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Illegal Immigration Hurts Americans

Jul 19, 2004
Floor Speeches

Mr. Rohrabacher's speech on the effects of illegal immigration.

Washington, Jul 19, 2004 -

Congressman Rohrabacher's Remarks on Illegal Immigration
(House of Representatives - July 19, 2004)


Mr. ROHRABACHER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman very much.

First and foremost I would like to honor my colleague from Colorado. All of us in Congress who take this issue seriously know that without the leadership of the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo), this issue would not be getting the attention it is, and it is not getting the attention it deserves as it is.

So the fact is that he has taken many hard knocks; he has been attacked personally and politically for the leadership that he has provided on this issue. I salute him. And, let me just say that I am proud that on most of these fights that I have been able to rush down here and be at his side and fight the good fight, because this issue is determining the well-being of the people of the United States of America.

That is what we are supposed to be doing here, is it not? We are here elected to watch out for the well-being of the people of the United States; more than anything else that we do, that is supposedly our responsibility. Yet, we have seen almost no action on the part of the political establishment of the United States to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, and our people are paying for it. They are paying for it in a big way. There is no doubt what effect this massive flow of illegal immigration that continues into our country is having. And if I would just have any difference with my colleague, it would only be to stress that it is not just illegal immigration from Mexico. And, by the way, we would not care if it was illegal immigration from Ireland or from Germany or Italy or anywhere else. We have an out-of-control flow of illegal immigration into this country. Today, I believe the biggest source of illegal immigration into our country actually is not Mexico, but is China and countries in Asia.

Again, people who come, for them we have, I would say, the most generous legal immigration policy of any country in the world. We admit more legal immigrants into our country than all other countries in the world combined. But to permit millions more on top of that to pour into our country is having a dramatic impact on us, and it is heroes like the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo) who are stepping up to the plate and trying to do something about it.

The average person out there knows that his children and the working people themselves are suffering from the fact that their wages are being kept down. Yes, we had a huge growth in our GNP, but the wages of our middle class and our working class people have been kept down by a massive flow of illegals into our country. There is nothing wrong to think that people who work in hotels changing beds and cleaning should earn a good living, but their pay has been kept way down. People who pick fruit and vegetables, yes, okay, so it is going to cost us 10 cents more for a hamburger. The bottom line is, the people of this country who make hamburgers and are involved with that industry should be paid more money, but they will not be paid more money and the people who clean the buildings and take jobs like this, they are being paid less. The working people are being hurt by this. Of course, we are not going to provide them health care, because we have plenty of illegals who work and are not getting health care. The taxpayers pick up their health care.

In California we know wages are being kept down for normal people. The health care system in our State is collapsing, and around the country there is strain, especially in the southwest. The education system in California, because of the illegal flow of illegals into our system, our children are not getting the education they deserve. It can be traced right back to a massive, uncontrolled flow of illegals into our country, bringing their children, so that they can get benefits that they could never afford in their own country. We should not blame the illegals. Blame us. Blame the government. Because this government is supposed to watch out for the welfare of our people. We are not doing it. The criminal justice system in California is breaking down. Over 40 percent of the people in our prisons and our jails are illegal immigrants.

This is a huge burden on the taxpayers but, also, on our own people. Do my colleagues know what happens when those people get out of jail? They do not send them back to the countries they came from; they let them out among our population and they commit more crimes. Not only the terrorists who came into our country legally and just overstayed their visas, not only have they murdered our people, but every day someone is killed in this country by someone who is not supposed to be in this country because they are not here legally. We are talking about our citizens being murdered, their wages being kept down, their children's education system and health care system going to hell. This is a major issue and it is not being addressed.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tancredo), by continuing to bring it up over and over again, he is doing a tremendous service to our people, and I am proud to stand with him tonight again to try to motivate the people in this city, in Washington, D.C. They say that Washington, D.C. is 64 square miles surrounded by reality. We have to bring some reality here to Washington, D.C. Our people are suffering because of this issue. Let us deal with it.

Let us deal with it, yes, in a fair way. And again, this has nothing to do with where illegals are coming from, but it has everything to do with getting control of an out of control situation that is hurting our people.

So I thank the gentleman for his leadership, and I am proud to work with him on the issue.

Mr. TANCREDO: Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I am certainly proud that he is a friend and has become, and has been for a long time, not become, but has been a major and important voice for reason on this particular issue.