I get there. But 
in the total scheme of things, I do not think that will be the best for 
the country. I hope America understands when we start talking about tax 
cuts and who should get them and who should not, the reality is that if 
the Democrats were in charge of this place, there would be no tax cuts, 
there would be tax increases because that is the way they run 
government. That is the way they ran it for 40 years. That is why we 
are in power, and they are not.
  Now I want to get on to the issue that I wanted to address tonight, 
and that of course revolves around the issue of immigration and 
immigration reform. Tonight I want to talk about a couple of things. 
First of all, I want to talk about the impact of legal and illegal 
immigration on American society in one particular area, the area of 
jobs. A lot of the rhetoric we have heard on the floor and we will 
certainly hear over and over again revolves around whether or not the 
tax cut package we have just passed in this Congress and signed by the 
President, whether or not that will create jobs because we all know 
that is an important thing for the country and that is what we all 
  The creation of jobs, I do not know of a single person in the 
Congress who would be opposed to it. Members recognize it is an 
important thing for us all, and it will be the stimulus for America in 
terms of us getting on the road to economic recovery.
  Well, there are various ways to do that; and I believe firmly that 
tax cuts do in fact create a stimulus that will improve the opportunity 
for many Americans and improve the job opportunities, especially for 
millions of Americans. I believe that. But there is something else, Mr. 
Speaker, that could be done and that no one, not our side, not their 
side, no one wants to talk about, and that is the number of jobs that 
would be created if we enforced our immigration laws. That is all. Just 
that. Not even impose new immigration laws or try to deal with the fact 
that we have got crossing our borders every day literally thousands and 
thousands of people coming, low-skilled people who are seeking jobs in 
America and getting them by employers who are using these folks and, in 
fact, abusing them in many ways.
  But if we just enforced the laws on the books, and surprising as it 
may be, it is against the law to hire someone who is here illegally. 
Now, who does not know somebody who may be or probably is hiring 
somebody or is in fact working for somebody in violation of that law. 
We all do. We all have anecdotal references we make to instances where 
somebody may be here working and they may be here illegally. We all 
know that.
  Now the first thing we usually hear when we raise the question is the 
question of real-world impact on American jobs and employment, and that 
these millions of illegal immigrants take only the jobs that Americans 
do not want to do. That is a mantra. We have to have people here from 
all over the world taking jobs because in fact there are a few jobs 
that Americans will not do, and we need all these folks to do the hard 
  I am sure Members have heard that refrain many, many times. If it 
were true, the other problems brought about by illegal immigration 
would still remain, but we would not be worried about the loss of jobs 
or an adverse impact on wage rates. But is it true that illegal 
immigrants are taking jobs that no one else would take, no American 
citizen? I believe that the weight of the evidence is that it is not 
true. I believe there is ample evidence to the contrary. I believe 
there is ample evidence that illegal immigrants are increasingly taking 
jobs that American citizens would do willingly if wage rates for these 
jobs were not artificially suppressed by the ready supply of cheap 
labor from so-called undocumented aliens.
  Mr. Speaker, about 6 months ago now, there was an article in the 
Denver paper, the Rocky Mountain News, and it was interesting because 
it was a news article rather than a want ad; but it was a news article 
about a want ad and the article was about an ad that had been placed in 
the paper by a restaurant in Denver, a restaurant I have visited many 
times and know well, it is called Luna Restaurant. It is in an area 
where I grew up in north Denver. The article was interesting because it 
said Luna Restaurant puts an ad in the paper for a $3-an-hour waiter. 
We all know that waiters and waitresses make less than minimum wage 
because tips

[[Page H5077]]

