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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: June 18, 2003 (House)]
[Page H5537-H5541]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 7, 2003, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, a great deal of discussion has been 
undertaken on this floor for the purpose of addressing the issue of 
unemployment and for talking about the needs of workers in the United 
  We continually look at pieces of legislation that are designed to 
improve the economic conditions within the

[[Page H5538]]

country, to establish an environment in which people will be able and 
businesses would be able to create more jobs, to provide more jobs for 
Americans; and I certainly support the effort.
  I certainly believe with all my heart that that is what we should be 
doing, and I believe in the stimulus package that we passed here. I 
wish it had been bigger. I think that that is the right direction for 
the country.
  But it is also interesting to me to listen to the various 
interpretations of the problems that we have that are in fact causing 
people to be laid off or people who are and have been laid off to be 
unable to find jobs. Some of that is undoubtedly as a result of a 
sluggish economy, and I say I hope it will be helped by the passage of 
the legislation that we put through here and went over to the Senate 
and was signed by the President. I hope for that.
  But there is another aspect of this jobs issue that I think needs our 
attention, no matter how unpleasant it is to talk about it. No matter 
how much we want to shy away from it, no matter what the political 
implications of discussing it might be, I think it is important to talk 
about the fact that in this country today we have somewhere around 13 
million, some people say as high as 20 million, people who are living 
here illegally, employed here illegally.
  We all probably know of folks that we think may be working here 
illegally. We see them on the street corner, we see them working in 
various positions and jobs, and there is this feeling that I wonder if 
those folks are here legally. They probably cannot speak the language, 
and you just wonder whether or not they are.
  We all have seen that kind of thing, and we think it is anecdotal, we 
think it is unique to a particular area, a particular place, just to 
this restaurant or that particular construction site. But, of course, 
it is not unique to any locale in this country. It is a phenomenon that 
we have to address and have to understand, that these people are here.
  For the most part I am sure they are well intentioned. They came, as 
we always say, for the same reason that my grandparents came, and for 
the same reason people came to this country from its inception, and 
that is to better their lives. No one is suggesting that all of those 
people who are here are here for nefarious purposes. That is, of 
course, untrue. But it is also true that they are taking jobs that 
Americans could take.
  Now I hear the opposite often. I have been in various places where 
the mantra chanted is something like this: ``We have to have illegal 
immigration into the country because it helps us, it helps the economy, 
and we have people doing jobs that no one else would do, no American 
would do.''
  Well, there is another part of that statement that could be said, but 
is seldom said, and that is they are doing jobs that maybe no American 
would do for the price that someone is willing to pay. That may be 
true. But I suggest to you that it is not an economic benefit to the 
United States.
  In the long run, it does not even help the people who are in the 
lowest economic category, who are low-income earners, who are low-
skilled people. It does not help them to have millions of people coming 
into the country, themselves with very few skills, taking those jobs 
that may be available, and, of course, therefore depressing the wage 
rate for everybody who works in that particular area.
  Now, there is also the issue, of course, as to whether or not it is 
productive for the country because it adds to the economy and they pay 
taxes and we, therefore, are benefited by having so many illegal aliens 
in the country.
  I would suggest that if you think that is true, if anybody believes 
that to be true, they should look at the research that has been done 
  Certainly Virginia Abernathy comes to mind. She is a professor at 
Vanderbilt University and has done a lot of work on this issue, trying 
to determine whether or not in fact the country does benefit from 
having millions of people coming across this border illegally, taking 
jobs that other Americans could take. And she sums it up in a statement 
that I would paraphrase in this way. She says that it is indeed true 
that there are profits to be made by the importation of millions of 
low-skilled, low-wage workers into the country, but the profits are for 
a few. They are for the employer. But the costs that we incur for 
providing the infrastructure necessary to support those folks in terms 
of schooling, health care, housing, all of those costs are far greater, 
far greater, than we gain from the taxes paid by the people working in 
those particular jobs.

