Rep. Tom Tancredo, Congressional Record, Jun. 15
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Speaker, we have, I think, had an incredibly interesting hour preceding this and discussion of our efforts in Iraq and indeed around the world in the fight against terror.
I want to talk a little tonight about our efforts to defend the homeland, essentially. Our efforts to deal with the fact that we recognize all the things that we have said up to this point in time, the last hour at least, have been rather ominous. They have been frightening in many ways because they lay out a situation for us that we cannot ignore, and that is this, that our enemies are willing; that they will go to any length to try and bring us down; that they are driven by a theocratic and ideological motivation that knows no bounds. They are fanatical.
Unfortunately, every single day in the paper we see the fact that somebody has decided to commit another act of terrorism, blow themselves up or set off a bomb along the side of the road and kill Americans and kill Westerners and kill members of the coalition forces; and we recognize, as I say, that these people are fanatics. They are driven with a passion that knows no bounds. They will do anything necessary to advance their cause, anything.
That includes, of course, bringing the war here to our shores. We have seen it happen. We also know that it is not just a possibility, that it will happen again. It is a probability. So we have been talking in more grandiose terms for the last hour about how to fight the war on terror.
I must tell you that I sort of reject or am concerned about the use of the word “terror” to describe the enemy, because it is an amorphous term. It does not really and truly let people understand exactly what it is and who it is we are up against. I believe that this is a war against fundamentalist Islam. It has been going on for a long time. It has gotten hot and cold. It has been fought in various places around the world and never been really very much at the top of our list of concerns because the oceans have separated us. This war has gone on, East against West, if you will, certainly fundamentalist Islam against Judeo-Christianity for now centuries. This is the latest iteration but it is much more dangerous than any other stage of this conflict because, of course, today’s technology provides those folks with an ability to strike us regardless of the fact that we have oceans separating us.
They do so by coming into our country. They come across undefended borders, both northern and southern borders of the United States. They come into Canada where their policy of immigration is so liberal, especially their policy toward people who claim to be refugees, is so liberal that I have only slightly jokingly said that Osama bin Laden could land in Toronto after having cut off his beard, call himself Omar the tentmaker and claim to be a refugee and the Canadian government would immediately allow him entrance into Canada and, by the way, give him $150 for his trouble and tell him to[[Page H4160]]come back in 6 months for a review of his case.
We know that people have come into both Canada and into Mexico who are in fact terrorists. They are part of the fundamental Islamic terrorist organizations. They come into the United States among a flood of immigrants coming into this country, mostly illegally, across our northern and southern borders, most of them, of course, as we have said over and over, coming for relatively benign reasons, not coming necessarily to be Americans, not because they are hoping against hope to connect up with this thing called the American dream, to disavow their past allegiances, to ignore the country of origin, to break with the old and start with the new. No, no, that is not what is motivating most of the people who are coming into the country at this time illegally. They are coming simply for the economic advantage that the Nation offers.
Of course, that is a very alluring reward and it is one that most of our grandparents had in mind when they came, also. But there was a great difference between the immigration of the 1900s, the early 1900s and late 1800s, not just in the type of people who were coming because many of them were coming also with the desire to cut with the old and attach to the new. That is something my grandparents talked about often. But they also were coming into a country that was quite different. As I have said on many occasions, the country into which they came was a country that required much of them. When they got here, they had two choices and only two choices. They could work or they could starve. There was nothing else. There was no social service benefit. There was no aid to families with dependent children. There were no food stamps. There was nothing that was provided to them but what their own labor could in fact develop and provide. As a result of that and the fact that you had people in the United States who expected people who came here to become Americans, you had a great deal of pressure on the immigrant community coming into the country, a great deal of pressure to integrate into the society. Sometimes that took an ugly tone and aspect but for the most part it happened in a relatively communal way.
Immigrants came into our public school systems where they were taught in English. Their parents attempting to get better jobs recognized that one of the things they had to do in order to acquire that next step up the economic ladder was to learn English. In doing so, we saw that the pressure to integrate and to assimilate from our side and the pressure to integrate and assimilate from their side worked relatively well, so that out of all of the ghettos, the Italian ghetto, the Jewish ghetto, Hungarian, Polish, you name it, out of those ghettos that were scattered along our East Coast and some of our major cities in the Midwest even, out of them came a group of people that spread out over the country as Americans, losing, detaching their identity, detaching from their past identity and connecting with the new one.