are included. So this position was for a $3-an-hour waiter. The article 
was in the paper because it was a news story. And what was the news 
story? The news story was the day that the article appeared there were 
600 applicants for the job.
  Mr. Speaker, maybe some of those people, maybe a majority of those 
people were here illegally and were willing to do jobs that no one else 
was willing to do, but I do not believe that all 600 applicants were 
illegal immigrants. I believe a lot of them were American citizens 
looking for a job.
  It is undoubtedly and undeniably true that illegal aliens will work 
for lower wage rates than legal immigrants or American citizens. They 
do so because the wage is higher than they would earn back in Mexico, 
Guatemala, or other poorer nations. We all understand this, and most 
Americans sympathize with their plight. We can admire people willing to 
travel thousands of miles and evade the U.S. Border Patrol to get to 
Chicago or Philadelphia or Seattle in order to better their lives 
economically. There is nothing wrong with that goal in and of itself, 
and we can respect it because it is the goal that was in front of all 
of our grandparents or great grandparents or however long ago our 
family heritage established roots here in the United States.
  But there are several things wrong with the consequences of that 
behavior; and they need to be discussed even though it is not popular 
to do so, even though people get very antsy when you bring this 
up. They sort of go, oh, gosh, he is going to start talking about 
immigration again. I do not like dealing with that because people might 
think I am a racist or a xenophobe, so let us not talk about. Well, it 
needs to be talked about.

  First of all, one of the consequences of the behavior is that people 
are entering our country illegally, and the habit of breaking one law 
for economic benefit often creates a disregard for law and a 
willingness to violate other laws for personal benefit. And the more we 
choose to ignore it, the more we pretend that it is a law that we can 
wink at, a law that, gee, I know it is a law, but, and I have heard 
that 100 times. If it is a law, but, if it is a law that does not have 
importance, if it is a law that is not meaningful, then I urge this 
body to do what it should do.
  Mr. Speaker, if there are laws in the books in America that are no 
longer valid and meaningful, repeal them. I urge this body to actually 
address this issue head on and bring a bill forward in this body that 
says we will repeal all laws regarding immigration. We will essentially 
erase our borders. We will eliminate the Border Patrol, close the 
stations, the ports of entry because after all, we cannot control it. 
And if people want to come to the United States, for the most benign or 
most wonderful reasons, the reasons that we can all applaud, let them 
come. Why should we call someone here illegal? Why should we draw any 
sort of conclusions about someone who came into this country without 
our permission? Let us just let them all come from wherever they want 
to come and as many as wish to come.
  Now, I want that debated in this House. I want Members to vote yea or 
nay to this concept. If you vote ``yea,'' you are for erasing the 
borders. You can make that case to your constituents. Try and make that 
case. Some of us will be able to do so. Some of us will not be at all 
excited about that possibility and will vote ``no.'' I will not vote 
for such a bill, of course. I am a ``no'' vote because I do not believe 
it is good for America. I will tell Members I am a ``no'' vote on the 
issue of eliminating borders. I believe it goes to the very basic, to 
the heart of what we call our country, to the heart of national 
sovereignty. I will make the case as strongly as I can against any sort 
of bill that would in fact invalidate the borders. But that is exactly 
what we are doing, Mr. Speaker, every single day.
  That is the problem. It is happening, our opponents, the people who 
want the elimination of borders, know they can accomplish their goal by 
pretending that they support national sovereignty and national 
security. They can stand up and suggest that all day long. They do not 
want to vote on this idea of whether or not we should erase our borders 
because in their heart of hearts many people want to, and many times 
they want to for political reasons. They know that people coming into 
this country as immigrants tend to vote for one party over the other. 
They tend to vote for the Democrats. The other side of the aisle knows 
  Again, this is not brain surgery we are dealing with here. It is 
politics 101. How do they gain supporters, especially when their side 
is losing? Where do they look? If the majority of Americans are now 
turning to the Republican Party or becoming more conservative and 
expressing that, where do the Democrats look for people who will 
support their efforts? Where do they look for people who support their 
efforts, for greater welfare and expanded government? They go to the 
immigrant class coming into the United States.
  So it is not unusual, it is not illogical, it is not crazy for us to 
deal with it in that way, for political parties to look at it that way. 
So our friends on the other side of the aisle see massive immigration 
and say, I do not care whether they are coming here legally or not. 
They eventually become my voters, so I am for it. So I am going to on 
the one side of my mouth I am going to suggest that we need national 
security, everybody should come in legally, wink, wink. On the other 
side I am going to say we need your help, we need your labor, and vote 
for me when you get here, whether you do so legally or not.
  On our side of the aisle, on the Republican side of the aisle, we 
have many Members who look at this whole thing and say there is an 
awful lot of cheap labor that is coming into this country, and that is 
good for business. That keeps wage rates low, prices low, and what is 
good for business, as Calvin Coolidge said, is good for America.
  Mr. Speaker, in this case it is not good for America. I would 
challenge my opponents on the other side of the aisle and I would 
challenge my opponents on this side of the aisle that massive 
immigration today both legally and illegally is not good for America.
  Now, as I mentioned, the first consequence of ignoring the fact that 
people come in illegally and break our laws is that is the wrong way to 
start off your citizenship in the United States. Of course it is not 
citizenship, your residency in the United States.

