Congressman Rohrabacher's Speech on the Senate Amnesty Bill
Washington, May 22, 2007 -ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - COMMENTS ON THE SENATE BILL
May 22, 2007
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman from California (Mr. ROHRABACHER) is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Speaker, a tsunami of illegal aliens is sweeping into our country, crowding our classrooms, closing our hospital emergency rooms, unleashing violent crime, and driving down wages. This is not theory. It is a harsh, threatening reality borne out not by numerous academic studies, but by the life experiences of the American families from California to Georgia and from Iowa to New Jersey. Our middle class is being destroyed. Our communities are not safe. Our social service infrastructure is collapsing. And, yes, it has everything to do with illegal immigration, illegal immigration which is out of control. And year after year, while our schools deteriorate and our jails fill and our hospital emergency rooms shut down, the elite in this country turns a blind eye to the disaster that is befalling the rest of us, their fellow Americans. The elites obscure the issue and maneuver to keep in place policies that reward illegal immigrants with jobs and benefits, and now, of course, being rewarded with citizenship.
This country, the upper class says, can’t function without cheap labor. Well, cheap to the captains of industry and the political elite, but painfully expensive to America’s middle class. It’s our kids whose education is being diminished, our families who are paying thousands more in health insurance to make up for the hospital costs of giving free service to illegals. It’s our neighborhoods who suffer from crime perpetuated by criminals transported here from other countries. And, yes, our livelihoods are being dragged down as wages are depressed and anchored down by a constant influx of immigrants, mostly illegal, some with H1B visas, willing to work at a pittance. Big business, with its hold on the GOP, in an unholy alliance with the liberal left coalition that controls the Democratic Party, have been responsible for this invasion of our country, this attack on the well-being of our people. This coalition gives the jobs and passes out the benefits that lured tens of millions of illegals to our country. It’s no accident. This predicament was predictable. It’s been over 20 years of bad policy in the making. If you give jobs and benefits, the masses of people over there will do anything to get over here. And that’s what we’ve been doing. Give it and they will come. Surprise, surprise. Now the out-of-touch elite has introduced yet another piece of legislation, this so-called comprehensive reform bill that they claim will fix our illegal immigration crisis once and for all. Of course, this is a crisis they created. They are trumpeting the supposedly new enforcement measures and security measures that will be initiated in this bill, the border fence, new agents, new employer sanctions, if only we will swallow hard and give amnesty to those law-breakers who are already here.
Like Lucy holding out the football for Charlie Brown to kick, the bill is yet another effort to trick us. It’s an illusion, a scam that will make things worse, not better. The Senate legislation now being touted by Senator KENNEDY and a few Republican Senators immediately legalizes the status of 15 to 20 million illegals, while offering more border control, yes, fences and Border Patrol agents and such, as sweeteners aimed at getting us to accept this deal. But we’ve already passed legislation addressing border security. It’s already into law. It’s already against the law, for example, to hire illegals. We’ve already mandated a stronger fence and more Border Patrol agents. So, in reality, this legislation isn’t about those other things which they’re trying to get us to support the legislation about; this is only about legalizing the status of 15 to 20 million illegals and then finding new ways to get more immigrants into our country. It has nothing to do with controlling the flow of illegals and controlling the flow of immigrants into our country, as much as it is expanding the number of immigrants, legal and illegal, coming into our country.
In such situations as we find ourselves in today with this legislation, it’s fashionable on Capitol Hill to say ‘‘the devil is in the details’’. And this bill has enough demons to open up a whole new level of hell. Let’s start, first and foremost, with the most obvious lie, the claim that this bill does not give amnesty to illegal aliens. President Bush has done great damage to his credibility by playing such word games. My friends, the first thing this bill does is legalize 15 to 20 million people who now illegally reside in our country. I don’t care what the President calls it, it immediately legalizes the status of millions who are here illegally. Under the proposed legislation, this amnesty, and that’s exactly what it is, is now called a probationary Z visa. Upon passage of this bill, every illegal alien who can claim they were here in the United States by January 1 of 2007 can apply for a probationary Z visa that grants them immediate legal status to be in the United States.