  For the most part, again, it is low-skilled, low-wage jobs. 
Therefore, of course, they do not pay very much in income tax, if 
anything. They do not pay very much even in sales tax. They buy 
relatively little in comparison again to the costs of the 
infrastructure; and, therefore, it becomes essentially a burden to the 
taxpayers of this country to support.
  The infrastructure is very costly. We are watching hospitals go out 
of business. We are watching costs increase dramatically for those 
people who are able to pay in order to take care of all those who 
cannot pay that come to the hospital for service, come into the health 
care system at any point for service.
  There is a Federal law that says to hospitals they must treat anyone 
in emergency care, regardless of their status in the country; and that 
is a humane action on our part. It would be acceptable, it would be 
understandable, it would be defensible to have policies like that if in 
fact the Federal Government cared one bit about trying to defend its 
own borders, if in fact the Federal Government actually attempted to 
restrict entry into this country to those people who have permission to 
come, to those people who apply through a consular office or embassy, 
get a visa, come into the country, obtain a green card eventually.
  There is a legal process to come into the country; and if we would 
simply restrict entrance into the country to those people, then you 
could understand why we could say to hospitals, you must in fact treat 
them. Then you could understand why the Federal Government tells all 
schools in the United States, every State, that they must educate the 
children of people who are here illegally. It is a humane thing to do.
  But under the circumstances, when we choose not to defend our own 
borders, when we choose to essentially ignore any sort of immigration 
policy enforcement, then it is the height of arrogance to tell States 
they must take on this task.
  Billions of dollars are being spent by States all over the Nation 
trying to pay for health care, education, housing and all of the other 
infrastructure costs that they incur as a result of our open borders 
policy. And that is what we have; and that is exactly what we should 
call it. It is an open borders policy.
  Again, I know we do not like to think it, do not want to say it, do 
not want to suggest it, because there are a lot of people out there, 
that maybe John Q. Citizen cringes at that and says what do you mean, 
open borders policy, man? I am trying to keep my job, and I do not want 
to necessarily have to compete against someone coming across the border 
willing to work for a lot less than I am making.
  Maybe that is heartless and cruel for them to think. We may want to 
tell these people that they should just simply accept the fact that 
they have to give up their job, or work for a lot less, be what we call 
underemployed, because, after all, there are millions of people seeking 
to come into this country who are also poor and looking for a better 
life. So there is this dilemma then, how do we treat it?
  Well, Mr. Speaker, the whole world, the Third World, is waiting to 
come in. There are literally billions of people who would like to 
improve their status in life, and I would like their lives to be 
improved. No one wants to see people living in poverty. No one wants to 
see small children dying from diseases that could be cured. No one 
wants to see that.
  I also know that we cannot, there are not enough resources in this 
country, to simply open the boarders and say everyone can come. What we 
have to do is try our best to create economic conditions in countries 
that are today laboring under such problems so that people will not be 
forced to leave and seek a life in another country. That is an 
acceptable and understandable way to do it. It is not understandable or 
acceptable to ignore the problem, to say

[[Page H5539]]

that John Q. Citizen, who is losing his job, that he is just simply 
being hard and xenophobic.
  I do not think he is being xenophobic when his job is taken away, or 
her job. I think he is doing exactly, or she is doing exactly, what any 
of us would do under the circumstances. We would ask our government, 
why is this happening? Why are you allowing so many people to come into 
the country at a time when we have so few jobs available, when the 
unemployment rate has now reached historic highs?
  I cannot answer the question, Mr. Speaker. There is no way that I can 
tell someone in a rational sense what our policy is and why we are in 
fact still accepting the concept of open borders. I do not know. If 
someone can explain it, please let me know, because I have a lot of 
letters to write to people who constantly write me and tell me of their 
plight and how they lost their job, and they have lost it to people who 
have just come across the border illegally; and they are asking what I 
am going to do about that. I have to explain to them, you know, there 
really does not seem to be any support in this body or in this 
government for implementing the kind of measures necessary to protect 
  We are actually taking in a million-and-a-half people approximately a 
year legally, and probably about that many illegally. This is historic. 
The United States of America, if we just settled on the legal side of 
that, is still the most open-hearted country in the world.