                              {time}  2230

  The second consequence of this law-breaking behavior, the consequence 
of entering our country illegally, is that they also enter our labor 
market illegally. It is this consequence that I wish to talk about this 
  I want to ask you to consider, Mr. Speaker, some aspects of this 
underground labor market that is not getting much attention or 
discussion in the press and not much attention by this body or 
policymakers in general. In the first place, with the possible 
exception of a few agricultural jobs, it is simply not true that 
Americans will not do certain jobs because of their low status or 
because they involve hard labor. We have done these jobs throughout our 
history and well into the second half of the 20th century. 
Mechanization of agriculture over the past 100 years has led to a 
diminishing need for farm labor and our food is the least expensive in 
the world because of this. This trend was well established long before 
agricultural interests started relying on migrant labor and becoming 
more and more dependent on illegal migrant labor. Fewer and fewer 
Americans were needed to harvest our crops and there was an adequate 
supply of indigenous labor in the vast majority of cases. Harvesting 
peaches and tomatoes and strawberries is indeed very hard work. 
Mechanization has taken over in many crops but there is still a need 
for some amount of seasonal physical labor in some sectors of 
agriculture. Does this require 8 or 10 or 13 million illegal 
immigrants? I do not think so.
  There is another aspect of this that is very important to understand, 
Mr. Speaker, and, that is, when we allow massive immigration of low-
skilled, low-wage workers, we have a tendency, therefore, to screw 
around with the market in a way. What we do is actually delay the 
implementation of the use of technology to accomplish certain goals. 
Specifically I remember when we used to have a bracero program in the 
United States. That was a program that allowed migrant workers, mostly 
from Mexico, to come in and do

[[Page H5078]]

