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[Congressional Record: October 2, 2003 (House)]
[Page H9203-H9208]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mrs. Miller of Michigan). Under the 
Speaker's announced policy of January 7, 2003, the gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) is recognized for 60 minutes.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Madam Speaker, I rise tonight to discuss an issue that 
often I bring to the attention of this body, and that is of course 
immigration and immigration reform, an issue that I think we spend far 
too little time discussing here.
  I was compelled to come tonight to share an e-mail message I received 
just a couple of days ago. It is from a lady by the name of Rhonda 
Rose. And Ms. Rose speaks, I think, compellingly about a problem, a set 
of problems, that she perceives in her area. And I think she is not 
unique in this. I think she speaks for many Americans, in fact, 
millions of Americans. So I thought I would start tonight by sharing 
this particular e-mail message to me with my colleagues.
  It says, ``My story: I live in a world where I do not count. I'm not 
a minority. I'm poor. I don't have coalitions rallying for what I feel 
is important. I don't have news reporters writing about 'poor me,' but 
I have views. I vote, I pay taxes, and I know there are millions of 
people in America just like me.
  ``I live next to a shelter built by politicians who are afraid to 
have an opinion about closing the border. Daily, 1,500 illegals come 
and visit that shelter. It was supposed to keep these `poor people' 
from urinating and defecating on the streets. It didn't. My home and my 
vehicles have been broken into 22 times in 5 years.
  ``I stopped calling the police each time now that this happens 
because they do not come any more. Instead, we bought a gun. We scared 
off the last person trying to steal our truck. The only English he knew 
was enough to say `sorry' as we pointed at him. Three months later we 
still have a towel over the smashed driver's-side window.
  ``Last week, I was ordered to pay an $85 fine for a false alarm. 
Police showed up for that hearing. The police couldn't find any 
criminal at my home when my home alarm sounded. I'm curious how long 
police think bad guys `hang around' after an alarm has been triggered.
  ``I was involved in an accident in my car. The policeman said I would 
have to wait while he called for backup. My baby was screaming. The 
police had no film in the camera. The backup police had no 
fingerprinting ink or film. The person who ran into me was here 
illegally. He had a fake ID, but the police said there was nothing that 
they could do about it; the illegal alien would just get another fake 
ID and would never show up for court. He didn't have insurance. The 
illegal alien who hit me said sorry as he was walking away. He was free 
to go. I was free to pay the deductible on my car and the chiropractor 
bills for my children and myself. If I drove without insurance and hurt 
someone or their possessions, I would be forced to pay for the damages 
or lose everything I had.
  ``My husband works 6 days a week as a framing contractor. He pays 
FICA, Social Security, State taxes, Federal taxes, general liability 
insurance, workman's comp. insurance, and probably others that I don't 
remember. His workman's comp just skyrocketed from $5,000 per year to 
$28,000 per year. Now, I ask you, where are we going to come up with 
the extra $23,000? We had no claims. Should I take it out of my food 
budget? We often go weeks without meat. Should it come from our 
clothing budget? We buy our clothes at thrift sales and savers. How 
about our entertainment account? Does seeing a movie every month 
  ``My home insurance costs me $100 more yearly because I live in a 
border State. How long before Kansas becomes a border State? I have had 
no medical insurance for years and years. I can't afford it. At 33, I 
got cancer. My doctor told me to go to ACCHS. I don't remember how to 
spell the State's medical system, since they declined me.
  ``My husband's company had no profit in 6 months due to theft and 
lack of laws at the time to force general contractors to pay. Without 
studying my receipts, I was declined. Interesting that hundreds of 
illegal aliens in this country standing in line were being given food 
stamps and medical care. They did not have Social Security numbers; 
they did not speak English. If you don't believe me,'' she says, ``look 
at the application DES.''
  I am sorry, Madam Speaker, but I do not know what that stands for.
  ``Spend 5 minutes at DES and remind yourself why you pay taxes. You 
won't be smiling.
  ``Taxes. Well, we fell behind one year. I contacted the IRS and told 
them we wanted to make arrangements to pay. We now show the IRS 
everything we buy, from the female items to chewing gum, they see the 
receipt. For the next year we will be scrutinized. For the next 5 years 
we will be audited. Maybe I should never have done the right thing and 
told them.
  ``My son cries nightly because his legs and arms hurt. He has cried 
for almost 7 years. My husband often walks on one leg because his back 
and leg pain is almost unbearable. Monthly I have many strokes. During 
those times I lose the ability to speak well, and I have had seizures 
until I lose consciousness. We really don't know what is wrong with any 
of us. We may never know. We can't afford a doctor. God forbid we need 
emergency services. Thirty percent of the time hospitals are on divert 
status because there is no room. Illegal aliens have taken their kids 
to the ER for colds and sore throats. I would only go if I lost a limb 
or if my heart gave out.
  ``Two years ago, I announced to my family there would be no turkey 
for Thanksgiving. We would eat pasta and be thankful we were a family. 
My Catholic friend made arrangements for me to get a food box from her 
church. I went, reluctantly. I drove up in my broken old van and saw a 
lot of full new, stickers attached, Suburbans. My