                              {time}  1645

  It accepts more illegal immigration than any other country in the 
world; more legal immigration, and certainly more illegal immigration, 
than any other country in the world, and this is to our detriment.
  This is not a beneficial thing. It is not helping our economy. That 
is an old saw. It is not true. It is helping a few people. It is 
helping a few corporations. That is true. But it is not helping the man 
and the woman who have been here all of their lives, or who have become 
citizens of this country through a legal process and who are unemployed 
today because of our policy of open borders.
  There are several programs that the Federal Government runs, visa 
programs, that are designed to bring more people in, to do jobs that 
again we are told cannot be done by Americans, by American citizens. 
Would my colleagues believe that we are told that there are millions of 
jobs going begging in the high-tech industry?
  Who would believe that, Mr. Speaker? I ask my colleagues, who knows 
of a job available in the high-tech industry that is going begging? 
Because again, if my colleagues know about jobs that are available, let 
me know. I have a lot of people in my district who are unemployed and 
have been unemployed for over a year, and they ended up being a victim 
of that bubble that burst in the high-tech industry, and they are 
looking for jobs, and they would love to get reemployed into that 
industry. But most of them are doing something else now entirely, if 
they are working at all.
  My friend and neighbor, it has been almost 2 years for him. He is 
doing some data entry for us and he is driving a limousine at night. 
And that is what is happening all over, of course, because people are 
trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. And they 
would love to get a job back in that industry. But, Mr. Speaker, we are 
encouraging people to come from other countries to the United States 
for the purpose of taking jobs in the high-tech industry. These are 
called H-1b visa recipients.
  Now, these are folks who are not coming over here to take a job that 
``no one else would take,'' although we are told that, and that is 
supposed to be the scheme; that is supposed to be the idea behind H-1b 
and something else called L-1 visa programs, but it is not true. It is 
not true. These people are taking jobs, they are displacing American 
workers, by the hundreds of thousands. There are literally millions of 
folks in this country today holding these kinds of visas.
  Now, we asked the INS, how many are here? No one knows how many 
people in this country have even come here through the H-1b visa 
program. The new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service does not 
know. The Department of Labor does not know. No one in government 
anywhere can give me an accurate number, and the reason they cannot is 
because they do not keep those numbers. All they know is how many they 
hand out, about 195,000 a year we have handed out for several years 
now, and that is just the H-1b, and these folks do not go home when 
they lose their job, although they are supposed to. They stay.
  So I am saying that it is now approaching a million people, if not 
more, that are here under an H-1b program that are taking jobs in 
``that high-tech industry that no other American would take.'' Does 
anybody really buy that?
  What we know is that they are being given these visas because they 
will work for less. It is a cheap labor program.
  Now, let us just say it. If that is the program we want to run, let 
us tell Americans that is the program. Let us not even hide it under 
visa titles like H-1b and things nobody has the slightest idea what H-
1b means or L-1 visas. I will tell my colleagues what it means, anybody 
who is listening: it is a cheap labor program. People want to pay less 
for labor. They know there are people outside the country who are 
willing to work for less, so let us get them in here.
  The Organization for the Rights of American Workers, the acronym 
TORAW, states that in the year 2000, there were 355,000 H-1b visas 
issued, just in the year 2000. The cap for H-1b visas in that year was 
115,000. That means that 240,000 received H-1b visas through loopholes 
and extensions. In 2001, 384,191 H-1b visas were issued. The cap was 
107,500. That means that 276,691 people received H-1b visas through 
loopholes and extensions. Thus, the total amount of people who came 
here using H-1b visas in 2000 and 2001 totaled 739,796.
  This is a program they told us would be short-lived, that it only was 
going to be there in order to take up the slack because we had this 
booming economy, we had so many jobs going begging. Has anybody heard 
that lately, something about a booming economy, something about jobs 
going begging? But 739,000 people were brought in here on H-1b visas in 
2000 and 2001.
  There is plenty of evidence that major American companies like Bank 
of America, Texas Instruments, Intel, General Electric, and Microsoft 
are actively recruiting today H-1b visa holders instead of American 
high-tech workers. Does anybody believe there are people who are not 
capable of these jobs; that Americans, the highest skilled, the 
greatest educational system in the world, touted constantly for our 
ability to produce the best engineers; the best people in this high-
tech environment, that we are not capable, Americans cannot do the job, 
we have to go to India or someplace else to get the folks over here to 
take those jobs from us.
  The San Francisco Business Times reported in November of 2002 that 
the Bank of America was eliminating 900 jobs by year end in its 
information technology operation. To add insult to injury, some of the 
laid-off workers were reportedly required to train their Indian 
counterparts in order to receive their severance packages. This is a 
common practice throughout the country.
  According to a survey by the Denver Business Journal, 66.5 percent of 
American high-tech workers who responded said they took salary 
reductions in 2002, and more than 71.5 percent of them expect pay cuts 
in 2003. According to the Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, a company can replace an American 
engineer who gets paid $70,000 annually with a Hungarian who would earn 
$25,690 in Hungary or a Russian who gets paid $14,000 for that job in 
Russia. This puts companies in the position to orchestrate and control 
salaries. The overall effect is to decrease the salaries of all high-
tech positions.