agricultural labor. And they had to return to Mexico and they could not 
bring families. When that program was ended, there was an outcry from 
the tomato growers in the United States. There was a massive sort of 
rush to legislative remedies. They wanted us to do something because 
they kept saying, it is impossible for us to actually do our job. We 
cannot possibly grow tomatoes, we cannot harvest tomatoes, without the 
help of this kind of labor. So we ended up in a situation where we went 
ahead and eliminated this bracero program. And what happened? Did 
tomato growers go out of business as they said they would? No. They 
were forced to actually invest in technology, to invest in different 
kinds of technology and actually develop some sort of mechanized 
approach to doing the labor that had been done heretofore by 
individuals. So today tomato growers in the United States are far more 
productive than they ever were before when they relied solely on 
individuals picking tomatoes. Now they can do it with machines, now 
they can do it more cost effectively, and they are more productive in 
the process.
  So when we import massive numbers of illegal workers into this 
country, or even legal workers who are low-skilled, low-wage workers, 
we need to actually again get involved and kind of skew the 
marketplace. We mess up the process that should lead to a development 
of greater use of technology and productivity. To the extent that 
American workers cannot be found for some seasonal agricultural jobs, 
that need can be met by a new guest worker program. I intend to 
introduce legislation to accomplish that goal very soon. A well-
designed and properly managed guest worker program would allow migrant 
workers to come into this country legally, work as long as they are 
needed in jobs that are certified as requiring foreign nationals and 
then return to their homes. That is the important part we ought to 
remember about guest worker. Guest worker is a program that allows 
people to come into the country for a period of time, do a specific 
job, and return to their country of origin. That is a guest worker 
program. On the other side, you can have people come into the country 
and begin the process of becoming a citizen of the United States; that 
is called immigration. Two different things.
  We are right now by far the most liberal Nation on the planet in 
terms of who we let come into the country legally, 1 million, 1.5 
million every year. We are also, of course, the most liberal Nation in 
the world in terms of who we let come into the country illegally, 1 
million, 1.5 million people every year, that we turn a blind eye to. We 
do so for the reasons I mentioned earlier, political advantage for the 
Democrats, a business interest for the Republicans. And so we ignore 
the law.
  Once again I go back and say to my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle, if you want to accomplish your goals and let people into the 
country at their desire, not in any way, shape, or form connected to 
our needs in this country, if you want to do that to the Democratic 
Party, fine. To Republicans, if you want to just have a massive influx 
of low-skilled, low-wage workers in order to reduce the cost of labor, 
fine, let us tell America that is where we stand. Let us have a bill 
that actually eliminates the borders, allows people to come at their 
desire, not in response to our need. Let us do that. Let us let 
Americans know how you feel about this. Unfortunately, I do not think 
we are going to get that bill in this session or the next session, 
because I have never seen it introduced by anybody on either side of 
the aisle.
  And so when the other side of the aisle, the Democrats, talk about 
job creation and the need to protect workers in America, I find it 
always fascinating that they never ever want to talk about the thing 
that would protect American workers to a very large extent, and that is 
to actually control our own borders and to allow people into this 
country based upon our needs and to determine what those are. If they 
are, in fact, needs that can only be filled by low-skilled, low-wage 
workers, fine. If that is it, fine. If in reality, quote, no American 
wants to do these jobs, then, yeah, they are open to anybody who wants 
to come in and work hard and accomplish their life's goals.
  What about the jobs in other areas, the so-called low-status jobs 
that now employ illegal aliens? What about restaurants and car washes 
and leaf blowers and gardeners and carpet installers and hotel and 
motel housekeeping staff? These are a few of the typical jobs we are 
told that cannot be filled except by illegal aliens who will work for 
less money than legal workers or citizens. But should we stop and think 
about the statement they will work for less money, because that is 
really what we should add to the first part of the statement. There are 
jobs Americans will not do, at least for the money someone is willing 
to pay them to do it. It is true, but it is half a truth and hides a 
deeper reality. The illegal aliens will indeed work for less money 
because they can, because they come from a culture where $6 an hour is 
more than a living wage, and that family members often pool their 
incomes and share living quarters. This is to their credit. I do not 
mean to demean their efforts. They are doing exactly what my 
grandparents did and our great grandparents or however long ago our 
individual families ended up in this country. Most of them came for the 
same reason. I do not for a moment mean to demean that particular goal. 
But it is only half the story and the half that everyone sees and 
understands. The other half is that American workers used to do these 
jobs before the supply of cheap foreign labor drove down wage rates 
relative to the rest of the economy. In other words, the conventional 
wisdom has the story exactly backwards. We do not have 8 to 13 million 
illegal aliens in this country because we need them to fill jobs. We 
have 8 to 13 million illegal aliens in this country because there is a 
ready supply of cheap labor to keep wage rates low. We have that ready 
supply of cheap labor because we have an open border policy.
  Once again, maybe you can make this case, Mr. Speaker. Maybe it is 
something that all Americans will agree with. Maybe our friends on the 
other side of the aisle and my colleagues on this side will in their 
heart of hearts say, yes, it is true that we have to keep people in 
very low-wage situations because it is good for the economy. I just 
want them to make that case to their constituents, that is all. That is 
all that I ask. I want them to tell the people who are struggling in 
those low-wage jobs that they are there and they are going to be there 
for a long time, and there is no real opportunity for advancement 
because open borders will keep wage rates low and, therefore, the 
economy moving.
  Do we need an open borders policy? Not to help our economy, which 
would adjust and prosper without the supply of cheap labor, just as I 
mentioned earlier in what I described about what happened in the tomato 
growing industry. It is interesting how business does adjust and how 
the economy does in fact relate to these things called labor shortages. 
We would adjust and we would prosper without the supply of cheap labor. 
But because it benefits Mexico and maintains good relations with the 
Mexican Government and because it benefits the cheap labor advocates in 
the Congress of the United States and the political advantage that our 
friends in the Democratic Party get because of massive immigration, we 
will continue the program. If these workers were not available, if we 
did not maintain an open border policy, our economy would adjust and we 
would continue to be the most prosperous Nation in the world. The few 
companies that must have such low-wage workers in order to compete in 
the marketplace will move their plants to the source of the labor. But 
our history teaches that most employers will not do this. Denied a 
source of below-market cheap labor, employers will generally not move 
their operations. Instead, they do one of two things. They will either 
mechanize their operations, as agriculture has in fact done steadily 
over the past 150 years, or they will raise their wages to attract 
American workers or legal workers.
  Actually there is another part to this. We will increase 
productivity. That is what we have done. Because in reality, no matter 
how much we talk about the need for open borders, it is very difficult 
to compete in a world in which, today especially, you can move work to 
worker anyplace in the world. So how does American labor compete? It is 
not, frankly, with just the importation of cheap labor; it is with the 
development and the continual increase