[[Page H9204]]

van was the worst vehicle there and it hit me that I really was poor.
  ``I stood in line for 20 minutes amazed at the number of illegals 
taking box lunches and boxes of food. When it was my turn, I had to 
show an ID. I was told to leave. There wasn't enough food for me to 
take a box. I looked around. There were boxes of food everywhere. For a 
minute I forgot that I was not in a minority and in their eyes not 
  ``At church, our pastor reminds us to stay hopeful. I struggle to 
make sense of a system that has taken from me and given to those who 
have more than I do. Who will be my voice? Where is my coalition? I 
thought it was the leaders of America. I was wrong. They have sold me 
out and millions like me. And what is worse, I do not know why. Rhonda 
  Now, Madam Speaker, I think that Ms. Rose's situation is dire, but I 
think in many ways she says what many people feel. They feel, in a 
sense, disenfranchised. They feel that they are losing their own 
country. They feel that they cannot look to their own government for 
support or for help.
  Night after night I come on this floor and I bring to the attention 
of the body stories of people who live on the border in Arizona, Texas, 
and California. I talk about the fact that these people are in many 
ways homeland heroes because their stories were not all that dissimilar 
from Ms. Rose's. Their lives have been essentially destroyed. Their 
businesses, homes, ranches have been overtaken by illegal aliens coming 
through by the hundreds of thousands destroying property, vandalizing, 
threatening, attacking; and they do not know why.
  They are asking why this is happening now, when we have lived here 
for generations. Our family has been on this property for generations. 
We have always had people coming through here, sometimes illegally, or 
many times illegally, but only a few of them. And we would give them 
food and we would give them water and they would move on. But now it is 
by the thousands that they are coming through. And these people turn to 
the government for help and our government turns a blind eye to them. 
And so they get frustrated, as you would, Madam Speaker, and as I 
  So they write to their Congressman, and they talk to their neighbors, 
and they see no change. And they wonder why they do it. They wonder 
what is happening when they read polls that show that 70 percent of 
Americans are essentially on their side. And, Madam Speaker, I have to 
say to Rhonda that 70 percent of this country looks at this, listens to 
your story and is empathetic and believes that some change should be 
made, but maybe 25 percent of this Congress feels the same way. And I 
do not know who in the administration feels this way. But not enough 
people here feel this way, I will tell you.
  And so we end up with a system that is unresponsive to the people; 
and anger grows, and resentment grows, and frustration grows. Because 
every day people see things like this. They pick up the paper and they 
read that another State has just decided to give illegal aliens 
driver's licenses. They see that foreign governments can distribute 
cards to those people living here illegally. These are referred to as 
the matricula consular card, and that States and cities are agreeing to 
accept these cards for a variety of services. Illegals can open bank 
accounts with these cards, they can obtain social services, they can 
even get driver's licenses.
  In California, the most recent State to allow illegal immigrants to 
obtain driver's licenses, you can use a matricula consular to obtain 
your driver's license. How do you get one of these? You get them from a 
consulate here. Usually, the Mexican consulate. They are the ones that 
hand out the most. And what do you have to give them? You have to give 
them some documentation that says you are a Mexican citizen. Not that 
you are here illegally; but, of course, everyone who needs one of these 
cards is here illegally.