This was a different country, as I say, and to a certain extent people motivated by different reasons when they came. We have changed a great deal, of course, about who we are, and we have begun to become obsessed as a nation and a culture with the concept of multiculturalism and diversity.
Recently I was told about a school in my district, a community college in Colorado, I believe it was Red Rocks Community College, where they had a diversity week that had been planned and booths would be set up to again explore and heap accolades upon the fact that we are such a diverse society. A group of students looking at the array of booths that had been set up realized that they did not find themselves represented at any of these different booths because they were simply Americans. They were not identifying with people who thought of themselves as something else before they thought of themselves as Americans. And so they went to the administration at the school and they asked if they could set up an American booth. After some consternation, they were allowed to do so. So you had among all of the other booths, and I do not know how they were named or how they were divided, but among all the booths talking about the different groups of people who are here, we had another one called the American booth.
We have, of course, seen hundreds of examples of what happens in our schools and in our society in general when the media and the academic institutions are all devoted to focusing in on the issue of diversity, focusing in on all the things that separate us as a people and not by the things that hold us together. Diversity is a fine thing and we can enjoy it and we can explore it, but it cannot ever be the only thing that holds us together because, of course, it is oxymoronic to even think that that is a possibility, that diversity is our only commonly held value.
Yet that is what is happening to us. That is what I see in the schools I go to. That is what I see continually being held up as the ultimate goal for all Americans, to be diverse and to worship multiculturalism. It is a cult that has developed around this whole thing. I call it the cult of multiculturalism because we have people that are driven and consumed by it to the point where anything that is said that suggests that American culture, that Western civilization has value, anything that even intimates that there is something about us that is admirable as a nation is looked upon with horror, with a sort of revulsion, with a great deal of angst when you talk about it. Somehow the cult of multiculturalism has gotten a lot of people to believe that the only way that you can appreciate or express your appreciation for any other culture in the world is to denigrate your own, is to say there is something wrong with us.
Not too long ago, I went to visit a school in my district. It was a brand new building. The first classes had been in only for a few months. It was a high school in Douglas County, a very upscale county in Colorado, one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. I was asked to go to speak. I went. The entire student body, about 250 because, as I say, the school had just opened, it was the first classes, about 250 students came into the auditorium to hear and their teachers lined up on the sides of the walls and we had an interesting discussion. After about 15 or 20 minutes, they started sending up questions. The first question they sent up, the first one I opened said, what do you think is the most serious problem facing the United States? I said, well, let me ask you a question and then perhaps I can answer that question for you. How many of you believe you live in the greatest nation in the world? A simple question, one that I think most people would assume would elicit an immediate and positive response. How many of you think you live in the best country in the world, the greatest nation in the world? Interestingly, after a moment or two of fairly uneasy silence, about two dozen kids raised their hand. The rest looked and even those that raised their hands looked at the teachers that were lined up on the wall and were leery about it. You could see this. Do not get me wrong. I am not suggesting that the other 200 kids in the auditorium were disagreeing with that necessarily. I did not get that feeling. But what I think I saw there was a group of students who had been completely and totally uneducated about who we are, what we are and whether or not there is any value here. Therefore, if they said yes to that question, who knows, somebody, a teacher, perhaps, seeing them do that, may have when they went back into their room asked them to explain why they said that and they had challenged them, almost certainly would have, and they could not defend it. That is the feeling I had. They were not intellectually armed with the ability to make that defense.
I suggest to you that we could do this in any high school in the United States of America and we would get varying degrees of response but you would not, I think, for the most part be surprised to hear if we did this that a majority of students chose not to raise their hands in support of that concept. And some would be doing it because they do not believe it is, but in fact there are other cultures’ ideas or cultures and nations as good if not better than the United States and so why should they be so chauvinistic to express a desire to explore the greatness of America.