[[Page H5079]]

of productivity by the American worker. When this is done across the 
entire industry, it does not disadvantage any one employer because all 
employers are in the same boat. Costs to the consumer will rise as the 
cost of labor rises, but the product will be produced and will be 
available on the market. To cite one of the most obvious examples, if 
restaurants in New York City and San Francisco and Dallas could not 
employ these illegal immigrants as their dishwashers and busboys and 
valet parking attendants, they would be forced to pay slightly higher 
wages to legal workers. Would they all go out of business? No, they 
would not. I respectfully submit that it would not be a calamity for 
our economy to have to pay a price for a prime rib dinner that would 
move from like $16 to $16.50, and the price of delivery of pizza to go 
up 50 percent, if the car wash goes up from $12 to $13, if the price of 
a Motel 6 room increases from $34.95 in Lubbock to $36.95.
  I recognize that this might be a difficult adjustment for some 
people, but we have been through hardships that we endured and we can 
endure this one. To offset these temporary adjustments in our life-
style, there would be many favorable things that would happen in our 
economy if the supply of cheap labor and illegal labor was cut off. The 
first thing we would notice is that our college students could in fact 
find summer jobs and part-time jobs year around. Some of the 8 million 
unemployed Americans would find jobs in the service industries at a 
higher wage than is now offered. As the job magnet disappears, the flow 
of illegal aliens across our borders, now estimated at 1.5 million a 
year, would stop. This would have some very positive effects on our 
economy. Hospitals, law enforcement agencies, and public schools all 
across the border States and in many of our bigger cities would notice 
a diminished burden on their budgets. As a result, State and local 
governments all across the West and South would discover they have 
revenues available that had previously been devoted to the needs of a 
growing immigrant community. Legal immigrants seeking jobs would not be 
competing with people willing to work for below-market wages. The U.S. 
Border Patrol and the Customs Service could concentrate all of their 
energies on stopping the flow of illegal drugs into our Nation instead 
of worrying about the flow of illegal people; people like several 
members of my own community in Denver, Colorado; people in my own 
neighborhood. One gentleman in particular comes to mind. He is employed 
in the high-tech industry, and we will talk about that in a few 
minutes, about exactly what is happening there because we have spent 
most of the time talking about low-skilled, low-wage workers, but there 
is just as big a problem, if not more so, in the area of white collar 
workers, high-skilled workers in the United States and the various 
programs that we operate to bring people into this country to displace 
American workers in this area. My friend is one of those.