                              {time}  1945

  Madam Speaker, I want to repeat that. Every single person here in the 
United States who needs a matricula consular is here illegally because 
if you are here legally, you have a document that we have given you. 
You have a visa. You have a green card, you have a stamp on your 
passport at least. So an illegal alien in this country can obtain this 
particular card and with it can obtain all of the other documents they 
need to become essentially citizens, really, in a way.
  It is a stealth amnesty program. American citizens recognize that. 
When they read it in the newspaper, they know something is wrong. They 
know something is wrong when a body agrees to give illegal aliens in-
State tuition for which they have to pay. They know something is wrong 
when they hear that their jails are being filled by people who are here 
illegally and that the costs attributable to that particular phenomenon 
are enormous. They know something is wrong. They know that when they 
hear reports about people coming across the border by the hundreds, by 
the thousands without our permission, we do not know who they are, we 
do not know why they are coming, surely most of them are coming for 
relatively benign reasons, to get a better job, seek a better life, 
that is the reason that compels most people to come to this country, 
the same reason my grandparents came and perhaps yours, but among them 
are people who are coming to do very bad things to the United States 
and we allow this to happen, and they ask me, Why? They ask me all the 
time. I get all kinds of e-mails and letters and calls into my office 
and they say, Why, Congressman? Why is this happening? Why is it my 
Government has so little respect for my citizenship and for the fact I 
try my best to do things the right way?
  This is another letter I received from a lady by the name of Linda 
Hendricks. She lives in my district. She says, Page 2 of this fax I am 
sending you is a copy of a Medicaid eligibility form. I want to draw 
your attention to question number 8. I turn to question number 8 on 
this form. Is anyone in your household a legal alien, yes or no? Is 
anyone in your household undocumented? Of course, what that means is 
are they here illegally, yes or no.
  Next question: If yes to either, we will need the following 
information: If you are undocumented, no paperwork is necessary, and we 
will not report you to the INS. If you are documented in any way, 
please provide copies only of the front and back of your card and other 
INS papers.
  Now, this is a form distributed by the Federal Government for a 
service that is supposed to be for American citizens: Medicaid. This is 
supposed to be the program that we have constructed to provide medical 
services to people who are financially unable to provide it for 
  She goes on to say, ``Hello, something is really wrong here. Illegals 
are not being reported and yet receive free medical benefits. There 
have been many stories in the Denver Post lately about people with 
serious medical needs that are losing their benefits due to cutbacks. 
These people are U.S. citizens. As a citizen myself, I believe citizens 
should have the benefit of medical care before those who do not belong 
here. I have a revolutionary idea,'' she says, ``quit giving free 
medical service to people who are here illegally and keep it for U.S. 
citizens and those who are here legally.
  ``I recently heard about a man here to work from South Africa who 
paid $3,000 for his green card, and yet when he got here, he found out 
that Mexicans are paying $100 for a fake green card. And with those 
fake green cards come all the benefits.
  ``No wonder our country no longer has any sovereignty, we are 
willingly giving it away.''
  Madam Speaker, I just cannot fathom, I cannot imagine how these 
things are not taking a toll on the way people look at their 
Government. Believe me, these are not unique in any way, these two 
letters. These are representative of the thousands of letters that I 
receive almost weekly, and calls and e-mails and that sort of thing. It 
is happening everywhere. Looking at this makes me think there is a form 
that you can go to the Web site and find out from the Bureau of 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and it is called a temporary 
visitor visa, and you can go onto the Web site and pull it up and fill 
it out yourself if you want to come into the United States.

[[Page H9205]]