Listen carefully. Immediately upon this bill’s passage, there is no waiting for triggers or clarification or bureaucratic benchmarks, their status is immediately legalized. It is very straightforward. These probationary visas are available immediately upon the passage of this bill, 15 or 20 million illegals immediately legalized in their status here. What message does this send to the 100 million or so people who are waiting overseas? The 15 to 20 million newly legalized immigrants will be quickly followed by 50 to 100 million more illegals flooding our system beyond the point of return. If we let that happen, this will be a catastrophic event of historic proportions. More importantly, for the American people, it will be a calamity for their communities and for their families. According to this so-called immigration reform bill, how does an illegal become legal? Well, first of all, he temporarily, right off the bat, becomes legal once this bill passes. Very simple, if he wants to make himself legal, then beyond that, he or she walks in and applies. Or he or she just, they don’t have to pay back taxes; they don’t have to do anything else. If this bill passes, he or she doesn’t have to go through health checks. They don’t have to have any other process. They will be granted, immediately after the passage of this bill, legal status to be here, legal status that is supposedly temporary. Supposedly. The illegal pays a fine of $1,000 for this probationary visa, not the $5,000 that we’ve all heard about. It’s $1,000. And for $1,000, one can obtain the legal right to work in this country, to participate in our Social Security system, to be protected by our laws, and given benefits from our government, a plenty good bargain for them.
But for the taxpayers it’s worse than a raw deal. Yes, out of the shadows will come 15 to 20 million people who will now be demanding equal rights to live here freely, to get jobs, to consume resources that they are not now entitled to consume because they are now here illegally. There is another detail that makes this process dangerous and unworkable. The government, according to this legislation, has only 1 business day to act once an application has been submitted, and that is just 1 day to look over that application and to approve it. After 1 business day, that’s 24 hours, the government must issue the amnesty to that applicant. Is there anyone who doesn’t understand that this means huge numbers of criminals and, yes, terrorists, who will obtain the legal right to live and work here in the United States under this rule because of this legislation? One day to oversee this applicant? One needs to ask, who is writing such obvious insanity into Federal legislation? Obviously, whoever is insisting on a 1-day review, that must be followed by an approval if one doesn’t object; 1-day review, obviously, the person who’s advocating this doesn’t care about us at all. He’s looking to make sure that we treat those people who are in this country illegally better. This person obviously doesn’t care, who’s written this into our Federal law, or is trying to, doesn’t care if Americans are victimized by criminals who should never have been permitted to come here, but will come here because we’re only requiring 1 day to determine if they can be approved or not. Now, you think that criminals throughout the world and even terrorists don’t see this as a vulnerability? Who’s trying to foist this off on us?
Who’s trying to write this into Federal law? They’re not watching out for the interests of the American people. This Z visa gives illegal aliens exactly what they want, the legal right to work in the United States, and the Z visa is renewable every 4 years, without limits. The way this bill is written, you can live in the United States until you die by renewing your Z visa every 4 years. Fellow Americans, who love this country, word games aside, this is amnesty of the worst possible sort. Millions of illegals who broke the law will be granted legal status and can stay in this country as long as they please. In fact, I predict millions of people who are currently holding valid student and tourist visas will immediately apply for the Z visa. and why not? Student and tourist visas expire. The Z visa won’t expire; every 4 years you can just renew it. Only if the alien wishes to become a citizen do the increased fines, that $5,000 we’ve heard about, only if they want to become a citizen do these fines and other requirements come into play. No serious person in the immigration reform movement has ever said that it is citizenship that defines amnesty. Amnesty is not being held to account for breaking the law. This Z visa goes beyond not punishing law breakers. It actually rewards law breakers. Wake up, America. Someone is giving away our country. Someone is betraying the interests of the American people.
The perpetrators of this crime want low wages for the benefit of business and they want political pawns for the benefit of the liberal left. This legislation will make a bad situation that we all know exists in this country, it’ll make it dramatically worse. Is this what the American people are calling for when they want comprehensive immigration reform? They want something that will make it worse than we have it today? I don’t understand how we can stand and let this happen to our country. It is up to us to make sure that it doesn’t. This legislation is a declaration of war on the American middle class. And not only will this legislation increase illegal immigration, a clause in the bill will create a rush to the border. Section 601H5 states that anyone arrested trying to cross into our country, who then claims to have formerly lived in the United States will be allowed to apply for a Z visa; which means they can be approved in 1 day. This is a mind-boggling incentive for fraud. Who wouldn’t want to come across the border on the chance that they could bluff their way into getting amnesty and becoming eligible for all our government programs and eligible for the jobs that should be going to Americans?
Expect to hear ballyhoo about the tough enforcement mechanisms and the ‘‘triggers’’ built into this bill. But don’t believe it; it’s just so much more fraud, more flim-flam. The triggers and other schemes in this bill are a farce. There is no reason these safeguards against illegal immigration have not already been implemented. They are now simply being used as a ruse to disguise the one goal of the elite, and that is to legalize the status of those millions who are already here illegally and leading tens of millions more to come here.