                              {time}  2245

  He is an individual that has been out of work for a year or year and 
a half in the high-tech industry. He now works a little bit for us, and 
at nighttime drives a limousine to keep a roof over his head and food 
on the table. If you ask him, you know, when you were a high-tech 
worker and in this very high position in this industry that you were 
involved in, would you believe that you would be driving a limousine at 
night picking people up and taking them to the airport, he would said 
no; but it does not matter, because that is what I need to do. That is 
what I have to do today.
  That is the case for millions of Americans. They are looking for ways 
to keep the roof over their heads and food on the table. They will take 
jobs. They will take jobs, if available.
  As I said, Mr. Speaker, the 600 people that applied for that $3-an-
hour job at the Luna Restaurant as a waiter were not all illegal 
immigrants. I do not know how many, but I would guess 50 percent were 
people who have lived here all their lives. They were American 
citizens, and they were looking for a job; and their chances of getting 
it were diminished by the fact that so many people are here and working 
here and living here illegally.
  I want to reiterate, it is not a slam against those people. They are 
doing what they need to do, what they want to do, what they have to do 
to try to improve theirs lives. I totally understand and relate to 
that. I empathize with them in every single way. I know what my 
grandparents went through, and I hear this a thousand times, that we 
are a Nation of immigrants and everybody came here and worked hard.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a time when in America we have to determine what 
our needs are, what our needs are, and to what extent we want to 
disenfranchise and do things that do not benefit the American citizens 
of this country, so as to improve the lot of those people who are not 
citizens. How much of what we have in America do we wish to diminish? 
How much has to sink in order to allow this other part to rise? This is 
something we have to think about. It is harsh. I know that to many 
people, they feel that to be something that they would just as soon not 
think about, not deal with; but it is important for us to understand 
and deal with.
  Is it right? Is it okay? If it is, if you believe so, if you come 
down on the side that says that we need to in fact allow for markets to 
work and simply have as many people who want a job in the United States 
to come across the border and get it, if that is true, if that is what 
we want, then eliminate the border. Erase the border. Forget about a 
border. Allow people to come to this country at their whim, at their 
desire. Allow them to come from every country in the world.
  Now, what would happen, I ask? Would all of our lives be benefited? 
Would everybody in the United States be better off, the people living 
here, would they be better off as a result? Would the quality of our 
life go up, or would it be diminished? If it would increase, let us do 
it. Let us pass the bill. Let us put it on the floor; let us debate it. 
To the extent you can make the case to the American public that the 
United States should be open to every single person in every single 
country who wants to come here, then let us do it.
  The thing I just hate, the thing that I rail against, is the idea 
that we are going to actually accomplish that goal, but we are going to 
sneak it through. We are not going to tell Americans that is what we 
want, that is the goal we are trying to accomplish, to reduce 
everyone's standard of living in order to accomplish this sort of 
idealistic libertarian goal of having markets actually determine all 
aspects of our society. Let us just say it. That is what I want from 
this Congress. That is what I expect from my colleagues and the 
President of the United States. I expect him to tell the truth about 
where we are going, about what they want to accomplish, because it is 
one or the other. We cannot have it both ways. Either you have 
unlimited massive immigration into the country, the elimination of the 
borders, or you do not.
  There is another very important dimension to this whole debate over 
illegal workers, and it is a good news story when you really look into 
it and understand it. I am thinking of the role that millions of 
American workers play in our Social Security trust fund and the 
actuaries for payout to tomorrow's retirees.
  One of the arguments frequently heard in this Capitol is that the 
Nation benefits from all these illegal workers because many of them do 
in fact pay into the Social Security system, but they never gain any of 
the benefits. The argument runs that if they are a net-plus for the 
system, they will help fund the future payouts for retirees.
  A recent research report by economist John Attarian called 
``Immigration: Wrong Answer For Social Security'' examines the numbers 
and the projects and comes to a different conclusion entirely.

  Dr. Attarian's analysis of all the most pertinent research by many 
organizations and many pro-immigration advocates shows that in order to 
make any significant dent in the long-term deficit projected for the 
Social Security system, we would have to quadruple the number of high-
wage immigrants in the technology field, not the low-wage workers who 
come from across our borders illegally. Moreover, the actual fiscal 
effects of massive illegal immigration are probably negative,

[[Page H5080]]

