Washington, May 22 -
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.