The bill calls for 18,000 Border Patrol agents. That’s one of the claims of why we have to support the bill. We’re going to get 18,000 Border Patrol agents. But we already have 15,000 Border Patrol agents. And in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, it’s required that there be 2,000 new Border Patrol agents each year through 2010. So this is simply smoke and mirrors. What this new legislation does is simply reiterate hiring mandates that are already in the system, already mandated by law. This bill simply takes credit for the hard work that’s already been done. Of course, they’re doing that because, again, it’s a cover for their attempt to legalize the status of 15 to 20 million illegals and, yes, to unleash a flood of millions more to come into our country. On another level, how does anyone expect to actually meet the goal of increasing the ranks of the Border Patrol when this administration throws Border Patrol agents into prison and gives immunity to alien drug smugglers? This administration has lost the confidence of the Border Patrol. And I submit at this time a statement by the Border Patrol Agents Council opposing this legislation. I would like to put this into the RECORD at this point, Mr. Speaker.
[From the National Border Patrol Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, May 17, 2007]
SENATE IMMIGRATION REFORM COMPROMISE IS A RAW DEAL FOR AMERICA
More than a century ago, the philosopher George Santayana sagely observed that ‘‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’’ The United States Senate would do well to heed that advice as it once again debates immigration reform.
In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. At that time, it was estimated that between three and four million illegal aliens were living in the United States. The bill promised to crack down on the businesses that hired illegal aliens and step up border enforcement efforts. Since those measures would finally solve the problem of illegal immigration, Congress reasoned, there would be no harm in establishing a pathway to citizenship for those who had been working in this country for a minimum period of time. It was assumed that about one-half million people would qualify for that benefit under those terms. In the final analysis, however, nearly three million illegal aliens became citizens, many of them through fraud. A large number of criminals and even a handful of terrorists were among the beneficiaries of that program.
Twenty-one years later, it is estimated that at least 12 million, and perhaps as many as 20 million, illegal aliens reside in the United States. Quite obviously, the promise of enforcement never materialized. Now, some elected officials are desperately trying to convince the American public that they are finally serious about keeping that promise, and to prove it, claim that they will add about 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 370 miles of border fencing, as well as an electronic employment verification system. While this represents a slight improvement over the current untenable situation, it will by no means stop, or even substantially slow, the current rate of illegal immigration.
As long as impoverished people can find work in this country at wages that far exceed those available to them in their native countries, millions of illegal aliens will continue to cross our borders every year. The only way to stop this influx is to eliminate the employment magnet by means of a foolproof employment verification system. While the plan unveiled by the Senate takes a few small steps in that direction, it would do very little to actually hold employers accountable. In order to achieve that goal, every prospective worker must be required to present a single type of secure biometric employment-verification document whenever applying for a job, and every prospective employer must be required to electronically verify its authenticity. The logical choice for this document is the Social Security card, which every legal worker is already required to possess.
Those who claim that it would be impossible to arrest and deport millions of people ignore economic reality. If illegal aliens can no longer find work in this country because employers are afraid of the consequences for hiring them, they will go home of their own accord.
Unless Congress gets serious about worksite enforcement, it will be impossible to secure our borders. The Border Patrol is totally overwhelmed by the high volume of illegal traffic that streams across our borders every day. Front-line agents estimate that for every person they apprehend, two or three slip by them. At the same time, Border Patrol agents need to be provided with the necessary tools and support in order to be able to intercept the criminals and terrorists who will continue to attempt to breach our borders.
T.J. Bonner, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, issued the following statement today:
‘Every person who has ever risked their life securing our borders is extremely disheartened to see some of our elected representatives once again waving the white flag on the issues of illegal immigration and border security. Rewarding criminal behavior has never induced anyone to abide by the law, and there is no reason to believe that the outcome will be any different in this case.’’
‘‘The passage of time has proven the 1986 amnesty to be a mistake of colossal proportions. Instead of ‘wiping the slate clean,’ it spurred a dramatic increase in illegal immigration. With the ever-present threat of terrorism, it is critical to take the steps necessary to immediately and completely secure our borders. Piecemeal measures will prolong our vulnerability, and are an open invitation to further terrorist attacks.’’
‘‘Rather than the meaningless ‘triggers’ of additional personnel and barriers outlined in the compromise, Americans must insist that border security be measured in absolute terms. As long as any people or contraband can enter our country illegally, our borders are not secure. Sadly, the plan that the Senate is proposing falls woefully short by that yardstick, and needlessly jeopardizes the security of this Nation.’’