And so we talked a little bit about that. Actually the principal came up to me at the end and was concerned about[[Page H4161]]it. Remember, he had only been there a couple of months himself. I certainly do not blame him. As a matter of fact, I was very encouraged by my discussion with him. He was concerned about what he saw. He had read a book that I had read and we talked about it at length. It was called “Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington. Mr. Huntington has a new book out now that I will be mentioning in a minute or two. We were talking about this phenomenon, of what is going on in the United States, about how difficult it is now for us as a nation to really think about who we are and where we are going and what it is we are trying to accomplish and whether or not it is worth it. It is easy for us to react viscerally when we are attacked. When we see planes crashing into buildings and thousands of Americans dying, we react viscerally.
I will never forget reading about what was happening on a street in Boston where there had been several flags flying, none of which were American flags, up to September 11 and then right afterwards on this street in Boston, there appeared something like 50 American flags and a bunch of others.
And every single week since September 11, there are fewer and fewer American flags flying there. In fact, now we are back to the original number of other flags being flown on this particular street, and we have sensed that there is a loss of, I do not want to say enthusiasm for this war, for our actions in it, but we can tell it is diminishing; and you really have to ask yourself whether or not that is the reason that it is happening, is that it is partly a result of our own unwillingness to, number one, understand who we are fighting. That is, it is not just a terrorist, that it is an “ism,” fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, and that it is threatening our way of life. It is threatening us, that the people who hold the beliefs that we call Islamic fundamentalists are people who will come here, and who are here and who would kill every single one of us and our children, because we do not fit with their view of the world.
If we do not see this and we do not think of it and it is just this, quote, war against terror, we can easily lose, I think, the willingness to continue in the pursuit of the goals which I said in the earlier hour I believe to be admirable.
I worry about the issue, and I talk about immigration, and I talk about what is happening inside our country, this cult of multiculturalism; and people suggest that it is confusing to them to understand how we connect the two, but I think it is relatively easy. It is simple.
The cult of multiculturalism is problematic. It is propped up by massive immigration and by just the political forces that are arrayed in the United States for open borders, for sort of a new world order.
I will never forget having a discussion in Mexico with a gentleman by the name of Juan Hernendez, who was the head of something called the Ministry for Mexicans Living in the United States, which I thought at the time was a strange name for any sort of ministry. I asked him maybe 2 years ago what it was about, and he said, Well, it is to increase the flow. And I said, The flow? He said, Yes, the flow of people into the United States, of Mexican nationals into the United States. I said, Why would you want to do that? He said, Well, Congressman, it is pretty simple. Well, first of all, we have a population of people in Mexico between the ages of 18 and 25 that has doubled in 10 years. He said, The unemployment rate for that particular group of the population is about 40 percent. That is a very unstable situation. Moving them north where there are jobs, that is good for us, relieves the problems that we have here in terms of unemployment.
He said, then of course a secondary benefit as a result of this movement of people, and he just kept calling it migration instead of immigration, he said, And the good thing that happens as a result of this migration is the fact that all those people who go send money home to Mexico.
In those days, that was 2 years ago, it was about $13 billion a year. It is closer to 15 or $16 billion dollars a year now, and reports just came out a little bit ago. By the way, they are called remittances. That is what the term is to describe the dollars flowing from the United States to countries outside our borders, and the remittances now comprise about $30 billion flowing to Latin America alone, somewhere around 40 to $45 billion going out over the rest of the world, in total, I should say. This is an enormous, enormous amount of money; and it accounts actually for more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product of at least seven or eight countries out there.
In Mexico it is more significant than any foreign investment whatsoever, than any corporations investing in Mexico. It is more significant than tourism dollars. It is second only, in terms of the dollars coming into the country, to Pemex, the country’s oil company, governmentally owned oil company.
So he said, This is an enormously important thing for us, moving our unemployment north, having them employed, and sending money back. But there was something else that he mentioned. He said, And besides that, having lots of Mexican nationals in the United States, and, by the way, he did not distinguish legal or illegal nationals in the United States and he did not care and he told us it did not matter to him, that that distinction was not important, just moving people north was the goal of the Government of Mexico.