  One question on that visa is are you a terrorist? Do you belong to 
any terrorist organizations? Have you committed any terrorist acts, yes 
or no. I do not know who answers yes, but evidently some people do 
because the next thing underneath it is a little asterisk, and it says 
do not worry, if you answer yes to this question, it does not mean that 
you will be denied entrance into the United States.
  How can that be true? Well, it happened because a Member of the other 
body, Mr. Kennedy, decided that because he had acquaintances that were 
members of the IRA, Irish Republican Army, and they might be on our 
terrorist list and they might want to come into the United States, that 
just being a member of a terrorist organization should not prevent you 
from coming to the United States, and so that is why we added that.
  Well, as they say, people know this, people see this, people 
understand this, and people are frustrated by it. They are frustrated 
by the fact that their own Government will look the other way when 
people come into this country illegally, obtain this matricula 
consular, open up a bank account, let us say, and when the Treasury 
Department of the Federal Government promulgates rules saying that 
banks should be allowed to accept the matricula consular for the 
purpose of identification, and people look at this and think this is 
odd, that when you look at the fact that these rules were promulgated 
under the PATRIOT Act and designed to be rules to tighten up on banking 
regulations, so that identity theft and money-laundering activities 
would be minimized. When you realize that was the reason that those 
regulations were promulgated, they are asking how can it be that you 
are saying that you can do this? You can use this card given to you by 
a foreign government for the purpose of opening a bank account? People 
look at that and think what is going on with my Government.
  They may know, I am not sure if many people know this, but they may 
even have heard that in the Committee on the Judiciary, the 
Subcommittee on Immigration in testimony there not too long ago, the 
Justice Department, the FBI, testified that using the matricula 
consular was absolutely a bad idea, and that people would, in fact, 
take advantage of it, that we cannot begin to guarantee the validity of 
the document. The FBI, Homeland Security, testified that we should not 
accept the matricula consular, that no agency of the Federal Government 
should accept it, and you have got the Department of the Treasury 
promulgating rules telling banks it is okay to accept it. People can 
get confused by that.
  I believe it is simply a matter of pure politics, and the mother's 
milk of politics, of course, campaign contributions from large 
corporation through their executive officers who package up their 
contributions, and through banks and other big contributors to both 
parties, we find it difficult to do the things necessary to protect our 
own country.
  We also, of course, fear the political ramifications of doing 
something to stop illegal immigration or even minimize illegal 
immigration. We find that this is a politically embarrassing thing. 
Even to bring this up on the floor of the House makes people 
uncomfortable. They would prefer if we did not address this issue 
because of the political implications.
  When we recognize on one side of the aisle here, the Democratic party 
sees massive immigration, both illegal and legal, as a source of 
political support, future voters; on our side of the aisle, we see the 
same thing as a source of cheap labor; the administration sees the same 
thing as a potential source of voters for them, a wedge issue that they 
can use in the next campaign, and Members can see why it is difficult 
to actually get anything done.
  That is what we have to tell people when constituents call and ask 
how can it be that this country has essentially decided to abandon its 
borders, surrender its sovereignty and attack the concept of 
citizenship because that is truly what is happening to us. All of the 
things that I have mentioned here, all of these things that are 
happening in States and cities and here at the Federal level, cities 
that are declaring themselves to be sanctuary cities, cities which pass 
regulations telling the police department not to provide information to 
the Bureau of Immigration Control and Enforcement or to accept 
information from them, cities that say they will accept the matricula 
consular for the provision of services, States that declare that they 
will give illegal aliens driver's licenses, States that declare that 
they will provide higher education benefits to people who are here 
illegally, all of these things combined are an attack on the concept of 
citizenship because if we have all of these benefits and are here 
illegally, and if you get a driver's license, you have the keys to the 
kingdom including the ability to vote under Motor Voter. So you have 
all of the benefits, including the ability to vote, but you are not a 
legal resident. What distinguishes you as an illegal resident of the 
country? What is it, absolutely nothing.
  Today Members of this body were confronted by people that came here 
on a Freedom Ride. I understand buses and this trek started in States 
all over the Nation. People gathered all over and descended upon the 
Nation's capital to declare their concern for the plight of illegal 
immigrants in this country, and they wanted to associate themselves 
with the freedom marches of the 1960s, the precivil rights days of the 
United States.

                              {time}  2000

  They wanted to associate themselves with the plight of the African 
American who had suffered, who certainly his heritage was a heritage of 
slavery and who suffered degradations that certainly could never be 
countenanced; and so they called themselves the Freedom Ride. Remember, 
we are talking about slavery, an institution that brought people here 
against their will, and even after they were freed institutionally by 
law kept them from being able to achieve certain things and do certain 
things that citizens of this country were allowed to do, voting, for 
instance, and going to a restaurant and being served in the same place 
with a white person and going to the same school as a white person. All 
these things were being denied to these people who were here legally, 
whose parents had been here and whose family had been here for 
  This was a travesty. This is a blight on America. This is a dark part 
of our history. Yet the people who came here today suggest that they 
have a common problem.
  Today we have been visited, many offices in this body, in the House 
of Representatives, many Members have been visited by people who were 
here on what they call a Freedom Ride. They were here to put forward 
their concerns with regard to what they call the plight of those people 
who are here as immigrants, but what they really mean is here as 
illegal immigrants. Because if you are here as an immigrant, a legal 
immigrant into this country, you have all the protections available to 
you that any other citizen has. But if you are here illegally, you are 
oftentimes ill-treated and you are oftentimes taken advantage of by 
unscrupulous employers. Undeniably true.
  So their solution to this problem was to give everybody who is here 
legal status, to simply give amnesty to all those people who have come 
here, make them legal residents of the country and then, of course, 
they have all the protection.
  Yes, that is one way to handle it. But I suggest to you that it is 
the worst way to handle it. And I suggest that the idea, the public 
policy of giving anyone who has broken the law here a benefit for doing 
so is bad public policy, that no one should be rewarded for violating 
the law, and that no matter how compelling your story is about how long 
you have been here taking advantage of this country and this country's 
benefits, how long you have worked, that those are not reasons to 
simply ignore the law.
  If we do not like this law, then it is up to us in this body to 
change it, to repeal it. If we do not believe in borders, then erase 
them. If we do not believe that people should come into this country 
with our permission, then stop trying to give it. But as long as that 
is the law, then we cannot simply ignore the fact that it is the law 
and give amnesty to everybody who ignores the law.
  What sense does that make? The people of this country are asking the 
question. What sense does that make? And