because the low-wage workers contribute less in Social Security payroll 
taxes than the workers they displace.
  If you depress the wage rates paid to workers in order to hire 
illegal aliens instead of higher-wage citizens, you decrease the net 
income of the Social Security trust fund. You do not increase it.
  Yet there is another aspect of this labor market that needs greater 
attention and some serious scrutiny. We have talked only about the myth 
of low-wage jobs that supposedly no one wants to do. There is a growing 
problem with higher-level jobs that are now being taken by illegal 
aliens and that no one wants to talk about.
  This is a strange thing, this public silence about the loss of jobs 
in the construction industry, jobs that pay $12, $14 and $15 an hour, 
that are being filled by illegal workers.
  Please, someone explain to me how it is that contractors cannot find 
legal workers to do these jobs? Do you really believe, does anyone in 
this body, anyone even in Washington, where the air here is so rarified 
that it has sometimes affected all of our thinking and we have a hard 
time relating to the people we represent, the working Americans, does 
it really occur to anyone that there are in fact many Americans who 
will not take $12 to $14 or $15 hour jobs in the construction industry, 
and therefore they go begging and we have to import illegal aliens?
  The explanation, however, is simple. The jobs that a contractor is 
willing to pay an illegal worker $14 an hour to do, he would have to 
pay $16 to $18 to carpenters, union workers, brick masons and union 
workers. More importantly, when hiring the illegal worker instead of 
the American worker, the employer does not have to pay withholding tax 
or workman's comp or health benefits. Thus, he reduces his labor costs 
by as much as 50 percent by breaking the law.
  You may be surprised to learn that this practice is very widespread 
in our Nation, especially in the West and Midwest. The Denver Post 
recently ran a front page investigative report on this phenomenon. The 
investigative reporter revealed that there is a large underground 
network of labor brokers who specialize in providing illegal workers 
for the construction industry. They provide buses and transport illegal 
workers from one site to another when a project is completed. There are 
thousands of workers involved in this scheme all across the West and 
  Two very interesting questions arise when looking at this matter. The 
first one is obvious: Why does the U.S. Labor Department let employers 
get away with this violation of our labor laws? Why are arrests and 
prosecutions so rare?
  The second question is not so obvious, but it is equally curious: Why 
are the labor unions not objecting to this loss of jobs to their 
members? Thousands of jobs, and probably tens of thousands on a 
national scale, are going to illegal workers who are not union members.
  Where is the voice? Where is the process of the AFL-CIO when union 
workers lose their jobs and are displaced by illegal aliens? Where is 
the protest from our deficit hawks when the IRS loses millions of 
dollars in withholding because these illegal workers are paid off the 
books or as independent contractors who do not have to pay withholding?
  Where is the protest by the proponents of workers' safety rules and 
standards when it is revealed that hundreds of thousands of workers are 
not being covered by workman's comp laws because employers are skirting 
the law in wholesale fashion, and neither the U.S. Labor Department nor 
State authorities are willing to do anything about it?
  Where are the Nation's frontline newspapers and news networks? Is 
this story not told because it is not politically correct to talk about 
  I will soon introduce a new guest worker program that will offer a 
real and equitable solution to the so-called labor shortage. We will 
authorize unlimited guest workers into this country to fill legitimate 
jobs that cannot ``be filled by citizens and legal residents.'' If the 
employer can demonstrate a real need, if he can offer a job to a 
foreign national, then that worker can enter the job market and work at 
it for up to 2 years. There will be penalties for fraud, and a part of 
the worker's wages will be withheld until he or she returns to the home 
  This is another issue. We will see other Members introduce 
legislation for guest worker programs; and for the most part, they will 
be disguised as a guest worker program with the purpose of creating 
amnesty for people who are here illegally. This cannot be. This is 
absolutely inappropriate. We should never, ever, ever reward people for 
breaking the law, whether it is the employer who benefits or the 
illegal alien. We should not do that as a Congress; we should not do 
that as a Nation.

  So if you need to come into this country and if we need the labor, we 
should have a legal process for that to occur, a process that 
guarantees the rights of the people coming into the country so they are 
not abused by the people who are hired by them to sneak them into the 
country, the coyotes, the people that packed them into the back of 
semis, like in Texas, where they died, 19 of them just recently, or 
where they bring them into the country or bring them near the border 
and the women are raped and the men in the family are robbed and they 
are shoved into the border.
  We have testimony from people who have ranches near the southern 
border, and at nighttime they can hear the screams of women being raped 
by the coyotes who have taken them to this point where the promised 
land is just on the other side, but at that point they take advantage 
of them in every single way imaginable and shove them into the desert 
and they die there by the hundreds.
  We can protect them. We can stop them from doing that. We can stop 
the coyotes from doing this. We can protect workers coming into the 
United States and make sure they are paid at least the minimum wage. We 
can be sure they are in fact given the kind of protection that American 
workers deserve, that all workers deserve.
  On the other hand, we can protect our own interests in this country 
and protect the interests of Americans who need jobs. If there are 
truly ``jobs that Americans will not do,'' fine, let somebody prove 
that; and when they prove it, let them import labor for that purpose. 
It is okay with me. But I will assure you that if that test were really 
that difficult, if we truly put it out there in that way, prove that no 
American wants this job for what you are willing to pay, for what the 
going rate is, by the way, not just what you are willing to pay, what 
the going rate for this job is, okay, you can bring in a guest worker. 
But I guarantee, Mr. Speaker, that most of these jobs that we are being 
told would only be taken by people we have to bring in here illegally 
would in fact be taken by American citizens. To the extent that is not 
true, fine, import workers. Bring them in legally so that they are 
protected in their rights and so that our rights are also protected.
  There would be penalties for fraud, and part of the workers wage 
would be withheld, as I say. The penalties for fraud are important, 
because we have to stop the demand side of this equation just as much 
as the supply side. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of American 
corporations that are taking advantage of our laws, that are importing 
workers, that are actually involved in the process, not just of hiring 
illegal aliens, but bringing them into the country.
  Tysons Foods, Tysons Foods in Arkansas is being prosecuted by the 
U.S. Government, and it is a showcase. I really and truly applaud the 
Immigration and Naturalization Service for bringing this case, because 
I hope people in Tysons Foods, if they are found guilty, actually go to 
jail for what they have done, because they are part of, according to 
the government's case anyway, Tysons Foods and the executives at Tysons 
Foods were actually involved in the importation of illegal workers.