Again, when we talk about what is different today about immigration policy, what is different today about what is happening in the world, I guarantee my colleagues in early 1900s, late 1800s, few, if any, governments around the world were actually pushing their people into the United States, were actually encouraging the depopulation of their own country.
But now Mexico is not alone in this. Now Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, all kinds of countries are pushing us constantly to open our borders. They are always talking about the need for us to relax our immigration policy. Remember, they relaxed their immigration policy not one iota. Mexico and all of these countries have a very strong immigration policy. If one sneaks into their country, they are in big trouble. They will go to jail if they are found there without the proper documents.
I have visited the detention camps in Mexico. They are not nice places. They are not places where people are given nice uniforms, shoes, clothing, a bunk, chess tables, checker tables, basketball courts. And what I am describing of course are the detention centers that we provide in the United States. Free medical care. By the way, one comes into the detention center and the first thing they do in the United States is get a physical, a dental and medical exam. Anything that is wrong with them we will take care of. They have actually turned themselves in in order to take advantage of the medical.
Again, it is not really much of a joke, but I am amazed at the irony of the fact that there are two groups of people in the country that can get all of the free medical attention they need, and those are people who are in prison and people who are here illegally. They have access to all of the medical facilities in the United States. Even when we arrest them for being here illegally, we provide them mental and dental treatment. If they have bad teeth, we will take care of it. If they have cancer, we will send them to an oncologist. One can get an MRI. There are huge machines that are not available to people in my own district, that cannot afford that kind of medical help. But we provide it to people who are coming here illegally, as opposed to what the other countries in the world do for people who sneak into their country. If I sneak into Mexico and I am found there and I cannot prove that I am a Mexican citizen or that I have a visa, if I am in Mexico or Guatemala or any other place almost on the Earth, if I say I am sorry, I do not have the documentation, can I send my children to the schools in Mexico or Guatemala or Honduras or France or anywhere else in the world, of course not.
Can I expect to be treated if I am there with some disease and they know I am there illegally? No. Can I get a driver’s license in any country in the world if I am there illegally? Of course not. Any country but one. Can I get social service benefits if I am in any other country in the world illegally? Of course not. Yet all of these countries[[Page H4162]]demand from us a policy that says, Open your door, we want in, we will benefit. The government benefits as a result of the fact that you are so stupid that you do not secure your own borders, and, by golly, we do not want you doing it.
And as I mentioned, Mr. Hernendez said that the other good thing about the movement of massive numbers of Mexican nationals into the United States was that, in fact, he said, They will influence your government’s policy vis-a-vis Mexico, just their presence, he said. Just the numbers, he said. That is certainly true, absolutely true, and it was so candid. It was so refreshing to have somebody actually say what we all know to be true, but so many people want to skirt that issue. Why do Members not find it bizarre or peculiar at least that the President of Mexico or the President of other various other countries in Latin America are demanding that we simply open our borders?
And they are doing many things to try to force us to do that. They are trying all kinds of diplomatic ways of doing it. They are, interestingly, even using the issue of treaty relationships, extradition treaties, in order to pressure us to open our borders. Mexico has decided that they will not return anybody to the United States who is wanted here for a crime for which they could be sentenced to death. Not too long ago they decided to expand that definition of cruel and unusual punishment to anybody who could possibly be sentenced to life in prison. That is cruel and unusual punishment. Let me tell the Members if they have ever been around, as I say, a Mexican prison, they would suggest it is a lot fewer years than life in prison that could be described as cruel and unusual in that system. But, nonetheless, that is their position. And now we have got hundreds, in fact, even thousands of people having committed murders in the United States, fleeing to Mexico to seek protection of the government.
David March, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, was pulling over a gentleman in the streets of Los Angeles not too long ago, and when he walked up to the car, this person in the car shot him in the torso. He fell to the ground. The guy got out of the car, put two bullets into his head, waved some sort of gang sign, got in and drove off. He is now in Mexico. Everybody knows where he is. Everybody knows where this gentleman is. They will not extradite him. By the way, we found out that he had twice before come into the United States illegally, twice before was returned to Mexico, and of course, because the borders are porous, just turned around and walked in. And by the way, there were, as I understand it, outstanding warrants out on him at the time for violent crimes.