[[Page H9206]]

they are asking us, why is it that my family had to go through years of 
applications, sometimes thousands and thousands of dollars in expenses 
to make the trek to this country legally, to wait in a long line, to do 
everything that is expected of us to come into this country as legal 
citizens, while at the same time you are considering telling everybody 
who came here illegally that they have all of the same benefits and all 
will be forgiven? What message does that send to the millions of people 
who are waiting to come into this country legally?
  It tells them all they are suckers. That is what it says. And that 
they should, in fact, simply jump to the head of the line, come across 
the border, sneak into this country, get a visa, come in, overstay your 
visa, which actually accounts for about 45 or 50 percent of all those 
people living here illegally. They did not just come across the border 
from Mexico or from Canada. They actually flew into this country or 
came here somehow legally on a visa, then simply stayed.
  All of those people, it says, did the right thing. They were the 
smart people. They avoided all the hassle, all the expense and all the 
respect for the law that we expect from the people who do come here 
  What sense does this make, they ask, Americans ask? Can you answer 
this? Can anyone answer this? I cannot. It makes no sense.
  Yet there are Members here who are going to produce a bill, who have 
introduced a bill already, that is, quote, getting legs, as it says 
around here, the saying goes, it is getting steam up, to give at least 
500,000 agricultural workers amnesty under the guise of creating a 
guest worker program. What they do create is essentially an indentured 
servitude status for 4 or 5 years before they give them amnesty. This 
is great. This is wonderful, according to the sponsors of the bill.
  And Americans ask, why? What can you be thinking of? How can you 
possibly be talking about giving amnesty to anybody who has come in? 
How can you talk about giving jobs to people who are essentially taking 
jobs from American workers?
  Madam Speaker, all we hear of is, well, these are people who are 
doing jobs Americans won't take. That is, of course, only part of the 
statement. It is doing jobs Americans will not take for the price we 
are willing to pay. That is true in many circumstances. But we are 
also, of course, exporting jobs and bringing in foreign workers under 
visa categories, H1B and L1.
  People ask me why? How come it is that when American high-tech 
workers are out of work by the millions, which they are, how come we 
are still bringing in hundreds of thousands of people in the H1B 
category to take those jobs? How come we are allowing other people, 
other companies, to bring them in under the L1 category visa and 
replace American workers with less expensive foreign workers? How come, 
they say? How come when these people come here many of them are 
actually trained by the person they are replacing? And in order to get 
severance pay the person they are replacing is told, you must train 
this person in your job or else we won't give you severance pay. How 
come, they ask, is this happening?
  Madam Speaker, I cannot explain it. I do not know. I have a guess. My 
guess is that the high-tech industry contributes an awful lot of money 
to both parties and to the President and, therefore, we choose a cheap 
labor policy. That is my guess. Maybe I am wrong, and somebody could 
certainly dispute it. I am hoping someone will. But in order to dispute 
my claim, we have to at least have a debate on this issue. But we will 
not have a debate, because debating this issue makes people 