                              {time}  2300

  Well, that even goes one step beyond just hiring someone who is here 
illegally, and the people who did that should go to jail. American 
corporations who knowingly hire people who are here illegally should be 
punished to the fullest extent of the law, and we should not wink at it 
and we should not just pretend that it is the problem of the illegal 
worker coming into this

[[Page H5081]]

country. He is coming or she is coming for a job. That job is being 
offered by an American corporation or an American company or just an 
American citizen, and we have to stop that. Each are culpable. When 
those people died in Victorville, California, the people who are 
responsible for their death, beyond those individuals who put 
themselves in harm's way, who decided to actually take the risk of 
coming into this country illegally, beyond those people, there is still 
more culpability. Part of it goes to those American employers who 
enticed these people into the United States. Part of it goes to our own 
government and every Member of this Congress who refuses to deal with 
the issue of illegal immigration. Yes, it is our responsibility. Yes, 
their blood is on our hands.
  Mr. Speaker, I state that categorically, that we have, over the 
course of the last couple of decades, made it enticing for them to come 
to the country illegally; made it illegal to do so, of course, to come 
without our permission; but, on the other hand said well, if you can do 
it, if you can make it, we will look the other way. So, of course, 
millions do, and some of them get caught in this trap, and some of them 
die. It is our fault. We share the blame. So does the Mexican 
Government for encouraging this flow, for doing everything possible to 
move unemployed young Mexican workers into the United States to reduce 
their own problems in Mexico and to increase remittances from people 
who come to the United States and send money back to Mexico, which 
becomes a significant part of their own GDP.
  They also encourage the flow of illegal immigrants into the United 
States from Mexico in order to have them, as I was told by Juan 
Hernandez, who was at that time the head of the ministry in Mexico 
called the Ministry for Mexicans Living in the United States. He said 
that it helps them influence our government's policy, the massive 
number of Mexican nationals living in the United States helps them, he 
said, influence our government's policy vis-a-vis Mexico. So Mexico has 
a role to play and is equally culpable for the deaths of the people 
that have come across this border and found themselves in horrible 
circumstances and died as a result or were harmed in the process.
  Mr. Speaker, all of these people have some role to play and some 
degree of culpability, and I say to every single one of them, I 
challenge you to actually deal with this forthrightly. Stand up in 
front of the American public and state unequivocally that what you want 
is, in fact, a Nation where there are no barriers to immigration, where 
people can come at their will. Say that. It may win. It may win a 
majority of the votes in the Congress of the United States and the 
President may sign that kind of a bill. I, as I say, am a ``no'' vote, 
but it may happen. I just want the debate. I want it to happen in this 
body. I want it to be done in a de jure fashion, not in a de facto way.
  I know that what we are doing in America today is in fact moving in 
exactly that direction. We are eliminating our borders, but we are not 
doing it through a legal process; we are doing it in a de facto way, by 
looking the other way. And there are many, many bad things that happen 
as a result of that desire on our part to look the other way. Well, I 
want to force this Congress, I want to force this Nation, I want to 
force the President of the United States to look at this straight in 
the eye, and say we are going to deal with it one way or the other. 
Open our borders or secure them. Those are the only two options open to 
us as a Nation. Take your pick. Vote on one side or the other. Let us 
get this job done. Let us tell the people where we really stand. Let us 
get this problem solved one way or the other.


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