Now Mexico knows exactly where he is, will not send him back. And when we ask why, they say it is because the court said that they cannot send people back for cruel and unusual punishment. Here is the truth of the matter: they will not send him back until we liberalize our immigration policy with them.
There are now 600 warrants out in California alone, in the Los Angeles County area alone, 600 warrants, murder warrants, out for people who fled to Mexico; 300 more in the rest of the State, almost 1,000 people alone from Mexico spread cross the United States. Who knows how many thousands of other people have sought the protection of the Mexican Government after having committed heinous crimes here. And Mexico refuses to do anything about it, while simultaneously demanding that we open up our borders.
It was impressive that Mr. Hernendez would say what he said. He went on, by the way, to say something at the very end of the conversation that startled all of us. There were three Members of the Congress there. And again his candid response to our questions was just really quite amazing. When we all suggested and I suggested that I thought the actions by his government could actually be called aggressive actions against another country, using their people, using their immigration and our immigration policy to actually try to change America, he said, Congressman, in a relatively condescending way, You know what? It is not two countries. It is just a region.
Maybe so, in his mind anyway. And in the minds of many people here in the Congress, certainly in the administration I know there are people who believe that is the case that borders are no longer of any value, they are irrelevant, and they only serve to impede the flow of goods and services and people; and the sooner that we essentially get rid of them and move toward a European Union model, the better we are.
The next iteration of that movement in the United States or on the North American continent will be the Free Trade of the Americas coming up here for a vote at some time, we are not sure when, they are still negotiating, but that is what in store.
It is always couched in the language of “free trade.” Certainly I came here as a free trader. I am more and more concerned about the implications of free trade, and especially the immigration implications of free trade, certainly the job implications of free trade.
But, that is where we are moving toward, this concept, this world of just a region and not nation-state. The idea of the nation-state is old, anachronistic, and harmful, in that we should not be teaching our children that there is something unique about America, because, after all, we are soon going to sort of expand our horizons and we will not be thinking of things like the nation-state any more.
I worry about the degree to which that clash of civilizations that Samuel Huntington talked about can be won by the West if we become more and more confused about who we are, about what it is we are trying to accomplish in the world and why who we are matters.
This is Mr. Huntington’s latest tome, it is called Who Are We? Who Are We? It has only been out for a short time. I have gotten about three-quarters of the way through it on plane flights back and forth from my home in Denver to Washington.
It is a fascinating read, and I certainly would recommend it to anyone out there who is interested in this kind of an issue, because he asks a very important question: Who are we? He talks about the implications of massive immigration into the country and how this exacerbates the problem of trying to figure out in fact who we are, when internally, as I say, we have changed ourselves.
The cult of multi-culturalism tells our children, and certainly tells immigrants coming here, they should not connect to anything we think of as an American ideal; that we are just a culture, just a place on the planet, we are all just residents. That is what it is, we are just residents here, with no other significance; and that soon all boundaries, all borders will be gone, and we will all be joining hands and singing Kumbaya.
Well, it will be out of tune, I will tell you that, and I do not believe for a moment that that is the world, that that kind of idealistic impression of where we could be, is where we indeed would go.
I believe that the concept of the nation-state is important. I believe that the United States of America is unique in many ways. It is certainly unique in that it is the only country, when it was started in the 1770s, it was the first country ever started on the basis of ideas alone.
That is enormously important for us to think about. It was not a group of people who were necessarily held together by ethnicity; it was not a group of people held together because a king or monarch had drawn a circle or lines around a particular chunk of land and said this is a country.
Our country started because of a set of ideas. It is true, for the most part, the people here at the time were much more homogenous than today’s society, but we were able to sustain the ideas and ideals of America because the people coming here and the people here in a way forced that assimilation and understanding and acceptance. They said if you are going to be here, you have to speak English and you have to think about yourself as an American first, and you cannot have a thing called dual citizenship.