  We are dividing this country up, Madam Speaker, into a lot of camps, 
victimized groups, groups that continue to hyphenate their own 
definition, groups that see themselves not as Americans, just as 
Americans but some subgroups, some alienated groups, some group with a 
cause, some group with a complaint. As I say, some group that feels 
  We are encouraging that, that whole concept of balkanization of 
America. We are encouraging that because we operate under what we call 
a cult of multiculturalism. It is a philosophy that permeates American 
society, permeates our schools, and it tells people that there is no 
reason for them to actually become part of the American mainstream, 
that there is nothing really good or worth emulating in American 
society or western civilization, for that matter. And our schools drop 
all references to western civilization, except in the most negative 
way. They drop classes in it.
  We tell people that come here from other countries that they should 
not become part of the American mainstream, that they should keep their 
own language, that they should keep their own political affiliations 
with their country of origin and not integrate into the society. We do 
all kinds of things that separate us, instead of helping to join us 
together as Americans.
  In this body, we allow groups to organize on the basis of race. 
Amazing as that might sound to Americans, we allow caucuses to develop, 
to actually be created here on the basis of race. Just yesterday when I 
said that this was a bad idea and that I am going to introduce a rule 
in the next session, if I am here, that prohibits any caucus from being 
established here on the basis of race, I was vilified by many of my 
colleagues for being both a racist and insensitive and a lot of other 
things, because we have the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus and 
the Asian Pacific Caucus.
  It is amazing to me that we can have a huge debate in this country 
over a very famous talk show host, Mr. Limbaugh, who makes an 
intemperate remark relating to the race of a football player and is 
chastised roundly and resigns his job, resigns from his position. In 
all of the media, everything I heard today is there is absolutely no 
place for this kind of thing, no reason we should ever be using or 
talking about race when we talk about these football players. There is 
nothing that connects these two, and we should not ever discuss it.
  I certainly agree. I see absolutely no connection myself. It was 
probably a very stupid thing to do and to say.
  But at the same day that that story breaks, I am roundly criticized 
for saying that we should not have a caucus in this House based on race 
and that all of the rhetoric that emanates out of this body about a 
colorblind society and all of the admonitions and all of the laws that 
we pass to ensure a colorblind society are essentially ignored because 
we allow for people to organize here on the basis of race. Nobody says 
a thing. I assure you they would say something if somebody tried to 
organize a, quote, White Caucus or Caucasian Caucus, and I would 
certainly be one of those people saying, absolutely not.
  But what is the difference? What is the difference?
  These are uncomfortable things, I understand that. People get very, 
very uptight and sort of anxious when you bring them up. But the point 
I tried to make here is that this is just another example of us 
dividing ourselves up. And when massive immigration combines with this 
philosophy of the sort of cult of multiculturalism that permeates our 
society, it can only be bad for America. There is nothing positive I 
can think of about this.

                              {time}  2015

  We can extol the virtues of diversity. I am a full-blooded Italian 
American. I love my heritage that is that part of me that one would say 
is Italian, but if someone were to ask me what is my heritage? What is 
my heritage? What is my country? I would immediately answer, and I 
would have answered this when I was a little child, it is the United 
States of America. That is what I thought of as my country, my history, 
and my heritage. I have never connected politically nor have my parents 
ever considered allowing me to connect politically and culturally and 
philosophically with a country other than the United States. It was an 
alien notion, or idea, and yet we are doing this to ourselves.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, will the distinguished 
gentleman yield?
  Mr. TANCREDO. I yield to the gentlewoman.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman very much and we 
serve on the House Committee on the Judiciary together.
  Mr. TANCREDO. I wish I did serve on the House Committee on the 

[[Page H9207]]

  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. We have worked on issues together dealing 
with these questions and the gentleman is right; I stand corrected. And 
I think we note that we do have differences of opinion, but I would say 
to the gentleman that I would much rather have the opportunity for us 
to address these issues any way that I think draws most of Americans' 
interest and concern.
  The gentleman just made it very clear that his heritage is one of 
immigrants, or his family came from a place to America for 
opportunities. I happen to have a heritage of immigrant grandparents 
who came here from the Caribbean. I would not be in the United States 
Congress but for their coming to seek a greater opportunity. The 
gentleman mentioned the mass numbers of individuals here today who came 
up with the Immigration Freedom Riders. But I what I would suggest to 
the gentleman is that rather than the broad brush, he noted that there 
are people who are here in this country who may be undocumented, which 
seem to be the crux of the crime, who really are attempting to seek 
legalization. They really want to become documented, and the numbers, 
unfortunately, suggest that they have been here for over a period of 
  There is a distinction, I think, between securing our borders. I am 
on the Select Committee on Homeland Security. I will be leaving with 
the Select Committee on Homeland Security to go to the northern border. 
I live on the southern border in Texas. And I think we should 
distinguish those issues that Americans can draw around with the 
heartfelt desire of undocumented individuals who have been trying to 
secure legalization, and I would ask the distinguished gentleman that 
when he comes to the floor if he would consider the fact that there is 
a degree of compassion. I will probably never get him to agree with me 
that those undocumented should have at least the ability to access 
legalization, because I think it is going to be very difficult, 
realistically, to get these people out of restaurants and hotels and 
homes and construction sites; and I will say to him because I happen to 
be, I think it is very clear, coming from a minority group of this 
Nation but proudly here standing as an American, and there are issues 
with American workers and there are issues with minorities that are 
  There are a lot of issues that we could be divisive about, but we 
should not be divisive about the hopes and dreams of the thousands of 
people that I run into every day when I see that, over a period of 
time, these immigrants workers who came here on the Freedom Ride, the 
tears in their eyes. I do not think the gentleman is divided on that. I 
really do not think so. Even if he will come back at me, when I yield 
back, even to say, no, I disagree, I do not think we are divided on 
that. I think if a group of them sat down with him, he might find 
common ground because I do not believe any truck, any plane, any bus is 
going to haul out 8 million. And I leave the gentleman on this, before 
I yield back: I would feel much safer if these undocumented 
individuals, and I do not see how we are going to get them out, would 
be legalized, paying taxes, putting into the Social Security, and being 
documented so that this Nation knew where everybody who meant to do 
good was so that we can find the guys and ladies that were here to do 
us harm.
  I think that is the distinction I would like to make and hope that 
maybe we will have an opportunity, whether it is one on one, whether it 
is as we proceed with hearings and debate on the floor of the House, to 
really talk about the concerns that I think the American people want us 
to address with a real immigration policy that addresses the concerns 
of all of us. And I thank the gentleman for his kindness in his 
  Mr. TANCREDO. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for coming and 
expressing those views. I must say that I respect the gentlewoman's 
opinion immensely; and as a matter of fact, they did come to my office 
today, and I enjoyed it tremendously. The discussion we had with the 
people who came to my office, there were five, and we talked about this 
very issue. And I kept saying to them the one thing I wish they would 
just help me understand, and I say this to the gentlewoman, how do I 
explain it? How do I explain our willingness to do this, to provide 
amnesty for people who are here illegally even though they have? As the 
gentlewoman says, and I think absolutely accurately, that for the most 
part 90 percent of them are here doing honest labor and doing it under 
difficult conditions and have done it for a long time, all that is 