  Now, we say, well, is that not appropriate? Should they not do that? 
Well, again, that is a policy decision that this government needs to 
make and needs to tell the American citizens what we are doing. Again, 
all I am asking is for truth in advertising. These are not special visa 
programs; these are not designed just to bring people in here who are 
in great need because the jobs are jobs our people will not do.

[[Page H5540]]

These are cheap labor, cheap labor policies. That is what they are, and 
that is what we should call them.
  Now, these people are succeeding, these companies, according to the 
Alumni Consulting Group, because in the last 3 years, the average high-
tech professional salary has dropped radically, in some cases, up to 50 
percent. An online search today of the three most popular high-tech job 
search sites,,, and, showed that they 
were full of jobs being offered to H-1b holders.
  Now there is a new problem that is emerging, the L-1 visa. The L-1 
visa program allows intracompany transfers of foreign nationals who are 
company executives or managers or employees with specialized knowledge 
of the company's products or services. It was never intended to allow 
companies to replace American professional employees with lower-wage 
foreign nationals, but guess what? That is, of course, exactly what is 
happening, and on a massive scale.
  NBC news reported on May 8 of this year that white collar computer 
consultants are losing out to cheaper foreign competition. These 
companies are outsourcing much of their technology and customer service 
work to foreign companies with the goal of reducing costs and 
increasing profits. I would suspect that these foreign companies are 
using L-1 visas to bring their manpower here to the United States.
  As I said before, the L-1 visa program was intended to permit 
multinational companies to transfer foreign nationals who were company 
executives and managers or employees with specialized knowledge in the 
company's products and operations. Instead, it is being used to allow 
U.S. companies with offshore subsidiaries to bring in lower-wage IT 
workers. These companies are circumventing the congressionally-mandated 
safeguards and rules imposed under the H-1b program. And our government 
knows it. This is not news to anybody inside the Department of Labor or 
inside the administration. They just do not care.
  In 2001, 328,480 L-1 visas were issued, which is an increase of 11 
percent. Thus, the total amount of people who came here under L-1 visas 
in 2000 and 2001 was 623,138.
  Business Week reported on March 10 of this year that L-1 visas were 
being used instead of H-1b visas by India's top two IT consulting 
firms. Half of Tata Consultancy Services' American-based workforce are 
here on L-1 visas, some 5,000 foreign IT professionals. Infosys has 
3,000 IT professionals here on L-1 visas, 3,000.
  Now, remember, these are supposed to be people with specialized 
skills, so specialized, and they are overseas, they are in the company 
headquarters in Bombay, but there is something so special about their 
ability that they have to bring them over here to work in their 
subsidiary. That is an L-1 visa. But of course, it is not that. It is 
anybody and everybody who they can get into the country, get over here 
to replace Americans who are now driving limousines at night.
  Siemens in Florida contracted to have 20 of its American IT 
professionals replaced by foreign nationals brought in by Tata 
Consultancy Services. Tata used L-1 visas to import Indians at one-
third of the salary of Americans laid off.
  A member of my staff is a trained IT professional. Before he started 
working for me, he was a victim of the very problem I was talking 
about. When he asked his former company why he and the rest of his IT 
team had been laid off, they stated they were moving their project to 
India. They are doing this because the average Indian software engineer 
makes 88 percent less than the U.S. software engineer.
  Companies are not the only ones guilty of this transgression. The 
State of New Mexico paid a firm in India $6 million to develop an 
online unemployment claim system. The State of New Jersey called a call 
center in India to handle calls from their welfare recipients. In New 
Jersey, calls go to India. The State of Pennsylvania Department of 
Corrections utilized an offshore company to develop its mission 
critical systems.
  All of this shifting of jobs offshore has significantly slowed the 
recovery of our own economy, and it is something that we should tell 
our people about. This is something we should be truthful about. And 
these are all high-tech jobs I have been talking about recently. But 
remember, go back to the original discussion here about the people 
coming in here with low-skill, low-wage backgrounds and how much we 
need them.
  Mr. Speaker, I remember distinctly, this may be now 6 or 8 months 
ago, but I remember an article that I read in the Rocky Mountain 
Newspaper in Denver, and there was an article, it was not an ad, it was 
an article about a job that had been posted by a restaurant by the name 
of, it was called Luna Restaurant. I know it, I have been there many 
times; a great Mexican restaurant in north Denver.