Today there are millions, I saw an estimate not long ago of 10 million Americans, who carry dual citizenship. It spiked right after Mexico allowed Mexican nationals to claim dual citizenship also. Our neighbors to the south are wonderful people, and it is[[Page H4163]]important to understand that in order to debate this issue successfully and with any degree of hope that we can be successful in moving the public policy of this country in one way, it is important to know that you should never, ever, ever come to this issue with animus in your heart for any people or Nation or ethnic group. It is not a racial issue in the slightest.
The people who argue this, or on the other side of this debate, will constantly try to change the discussion and change the debate to some sort of racial thing. They do that usually when they run out of all intellectual argument, and that is the last arrow in their quiver, racist, xenophobe, ethnocentricity, all of these things that are epithets that most people in this room would certainly shrink away from and would resent being called. No one wants to be called those things.
The hope of our opponents in this issue is they will, by using those terms, they will eventually shift the debate away from the real issues, as to who we are, where we are going and how we are going to get there as a Nation, as one group of people held together by a common set of ideas. Instead of that, we will want to talk about personalities and cast aspersions and make people think less of you because of what names you are called.
But it has nothing to do with that. At least it certainly does not have anything to do with that in my heart or mind. But it is a strong desire to see us think about these issues in a rational way, and begin to think about the importance of establishing and reestablishing borders, securing those borders, not just because we know people are coming across for the purpose of doing us great harm, but also because it will help us begin to once again think about who we are and determine whether or not in fact we are worthy to be here and be the light shining to the world that Ronald Reagan so eloquently described us as.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that guarantees our success as a civilization; nothing. Certainly older ones, certainly ones that were more expansive, had more of a far-flung empire and thought of themselves as impervious to any sort of aggression, are gone, they are below the sands of time, and the people living in those civilizations that are long since gone certainly thought to themselves for the most part that they were going to be there forever.
There is nothing that says we will achieve that. There is nothing that says we will achieve another 50 years of preeminence in the world if in fact we lose sight of who we are, if we cannot answer this question that Samuel Huntington asks.
So we have to attack this from many angles, and I try to talk about it, as well as I can anyway on evenings like this, try to encourage people to think about these issues. And simultaneously we have to address the more mundane aspects of it. Will we increase the number of Border Patrol? Will we actually use the military assets that we have to secure our borders? Will we go to other countries around the world and tell them that we need them to help us secure our own borders, just as they secure theirs, and encourage them to stop trying to change America in order to benefit their own situation, and to begin thinking about how they can internally change who and what they are to accomplish what we have.
As long as we allow ourselves, as long as we allow America to be the pressure valve, the release valve, for the world, for the Third World, there is very little pressure there left to push back and say to countries, you have to figure out a way to do this yourself, and do it internally.
We have to tell our local politicians, again, this is the mundane aspect of it, this is the coming down to the nitty-gritty aspect of our discussion about this rather heady topic sometimes, and that is what we have to tell our State and local officials that they have the responsibility, and that responsibility is to help maintain the integrity of the United States of America; and that when they pass idiotic laws, like sanctuary city laws, or when States like Maine declare themselves to be sanctuary States, that all of the misguided, gooey, sort of idealism that may have gone into the discussion and may have gone into the decision-making process in order to get them to that point is not going to help us in the long run, and it is going to in fact hurt us.
It is very difficult. The Federal Government has a rather schizophrenic history of dealing with the issue of immigration. Sometimes we tell the old INS to go out there and do their job; to go into work sites and find people who are working illegally; to find the employers who are in fact employing people who are here illegally. So they do it. They did it in Georgia a few years ago, they did it in Nebraska, in the packinghouses of Nebraska and the onion growers in Georgia. And they were immediately, immediately, excoriated by Members of the Senate from those States, and certainly Members of the House in those States, and told to stop it, knock it off; you are bothering our producers and our business interests.
So the INS said, I was just trying to enforce the law. They were told, well, the law is good to talk about. It is not good to enforce it, so forget about it.
Then we get mad and we say, how can it be that we have got 13 to 15 million people in this country illegally, we have got 400,000 or 500,000 actually ordered deported who simply walked away, they are out there somewhere? Every time we pick someone up who is now arrested or alleged to have plotted some act of violence against the United States, in the last few days you have been reading about this, all of these people, of course, are here illegally.