As we deliberate on this bill, it behooves us to remember that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean are at this very moment languishing in solitary confinement in a Federal prison. These heroic border guards, one a 10- year veteran who was up to be Border Patrol Agent of the Year, another 5- year veteran, these people who were putting their lives on the line for us on a daily basis for years, interdicted a drug smuggler one day. This drug smuggler was transporting over $1 million worth of narcotics into our country. Yet when all was said and done, and the drug smuggler had escaped, but his drugs were interdicted and seized, this administration turned what may have been just administrative paperwork and literally things not reported right on paper, mistakes that may or may not have been made by the agents, and I think that after looking at this, there weren’t mistakes, but if there were, it was procedural mistakes, policy issues there that were being dealt with on paper, they turned that into criminal activity, charging our Border Patrol agents with felonies, putting them away for 10 to 11 years, while siding with the drug smuggler, giving the drug smuggler immunity to testify against the Border Patrol agents as they turned what would be minor mistakes into felonies rather than trying to say, well, you made some mistakes in this, but we will give you immunity, however, so we can get the drug smuggler who is trying to smuggle drugs in to our children and into our communities.
And then there are the cases of Gilmer Hernandez and Gary Brugman, two more law enforcement officers, jailed for stopping human traffickers. Again, the book was thrown at them, the maximum penalties sought, but no prosecution of illegal criminal aliens. This indefensible inclination of the administration, of President Bush’s leadership of the administration, has demoralized our protectors at the border. According to the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 12,000 frontline Border Patrol agents, we are losing 12 percent of our Border Patrol agents a year right now. That amounts to 1,500 officers quitting their job every year. And we cannot replace the ones that we are losing. Why? Because this administration is not backing them up; because they feel that they are being abused by the people, by the government that they are serving. This is the administration that claims to be doing things in this legislation to help increase border security. This administration, this President, has a miserable record of providing border security. Our defenders have been undercut and abused by a personal protege of the President of the United States. This isn’t as if President Bush doesn’t know this. Attorney General Johnny Sutton, a young man who has tagged his career to the President for the last 20 years, he personally decided to prosecute these people, these law enforcement people, to the fullest extent of the law. And he has demonstrated that he will show no mercy for these Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers like Ramos and Compean. The White House and Johnny Sutton will not permit these Border Patrol agents to even go out on bond until their appeal is heard. And it was Johnny Sutton, the U.S. attorney, and prosecutors that decided to prosecute them and let the drug smugglers go, decided to throw the book at them, decided to give gun charges against these people even though it is their job to carry a gun in order to protect us. Well, are we expected to believe that the legislation now pursued by the President, who is behind such nonsensical policies at the border, will help make our borders more secure, help stem the out-of-control flow of illegals into our country? How can we believe that that is what the purpose of this legislation is when at this time the administration is taking steps and has taken steps for the last 6 years to ensure that we would have a massive flow of illegals into our country? These people didn’t just materialize into our country. They have come especially from across the southern border, but across our other borders as well, and there has been no attempt by this administration to get control of the people who are entering via airports from other parts of the world, people who then just overstay their visa. Well, this administration has not done this and has attacked our Border Patrol agents instead. So much for the idea that this legislation, backed by Senator KENNEDY and the President, will somehow strengthen the Border Patrol.
The next trigger that we are told about is similarly fraudulent. The bill requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to have the resources to detain up to 27,000 illegal aliens. How about that? But the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004 already requires almost double that number, 43,000 beds. Again, the bill is simply taking credit for legislation and for mandates that have already been passed into law. They are doing this to confuse the American people because they are using this as a cover to legalize the status of 15- to 20- million people who are here illegally, which will attract tens of millions more. And what this bill doesn’t do and what it doesn’t require may be just as significant as what it does. It does not require worksite enforcement. In an amazing loophole. It only requires the Department of Homeland Security to have the tools to conduct worksite enforcement, but nowhere in the bill does it mandate the Department of Homeland Security to actually conduct worksite enforcement. Since millions of illegal aliens come here looking for work, worksite enforcement is imperative if we are to discourage illegal immigration. If the Department of Homeland Security has the tools, but this so-called comprehensive package does not require them to use the tools, then we are right back in the situation that we are now. The law isn’t being enforced. If it was, then the situation would not have gotten out of hand, as it is today.
One of the triggers in this legislation actually reduces border security. It cuts in half the border fence that Congress required to build on our southern borders. Now, remember we already passed the legislation requiring a fence. Everybody remembers that. Now those who ignored that mandate, the President and others who ignored that mandate, are telling us we must legalize the status of millions of illegals who are in this country in order for us to get what is already required by law. Now, what makes us think they are now going to obey the law, the agreement that they made? What this bill doesn’t do, as I said, speaks as loud as it what it does. It does not require the U.S. to have a verifiable exit system so we know that when visiting foreigners come into the U.S., then we have no idea if they have left. Someone who is coming into the United States on a visa can overstay their visa, and we don’t know if they have left. How can we seek out and deport someone who has violated their visa if we don’t even know if that person is in the country or not? There has been no effort on the part of this administration to try to fix that problem, and this bill does not mandate that.