  But there are millions of people seeking that exact same opportunity, 
and they are all doing it the right way. They are waiting out there. 
All over the world they are waiting to come here for that same exact 
opportunity, and they are filling out the information, and they are 
sending in their visa requests, and they are paying fees to lawyers. 
And they are doing all kinds of things like that. And millions have 
come that way and think to themselves this is not fair. This is not 
fair that I had to go through this or that I am being put through this, 
but yet the people who have come here illegally have gotten this 
opportunity. I understand the gentlewoman's concern for these people 
and for those who are seeking this legalized route, but every time we 
do this, and we have done this, this is not unique, in 1996 we provided 
amnesty. What did it solve? It only created a system that increased the 
flow of illegal aliens into this country.
  If we will secure this border, and I believe we can do that, the 
gentlewoman and I may argue about whether or not this is feasible. I 
believe it is. I believe the technology is there. I have seen it on the 
northern border, by the way, where I go to. I have seen it in 
operation. We can use technology including unmanned aerial vehicles and 
radar and a variety of other technologies to help secure the border. If 
we can secure the border and create a guest worker program that then 
allows people to come into this country in a legal process that 
protects their rights so they are not getting in the back of trailers 
and getting suffocated, so that they are not coming across that border 
and dying in the deserts, so that they can do it in a legal manner, I 
am absolutely totally supportive of it. But I cannot possibly support 
it along with amnesty. There is no reason that we have to add amnesty 
to any sort of guest worker program.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. TANCREDO. I yield to the gentlewoman.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Might I give him a response? I think the 
response is because the American people, one, are compassionate; but 
they are practical. And I think this is part of the answer. The other 
part of the answer is why do we want to do it? Because a young 
Guatemalan came to this country illegally, and he lost his life 
fighting for us in Iraq.
  I think if we tell the story of immigrants, and I do not like the 
word amnesty. It was not part of my understanding of immigration law. I 
do not like that word because I think one thing about Americans, they 
believe in hard work and they believe that if they are here working 
hard and if they are here not involved in criminal activity, they can 
understand that maybe there should be a reward. So I do not like 
``amnesty.'' I have never bought into ``amnesty.'' I like this concept 
called earned access to legalization, and I do not even suggest, Madam 
Speaker, that it would be, if you will, a question where it is a gift. 
And you added guest worker. That is a separate thing because the 
practical part of it is, as I think most Americans know, I do not know 
how we get 8 million people out of the country. And I do not know how 
we criminalize 8 million people. So what I am saying is have they been 
here 3 years? Have they not been involved in any criminal activity? Can 
they document that? Have they been paying taxes, sales taxes, et 
cetera? Have they had these three things? Can they then apply?
  The gentleman makes a point there is a list. One of the things we all 
agree with is that we have suffered under the burden of an agency that 
has not worked. Even the gentleman probably has a long list of 
immigration issues, business people who say I have sent in all the 
papers, and I cannot get my employee over here to work with a green 
card. But what I am saying is I think Americans are practical and I do 
think they are compassionate, and I think they understand some of the 