How did they get here? What is going on? How come Homeland Security did not protect us? They get a lot of mixed messages from this body and the other body. It is very difficult for them to figure out what exactly it is they are supposed to do. And we have to commend every single man and woman who works day and night trying to defend those borders.
I have visited the northern border and the southern border many times. I have commended those people who work in those jobs, thankless jobs, frustrating jobs, because they know that for every one person that they stop from getting into this country illegally, two or three are getting by them. Sometimes they are getting by because of the stupid bureaucratic policies we have in place, and sometimes just because they are overwhelmed.
When the President makes a speech, as he did in December, and holds out the possibility of amnesty, and although he does not like calling it amnesty, of course, that is exactly what it was. When he holds that carrot out there, what do you think is going to happen? We are going to be flooded by people trying to get into this country.
Of course, the numbers have gone up dramatically in the last 6 months. Why? It is strange. How could this happen? I will tell you why. The Border Patrol was actually taking surveys, why are you coming? “Amnesty.” This is a word they learned. “I am coming for amnesty.”
I said when the President gave the speech that even if that bill he has proposed, even if that concept does not become law, the fact is that it has already done great damage.
You are not going to hear a debate about this issue during the campaign, because, for one thing, I will tell you what happened on our side. The reaction to the President’s speech was overwhelmingly negative by most Americans, Democrats and Republicans. So you are not going to hear much about it anymore.
On the Democratic side they also know that their position and the position of Mr. Kerry is that of open borders, of greater immigration. The only thing wrong with the President’s plan they said is it did not go far enough. They also know that that is not really the message that is going to attract a lot of voters to their party.
A certain segment they want to placate, pander to, both sides, so we will use it in selected venues, but we are not going to be talking about it during the debates, because this is just not something either side really wants to bring up, because it attracts very few people when you start talking about amnesty, when you start talking about the fact you are willing to open the borders and you are not willing to actually look at the issue of immigration in any detail and any depth.
But we need to do that. That is exactly what we need to do, is to look at this issue in detail and in depth. It is[[Page H4164]]more important than just the jobs issue, although that is enormously important, especially if you are one of the men and women who has lost their job as the result of the importation of massive numbers of cheap labor and then sometimes not so cheap labor, higher-priced labor in the field of technology, but lower priced than when you were doing the job. If you are some of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been thrown out of work by H1B visa recipients, people who have come here primarily from India; again, good, hard-working people, nothing against them or who they are, but they came here. Why? Because they will work for less.
The President said he wants to make sure every willing worker meets up with every willing employer. And I keep thinking, now, you really do not mean that, Mr. President. Because really there are billions of willing workers out there, and they are willing to undercut whoever is here working; and the people who are the most affected by this, the most negatively affected immediately are, of course, low-income earners in this country whose wages have been held down because of the massive numbers of people coming here, low-skilled, low-wage workers.
This does not accrue to our benefit ever at any place, at any time. It does not accrue to our benefit from the standpoint of the “taxes” these folks pay, because I assure my colleagues, they soak up a lot more in revenue in the provision of service and in the creation and maintenance of the infrastructure necessary to support millions of people who are here illegally. They soak up far more dollars there than they ever provide through the tax system which, of course, is a progressive tax which says if you make very little, we take very little away. Not only that, we will not only not take very much money away if you do not make much; we will give you some money.
So now, the greatest scam going is coming here to the United States, filing income tax forms, getting false Social Security numbers, filing forms, listing a whole bunch of people on that form who are your children, and the IRS will give you an ITIN, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, for each one of those children who are ostensibly, supposedly in some other country, but you claim them, you can have them, you claim them; and you of course pay no taxes because you have so many deductions, and you in turn get an earned income tax credit.
So it is not a net benefit to the country in any way I can think of. We have plenty of diversity. We really and truly need to start thinking about what holds us together as a Nation and not what splits us apart. And we have to stop kowtowing to the other countries around who see us as the sugar daddy who will keep them in power, keep their corrupt governments in power by allowing dollars to flow back into those countries by the people they have essentially helped shove into the United States of America. And I mean that literally, sometimes with buses hired by the Government of Mexico to bring people to the United States, sometimes just to the border, let them off, walking into the border, into the desert. That is how much their government cares about them. Or how many of them perish.