Furthermore, it does not mandate checks on legal status in order for people who are here to get benefits. So those who oversee the limited resources that we have for our own people aren’t expected to verify the legal status of those seeking to obtain services or benefits that are paid by the taxpayers. Our own people are going to suffer because of this. This is the comprehensive bill that is supposed to help our people; yet it leaves us vulnerable. Illegals are waved right through the system. Let me give you an example. What I have learned is that there are hundreds of thousands of illegals throughout this country who are in Federal housing. Why? Because one member of their family, perhaps a child that was born here once they came to this country illegally, one child becomes a U.S. citizen, and if they have one child as a U.S. citizen, the whole family then gets to have housing benefits from the Federal Government.
Now, tell me this: The American people who are paying the bills, shouldn’t they be getting this benefit rather than a family from overseas who has one child in this country who then supposedly becomes a citizen? What about our people who are barely making it, who can barely afford to pay their rent? They don’t get the housing subsidy. What about our seniors who lose their income or they can’t make it on what their retirement income is? They don’t get the help. But illegals are being herded right through the system and given this help because they have a child that was born here. We shouldn’t even permit an illegal who has a child here to think that that child is going to be a legal citizen. That itself should be taken care of in this legislation, and that isn’t being taken care of. And by letting anyone who is born here become a U.S. citizen, we have again opened up all these benefits to illegals, millions of them, and we have also invited millions to come here to make sure their children become citizens by being born here. And, by the way, the triggers that we have heard about will unleash forces that they claim will make things better, but what about these triggers? How are these triggers going to be met? Well, the Secretary of Homeland Security, all he has to do to say that the triggers have been met is simply submit a written piece of paper that claims the triggers have been met. There is no actual reduction in illegal immigration required before there is a trigger which brings in all of these new immigrants and opens up the rest of the legislation. There is no decrease in, for example, those people who are involved in trying to get jobs through the match file system of Social Security. No, that would be measurable. Perhaps if we had a reduction in the number of illegal aliens in our prisons that could be noted, maybe that would be a good trigger, or anything else that can be objectively measured. No. That might mean that we are actually making progress, and that is the real reason why you have triggers. No, the triggers are there to provide cover. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, all he has to do is simply sign a letter saying that the trigger elements are funded, in place, and in operation. So these supposed triggers, these supposed safeguards, they just have to be in place. They don’t have to have any results, and at that point, that is when the rest of the safeguards don’t make any difference at that point. That is when the meat of the bill goes into effect. The immigration spigot will be turned on by a simple piece of paper saying that something is in place, not necessarily working.
And as we have seen, several of these triggers that I have already mentioned have already been put in place by prior legislation. The wall, building the wall, and expanding the Border Patrol agents, they have already been mandated. So one can expect the trigger letters that we are talking about that they are saying we are going to hold off until this situation is under control, they will be issued almost immediately, and that is predictable. And what happens when a letter certifying that we have gotten tough with border security is issued? Well, once that letter is issued, this legislation provides that a massive, and I mean a massive, guest worker program is then launched. You get that? Expanding the Border Patrol agents and the fence and these things, when they just say they are in place, all of a sudden the new guest worker program is brought out and launched into service. The deep pool of illegals currently here is going to be boosted by a flood of new illegals who know that if they get here, they will likely be given amnesty just like we did in 1986 and just like people are trying to do right now. The lies of the past are almost as blatant as the fraud we are now confronting. The unspoken truth is Senator KENNEDY wants extremely high levels of immigration. The truth is, President Bush wants extremely high levels of immigration. It hurts the well-being of the American people, but if it does, so be it. That’s what Senator KENNEDY and President Bush want. It isn’t enough that we have a 15 percent unemployment rate among high school dropouts in this country, and millions of lower-income Americans who are seeing their wages buy less and less. It isn’t enough that immigration has reduced the wages of low-skilled Americans by about $2,000 a year.
Apparently, we need to push them into abject poverty by importing 400,000 guest workers a year to compete directly with Americans. Yes, 400,000, and again, now, details matter. While Y visas, which are designated for those who are in this new temporary guest workers program, while they are supposed to be only temporary and only good for 2 years, a Y visa holder can eventually apply and get U.S. citizenship. They can also bring their spouse and children. They can stay for 2 years to work. Then they return home, and then they reapply foranother 2-year visa. They can renew the Y visa this way up to three times. Now, who in their right mind actually believes that these people, once they’ve uprooted their families and they brought all this and met these other requirements, that once they are here, that they are just going to go back? When we have millions of people swarming into this country because we’ve already given amnesty to everybody else, why won’t these people in the guest worker program just melt right into the crowds, just go right there? And, of course, they might go in and ask for green cards, which they can do, or they will just melt into the system, melt into our country. Why not? Well, does this sound like it is a temporary guest worker’s program, that 400,000 people are going to be here temporarily? Well, who gets hurt by this nonsense?