[[Page H9208]]

that the gentleman is saying. Obviously, we vigorously disagree. But I 
am looking for places where we can agree. I do not like the word 
``amnesty.'' I do not use the word ``amnesty.'' I like earning it. And 
I like the fact that there is a deciding body now in power with a whole 
bunch of new rules. I am talking about the new bureau on immigration. 
So they can actually say no to these people who will come in and they 
say, You get it; you do not. I am sure we will get complaints on that, 
but it makes a difference.

  Mr. TANCREDO. Madam Speaker, would the gentlewoman agree with me that 
before any kind of guest worker program is put in place, it is 
imperative that we secure the border? Because if we do not secure the 
border, having a guest worker program legalizing 8 to 10 million people 
who are here, and creating this guest worker process is essentially 
meaningless. Because no matter what we do, we will say here are the 
rules under which they can come into the country under the new program 
and they have to do X, Y, and Z, and the employer has to follow these. 
Of course, the minute we constrain it that way, we are saying if they, 
however, avoid the law, if they can come in illegally, they will ignore 
it. The employer will ignore it. People coming in will ignore it 
because there is an easier way to do it, unless we secure the border.
  So if the gentlewoman is looking for a place to agree, then I would 
ask her if she would agree with me that we have to, number one, secure 
the border, whatever that takes, and we could argue about how that is 
to occur, but come to a position where we are not looking at this 
800,000 people a year coming in. We all know where it is happening. We 
see it. We reap the whirlwind with it. If we can agree with that, then 
I will be happy to discuss the possibility about what comes next in 
terms of a guest worker program.
  I yield to the gentlewoman.
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Speaker, let me say to the 
distinguished gentleman, a guest worker program, those of us who work 
from the legislative perspective, and as the gentleman well knows, I 
serve as the ranking member on the Immigration, Border Security, and 
Claims Subcommittee. The guest worker program we sort of tie to the 
temporary worker program, and I agree with the gentleman. An earned 
access would be individuals who work in many other places and would 
then ultimately seek to have legal permanent status. But I think we are 
both moving in the same direction, and here is what I would say to his 
question. I am from Texas; so we have generally had very cordial 
relationships or relations with our closest neighbor, and that is 
Mexico. But I think we can take it to the next step when we talk about 
securing the border. I, frankly, believe Mexico wants the border 
secured. We want the border secured. But the reason these people come 
is because of utter poverty.
  This is a time, my distinguished friend, if we can work with Mexico 
to begin to work on that economic base that then draws people home, the 
woman from California (Ms. Solis), and I will be joining her, I 
believe, will be going to look at the worst poverty that one can 
imagine. So I would say to the gentleman, I think securing the border 
in a way that is responsible respects the fact that Mexico is an ally 
just for the fact that everybody has a sovereign right to do so; but as 
we do it, let us do it by fixing some of the problems that are broken 
in terms of the economy over there, in terms of these 8 million that 
are here, in terms of creating at least a pathway.
  Guest worker is one pathway; earned access is another. But I do not 
think we can quarrel about securing the border, and I would hope that 
my good friends in the immigrant advocacy area know that that is not a 
situation where it is condemning immigration. It is suggesting that we 
all have to work toward balancing the security of our respective 
nations. But I think if we worked on the economy that draws people out 
of the deepness of Mexico just to be able to live, we could understand 
their plight and other places in South America.
  And I would just close on this and yield back to the gentleman. And I 
simply say if we had an equitable immigration policy, if we did for the 
Haitians what we do for Cubans, if we did for the Africans what we do 
for others, if we say that immigration includes the Irish or the 
English and then we got a policy that worked, we might even find 
ourselves somewhere near thinking that we have a solution.

                              {time}  2030

  But I thank the gentleman for yielding to me. The gentleman knows my 
passion. The gentleman knows my sense of balance and my absolute 
commitment to the idea that those who come now deserve our respect and 
admiration because they have come to contribute, they have come to 
serve in our military, and they have come to get our support.
  Mr. TANCREDO. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman. I absolutely 
respect every single person. I understand entirely why these people 
come. I would be doing exactly the same thing. My grandparents did 
exactly the same thing. It is not the individual that I complain about, 
it is our own government's policy, and I ask us to look seriously at 
changing it for all Americans.


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