Then of course we are told it is our fault that people are dying in the desert. And I keep saying, now, wait a minute, wait a minute. Just tell me, what have I missed here? How many people, how many people have actually died coming into this country through a port of entry? How many have starved to death or died of dehydration or had some other kind of thing befall them coming through the right way. Nobody, of course.
There is a way to come into this country. It is absolutely safe. It is called a port of entry, and it is called with our permission. If you choose to come some other way, some bad things could happen to you; but it really is not our fault, no matter how bad they want to make us feel that this is happening. We take a million and a half people a year legally. We take another half a million or so through a visa process. We are the most liberal country in the world when it comes to taking people in here legally. And yet, of course, many millions more come illegally. Why? Because of course we have people here who want to employ them. We have the cheap labor crowd. We have people on the other side of the aisle who see this as a source of votes. So we see this then that of massive immigration, a source of votes over there, a source of cheap labor over here. That is why we cannot get any sort of an agreement.
I am going to have, Mr. Speaker, several amendments for the bills that are coming up this week, especially the Homeland Security bill, and I am going to try to amend the appropriations bills saying that any State or locality that actually provides sanctuary for people who are here illegally, refuses to help the INS, or now the Bureau of Immigration and Control and Enforcement, refuses to help us enforce the law; by the way, it is already right now on the books. In 1996 we passed a law saying that, in fact, it is illegal for States or localities to prevent the flow of information to the INS or from INS.
Of course, unfortunately, there is no penalty, so people are doing it all over the place. Cities accepting the matricula consular, telling any national living here that they can have all of the benefits they want by simply showing a card that is given to them by a foreign government, not by the United States. Giving people drivers licenses, giving people who are here illegally all kinds of benefits that had been heretofore allowed to go only to people who are citizens. But remember, that concept of citizenship is under attack. It means nothing, it means nothing to many people in this country, and if it means anything at all, it is a negative connotation: citizenship.
So we teach our children that they should not be citizens of the country; they should be citizens of the world, if anything. And we do this, again, as I say, we pursue this kind of bizarre social policy at our peril. And when I introduce these bills, we will see just how far this pressure has gotten us. We will see the fact that this cult of multiculturalism truly has infected even this body. Because I will suggest that no city or State that gives a driver’s license should be able to get a grant from the homeland security.
I am going to eventually try to do the same thing with the transportation bill and say that they cannot get Federal funds for highways if you give illegal aliens drivers licenses. It will go down. I did this last year. I think we got about 122 votes. We will see, maybe we will gain a little, maybe we will lose a little. Yet if we were to ask every single American how they would vote on this, without exception I know how it would come down. My amendment would win overwhelmingly. But in this body, again, held captive by the cult of multiculturalism, it will go down.
I am going to offer an amendment later on to the appropriations bill for foreign operations, which is the bill that we use to provide money to foreign governments, the foreign aid bill. I am going to say that any country that is receiving remittances from the United States, that the amount of remittances coming to that country will reduce the appropriation we have for them in the foreign aid bill. Because after all, if foreign aid is simply the transfer of wealth from one country to another, it is happening through remittances and probably a lot more effectively than providing it by way of a check to a foreign government, oftentimes corrupt government that pockets the money themselves. Again, put that out to a vote, Mr. Speaker, and I suggest to my colleagues that without exception, it would be overwhelmingly passed by the people of this country.
It will not go far here, at least not this time. Maybe the next time, maybe the time after that and the time after that. Because I guarantee my colleagues I will bring it up as long as I can, as often as I can, in every venue that I can. In every bill that I can try to attach something to, I will, because I want the debate to occur, and I want the American people to see just how far we have moved away from their idea of what America is all about, to the one of the elites, what we think America should be all about. Just a region, after all, not a separate country.
They are wrong, and as long as I have breath and I am able to express an opinion on this floor, I will state that. They are wrong.