This bill allows employers to lay off American workers and replace them with Y visa holders as long as the Americans were fired 90 days before the petition of the foreign worker is filed. This is a huge subsidy to corporate America. It is both corporate welfare and an attack on the paycheck of hardworking Americans who are struggling to keep afloat. We are told we must have these guest workers because Americans won’t take the jobs, like in agriculture. Well, there are Americans who will pick fruit and vegetables. Don’t tell me there aren’t Americans who will go out and do this kind of labor in the fields. In fact, I’ve visited compounds where you have thousands of Americans, men, healthy men, between 18 and 40 years old, who would love to get out and earn some money. These are men in prison. These are prisoners who, after serving their time, 5 to 10 years, they get out with no work ethic, no money, $50 in their pocket and a new suit; and people are surprised when they come back to prison after committing more crime.
Well, let’s put these people to work, rather than wasting all of their time, not developing any work ethic, let’s let them earn $10,000, $20,000, so when they get out, they will have some money in their hand and they will have a work ethic. And half of the money can be used to pay for their own incarceration. When somebody like me says this in Washington, D.C., they make fun of that. They make fun of me for suggesting that prisoners should pick the fruits and vegetables. The people making fun of me, are they watching out for the American people? These prisoners, they will be given a chance if we let them earn a living, come out of prison with $10,000 or $20,000 that they’ve earned, and they’ve paid some restitution in the meantime. So there are people who will do these jobs, even the agricultural jobs. We are told we must have guest workers because Americans won’t take the jobs, like agriculture and other jobs, because the guest worker program isn’t just agricultural work. Look real close, Mr. and Mrs. America. This guest worker program includes a lot of other jobs rather than just agricultural work, cleaning hotel rooms and construction workers, for example. Now, is it really true that Americans won’t do that, or Americans won’t be nannies for other people’s children? No. Americans will do those jobs as long as they get pay commensurate for their work. No, they won’t work like slave labor, like illegals who are pouring over the borders into our country to fill these jobs. There are millions of American women who would love to drop off their children at school at 9 o’clock in the morning and go to work at these various hotels, cleaning the rooms and changing the sheets and then get off by 3 o’clock in order to pick up their kids at school. Yes, millions of American women would like to do that, but they’re not going to work for a pittance, they’re not going to work as slaves. They want benefits if they’re going to work for the job. But with illegals pouring across the border, these millions of American women are left out. There are millions of American women who would love to be a nanny for some rich people who would like to have a nanny for their children, or even some people who aren’t so rich who would like to have some help with their children, but they’re not going to work for a pittance. And all these rich people who have nannies from overseas and are paying them half as much as they would have to pay an American woman to help them, who is being helped? The rich lady or the rich woman who has the children are being helped. Yes, those rich people are being helped. Maybe the immigrant, the illegal immigrant, probably woman, who is helping out as a nanny, she has helped a little bit. Who is the big loser are the American women, who could be earning a decent living to help their families by serving as nannies, because they are women who are mothers and they know about taking care of children. We have frozen them out of the market. We are hurting the American family. We are making sure that families don’t have the extra money, and that these hotel chains can pay people a pittance. The guest worker program starts at 400,000, but it can be increased. This bill allows for adjustments every 6 months based on market fluctuation. Is there a doubt in anyone’s mind that simply allowing the number of guest workers to go up and down will not result in the number of workers going up and up and up? H1B visas and Y visa holders will be taking the jobs that Americans are willing to do, but they will be driving down wages.
In Orange County, I went to a function a few years ago and a fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, Congressman, I am here to thank you. He had a newspaper clipping when we were debating H1B visas here on the floor of the House. He said Congressman, I read your quote. You said if we bring in these hundreds of thousands of people on H1B visas from India and Pakistan to work at our high-tech jobs, we are going to do nothing but depress the wages of the people in the electronics industry. He said, I was laid off, and do you know what happened? I went back to get my old job back. They paid me $80,000, and now they were offering the same job to me for $50,000. And they looked at me and said, if you don’t take this, we can get somebody with an H1B visa to take it, some Indian or Pakistani, so you’d better take it. And he said, I did. He said, you know the difference, Congressman, between earning $50,000 and $80,000 is? I said, what is it? He said, you never dream of owning your own home if you make $50,000 a year.
We are destroying the dreams of the American people in order to what? To bring down wages so that our business elite can prosper, and yes, so that we can bring millions of illegals into this country, millions of immigrants into this country, which the liberal left of the political spectrum thinks that they are going to use these people as pawns in their own political game. They are being exploited by the business community and exploited by the liberal left who control the Democratic party. This is obscene.