                              {time}  1700

  The reason why the posting of a job became a story rather than just 
an ad in the paper is because it was a job for a $3-an-hour waiter; and 
that one job posting, that one ad produced 600 applicants the first 
day. That is why it turned into a story, a news story, 600 applicants 
for a $3-an-hour job.
  Mr. Speaker, it is possible, I suppose, that every one of the 600 
applicants that day were illegal aliens, but I do not think so. Maybe a 
large number were, but I think a lot of the people who applied for that 
job were American citizens who needed the work.
  So this old canard about they only come into the jobs no American 
will take is just that, it is a falsehood. We employ these falsehoods 
in order to maintain open borders. Both parties support the concept. 
The Democrats support it because it adds to their potential pool of 
voters for the Democratic Party. The Republicans support it because it 
supports cheap labor.
  I will tell my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, if that is the policy that 
our government is undertaking, then it is simply the policy we should 
tell our constituents about. We should explain it to them. When my 
colleagues get a letter like this, handwritten, three pages long, 
talking about what happened to them, how they were displaced by foreign 
workers, we should write back and say it is the policy of this 
government to displace you, to move you into a lower economic income 
category because we believe in cheap labor and we believe that the 
politics of open borders helps our party, in this case the Democrats, 
as I say. The Republicans, it is the cheap labor side of things.
  That is what we tell people. That is what we should do. That is how 
we should respond because that is the truth of the matter; and I hope 
that when we have people bring bills to the floor designed to do 
something about jobs, which we hear over and over again, do something 
about jobs, I just hope that they will think about one thing they could 
do. There is something that we could do tomorrow to improve the quality 
of life for millions and millions of American citizens. There is 
something that we could do tomorrow that could actually add maybe 10 
million jobs for American citizens, and that is to enforce our 
immigration laws. Stop people from coming in here illegally, deport the 
people who are here illegally today, and we would automatically create 
10 million jobs for American citizens.
  So I want that discussed every single time there is a ``jobs'' bill 
brought in front of this Congress, because there is an easy way to do 
it. There is a moral way to do it. It is immoral for us to, in fact, 
displace American workers with cheap labor from outside our country. It 
is immoral for us to tell Americans that we do not have an open borders 
policy because we do, and there are ramifications to it, deep, serious 
ramifications to open borders.
  If that is what the country wants, if 50 percent plus one of this 
body and the other body and the President of the United States signs 
it, that is what we will get; but that is what we are going to get. 
Even that does not happen that way. We are going to get it in a de 
facto way. We are going to get it without ever bringing it to the 
attention of the American public. We are all just going to look around 
one day and say, gosh, what happened to our economy? What happened to 
the country with the highest standard of living in the world? What 
happened to my job? At that point, it is, of course, too late.
  Mr. Speaker, I hope that we will be more truthful in the discussion 
of this issue, and I hope that for all of our constituents' sake that 
we will begin to

[[Page H5541]]

uphold our law, begin to defend our borders and begin to, in fact, 
enforce immigration law.


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