Who loses? Yeah, the immigrants are kind of losers, even though they’re a little bit better off. The American people are the losers. What happens to particular Americans isn’t the worst of it. Not only do we greatly expand our guest worker program, we are actually increasing chain migration, even though they are telling us this bill will take care of that. Chain migration allows an immigrant to bring his spouse and children and the sisters and brothers and inlaws, grandparents, aunts and uncles. One of the reasons the wait to migrate to America is so long for many people overseas is that the open slots that could become open to immigrate here legally are going to people who are bringing their relatives over, people who may immediately be on the dole, people who can’t even support themselves, but they are family members. The Senate claims this bill will move away from that, that it will point the system to a merit system, to those who have skills that America needs and will be able to come into the country before the relatives of those people are already here. Sounds pretty good in theory, doesn’t it?
Once again, there are so many loopholes in this bill that the reality of this legislation is just the opposite for which it portends. The bill, as written, for most of the next decade will dramatically increase chain migration. Well, how is that? How? Right now, chain migration is limited to 112,000 per year. This bill increases that. Get this: Chain migration is 112,000 a year; this bill would increase that number to 440,000 per year until the current backlog of applications is filled. That backlog will take 8 years, get that, 8 years to fix, 8 years before the point system we are being told about will come into play, 8 years at a fourfold increase in chain migration during those 8 years. Does anyone here really think that 8 years from now we will implement a merit system for chain immigration? By then we will have 50 to 100 million new illegal immigrants here who have swarmed into our country, and we will be in the midst of chaos and confusion.
One might reasonably hope, after granting amnesty, establishing a new guest worker program, increasing chain migration and requiring trigger mechanisms that already are in place and aren’t needed, that this bill might at least crack down on illegal immigrant criminals. Well, don’t hold your breath. This bill imposes significant obstacles to removing dangerous alien gang members from our country. This bill also narrowly defines criminal gangs so that many small gangs will be excluded from the bill. Further, the government must prove bad intent on the part of the alien gang member in order to remove the alien gang member. All a gang member has to do is sign a piece of paper saying he has renounced his gang affiliation and he can then get a Z visa. He is then getting a visa that will permit him legal status here, even though he’s illegal and part of a criminal gang. Of course a gang member would never lie to us about that, would he? I guess not. Why are we putting out this welcome mat for criminals? This is madness.
Further, the bill weakens the law involving passport fraud and misuse. It actually reduces the punishment for illegal reentry by criminals into this country. The so-called comprehensive bill weakens restrictions that are already in place. And shockingly enough, this bill does not make engaging in a terrorist activity proof that an immigrant is not of good moral character, the good moral character, of course, being a requirement to get a visa.
And the final insult, let’s look at the highly touted electronic employment eligibility verification, the system allowing employers to make sure that the employees they hire are eligible for employment. It’s a fraud. Why? First, because the bill permits the entire system to be changed by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary and the Social Security Administrator. Second, while an illegal alien is appealing a finding of noneligibility for employment, so if he is found not to be eligible for employment, while he is appealing that, he can appeal it administratively, and then he can appeal it in the courts. The illegal can’t be fired while he is appealing that decision. That could go on for years, and so the mechanism is irrelevant. In real-life scenarios, this bill would make that mechanism to check irrelevant. Forget whatever requirements are in the bill. There are over 40 pages of such requirements, such as, in section 302 of the bill, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary and the Social Security Administrator are given authority to change any requirement. Any of the supposed tough mandates can be administratively done and deleted simply by publishing these changes in the Federal Register. What is the purpose of defining a system for page after page in this legislation and then saying, by the way, if you don’t like it or get too much heat from greedy employers or a confused press, don’t worry, you can change it? It can be changed easily without having to go back to the Congress. This is not laying the foundation for meeting serious challenges. This is creating a phony facade to make people think that something else is happening. The final slap? This bill legalizes instate tuition for illegal aliens. If your child goes 100 miles to the next State, he or she must pay for out-of-state tuition. But an illegal alien who is smuggled 2,000 miles by their parents into this country can go to school cheaply and on your tax dollar.
This much vaunted compromise that we are talking about, this comprehensive bill, is in reality an amnesty for everyone; a new guest worker program so your employer can throw you out of work. It vastly expands chain migration. It guts enforcement provisions and makes it easier for illegal alien criminals to stay. If this is a compromise, I shudder to think what the other bill will look like. It would be more honest for the Senate to draft up a bill declaring war on the American people. Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation estimates the cost for the out-of-control flow of illegal immigration will be over $2.5 trillion. That is trillion dollars with a ‘‘T.’’ Babyboomers retiring and the looming crisis in Medicare and Social Security are upon us. What rational person thinks that we can take on another $2.5 trillion in obligations and not see the utter bankruptcy of our country? And what rational person thinks we can absorb tens of millions of new illegals who will be attracted to America once we legalize the status of this bunch who are here now? This goes deeper than economics. Why are we officially endorsing the existence of a permanent class of illegal residents, because when those 50 to 100 million people get here, it will be over. A group of people who are not citizens, who have neither obligation nor benefits of being citizens, will be in our country forever. It will change the nature of the United States. It is changing the nature of the United States. I strongly support legal immigration. Legal immigrants are the bulwark of our economy and our society. They are the most patriotic of Americans. But they have come here to be Americans. They have come here, legal immigrants have come here, to make sure they are healthy, yes, and they can work and they can actually take care of themselves, rather than be wards of the state. They have met these obligations. They want to speak English. But they have come here with the premise, everyone comes here who comes to our country, they know, these legal immigrants, that they have to give up their allegiance to their old country and to truly become Americans, and they want to become Americans. I am proud of those legal immigrants who support me in my district. They deserve the rights and their families deserve the rights of every American, and no one should ever interpret this battle against illegal immigration with any attack on those wonderful American citizens who are here by choice and who have come here legally and come here through the process.
We have a huge group of illegal immigrants here now, and a growing number, who refuse to renounce their allegiance to their old country and to their old ways, but loudly insist on being granted the economic benefits of living in this country. This is a prescription for disaster. For disaster. Legal immigration is a controlled process. We take in more than all the rest of the world combined. We have more legal immigrants into our country than all the other countries of the world combined, and we can be proud of hat. But it hasn’t been enough for those who rake in higher profits when wages go down or for those in the liberal left who want to fundamentally change America and believe a mass of new immigrants will help them do it. America is a wondrous dream. We are letting an elite clique of capitalists and leftists, as unholy an alliance as that is, to turn this dream into a nightmare. The American people need to step forward with a righteous rage. They are being betrayed. President Bush and Senator KENNEDY have an agenda that will destroy America’s middle-class. Those who sign onto this legislation are not, not, representing the interests of the American people. If we do not speak up, the Americans, the patriots, both legal immigrants and people who are born here, if we do not step up there will be another 50 to 100 million people here from abroad and they will live here a decade from now and it will be a different country We will have lost our country. Yet those supporting this invasion of America posture themselves as morally superior. Cities declare ‘‘sanctuary’’ for illegals, these illegals who have broken our laws. These cities who are declaring sanctuary are never asked who is being hurt. They think they are helping people. It is not just the American people being hurt, it is those people waiting in line overseas. Why should the person who has come here illegally, the people who have come here illegally, get the benefits? Why should the people who run the sanctuaries be on the side of those people who cheated and cut in line in front of all of those hundreds of millions of people waiting overseas? The sanctuary cities are treating the good people who would immigrate here legally and are waiting to do so as a bunch of saps.
Any time that we reward illegal conduct and these people who have come here illegally and we say we are reaching out to them, we are going to try to help them, what you are really doing is hurting the people overseas. You are hurting someone else who is a decent, hard-working person who would come here. So anybody who offers sanctuary and is reaching out to illegals is doing nothing but hurting other people overseas. Of course, they are hurting the American people. It is not enough to tell them that. They are also hurting these poor people overseas. These sanctuary cities are contributing to the breakdown of our society. This ‘‘holier-than-thou’’ attitude is not humanitarian. It is phony. Those posers are rarely willing to sacrifice their own resources. They want to spend taxpayer dollars to take care of their humanitarian instincts. The Catholic Church, for example, demands that illegals be given healthcare and education benefits. Let the Catholic Church, if they are serious, pay the bill for the illegals. They can do it. They can provide schools and healthcare. There are a lot of Catholic properties that could be sold to pay for their healthcare. No, they want the American people, other people, to pay for it. The taxpayers. That is not humanitarianism. That is not Christian charity. Then what happens when the next wave gets here, 50 to 100 million illegals? First and foremost, the American people should be loyal to each other. We must care for each other. This is not hate mongering. This is not being against people. Americans of every race, every religion, every ethnic background, we need to be compassionate to each other and each other’s families. We must not drain the limited resources that we have for the Americans in order to give it to the other people who have come here illegally, because we must first care for our own people. That is not hate. That is the right kind of love you have in your heart for your family and your neighbors. This is not humanitarianism, when we give this away to others and encourage millions more to come here. It will cause the collapse of our system and all of us will be worse off. The immigration legislation being foisted upon us will create a different America with a permanent alien underclass, people who may or may not hare our Democratic values and may or may not be loyal to America’s ideals.
It is time for patriots to act, to stand up and be heard. Be angry. Call on elected officials to be held accountable. This supposed comprehensive immigration bill must be defeated, and I would call on my fellow Members of Congress and the American people to join in this fight. We need every patriot to be activated now to save America.