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    Aug 2006
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    Testimony of
    The Honorable Carlos M. Gutierrez
    Secretary of Commerce
    Department of Commerce

    February 28, 2007

    Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Specter, Members of the Committee, I'm pleased to have this opportunity to discuss immigration reform with you. Thank you for your leadership and hard work on this important issue.

    For several years, we have been in the midst of a vigorous debate about the role of immigration in this country. This is not the first time in our nation's history that immigration has been a source of contention in the halls of Congress and communities across America.

    One result of this passionate debate is that many words in our immigration discourse have lost their meaning, with people often just talking past each other. However, when you peel back the rhetoric and actually have a conversation with Members on both sides of the aisle and all sides of the issue – as I have on dozens of occasions over the past few weeks – you find that while there are policy differences, we are much closer to common ground.

    Secretary Chertoff and I come before you today on behalf of the President with a simple message: we believe that, with some hard work by both Republicans and Democrats, a solution can be found, and we pledge to roll up our sleeves and work with you over the next few weeks and months to find a solution that serves our national interest.

    In the spirit of finding a solution, here is a framework that the Administration believes can help guide us toward good legislation that addresses all the essential pieces of reform:

    Secure U.S. borders

    First, immigration legislation must secure our borders. As Secretary Chertoff will detail in a moment, this Administration has taken dramatic steps in this area, including:

    *doubling spending on Border Security,
    *deploying the National Guard to the Southern Border,
    *initiating the Secure Border Initiative within the
    *Department of Homeland Security,
    *ending “Catch and Release” at the border, and
    *increasing the number of Border Patrol agents.

    These efforts have produced results, and they will continue.

    Give employers the tools necessary to the verify the immigration status of workers they hire, and hold them accountable to do so
    Next, legislation should provide employers with the tools necessary to verify the immigration status of who they hire and hold them accountable to do so.

    For decades, under Republican and Democratic presidents, the Federal Government failed to systematically enforce immigration laws at the worksite. Under the President’s leadership and with Secretary Chertoff’s efforts, this policy has ended.

    Last year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested more than 700 individuals on criminal charges and more than 3,600 on administrative charges. This is seven times the number of arrests completed by the old U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in its last full year of operation.

    While the Federal Government is moving forward in the enforcement arena, more can be done to provide businesses with a workable way to verify the legal status of their employees. Tamper-proof biometric identity cards should be established for foreign workers so that employers have no excuse for violating the law.

    To effectively deter employers from hiring illegal workers, we must ensure that they face real consequences. Our current civil penalties for employers hiring illegal workers, however, are simply inadequate.

    Any employer of reasonable size can write off a small fine as the cost of doing business. I look forward to working with you to establish civil penalties that truly punish egregious violators.

    Provide a lawful channel for employment through a temporary worker program

    Third, we must establish a lawful channel for employment through a temporary worker program.

    A temporary worker program strengthens our national security by providing a legal way for workers to enter the country, allowing our Border Patrol agents and law enforcement personnel to focus their efforts on apprehending dangerous criminals attempting to cross the border – not men and women coming here to work.
    A temporary program is just that – temporary. This ensures that the program does not become an opportunity to stay in the United States indefinitely.

    A temporary worker program must also serve our economy’s need for labor. There is a reality that we must confront: many jobs in this country will not be filled without foreign labor because Americans are unwilling to fill these jobs.

    Businesses across the country repeatedly report difficulty filling jobs. There were 4.4 million job openings in December, 2006.

    Not only is this an issue right now, but it will increasingly be a problem for us in the future unless we acknowledge and address our economy’s need for labor. Let me be clear on this point: without people to fill the jobs it creates, our economy will not continue its growth.

    And this growth has been remarkable. Our economy has added jobs for 41 straight months, more than 7.4 million jobs have been created, and real wages and real after-tax income have both increased for Americans. Since 2001, productivity had strong annual average growth of 3.1 percent.

    We know that immigration has been an essential part of this growth: immigrants make up 15 percent of our labor force and account for about half of the labor force growth since 1996. Even with the flux of immigrants, the American labor market remains tight, with the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent.

    Immigration contributes to economic growth in three important ways. First, immigrants are grabbing the initial rungs of the economic ladder in this country – taking jobs in agriculture, hospitality, and construction where employers can’t find Americans to do them.

    Their work in these jobs directly provides Americans with affordable goods and services that sustain our quality of life. We also know that immigrants have a multiplier effect in our economy by supporting American businesses and workers in the supply chain who depend on the affordable goods and services produced by immigrants.

    Moreover, immigration supports the social mobility of Americans. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of high school dropout American adult citizens fell by 4.6 million. Americans in general are increasingly attaining a basic level of education – and with that education, moving on to higher-paying jobs.

    As Americans rise, the jobs they leave behind are filled by immigrants eager to improve on the standard of living from their home country and pursue their own path of social mobility.

    Finally, we know that immigrants are an essential source of the knowledge-based skills that are necessary to compete in the 21st century. In the high-skill fields of computers, mathematics, engineering, architecture, and science, immigrants make up more than 40 percent of the workers with PhDs.

    As countries like China, Japan and the United Kingdom face declining populations, the United States can make immigration a competitive advantage to help maintain a vibrant and growing economy. In order for this to happen, however, immigration reform must recognize our economy’s need for workers at both ends of the skill spectrum.

    Bring illegal workers out of the shadows without amnesty

    We must also work together to bring illegal workers out of the shadows without amnesty. Most credible sources estimate about 12 million people are in the United States illegally today. It simply is not in the national interest for a population of this size to remain underground, connected only marginally to mainstream society and beyond the reach of law enforcement.

    The President is against amnesty and has suggested several principles to resolve the status of these illegal immigrants, including:

    *undergoing a criminal background check;
    *paying a meaningful penalty;
    *paying taxes;
    *requiring them to wait their turn in line;
    *learning English; and
    *having a job.

    But let’s be clear: there should be no “special deals” for people who have broken the law. Congress should be clear that if illegal immigrants come out of the shadows, get right and stay right with the law, and pay appropriate penalties, then applying for permanent status is a possibility. But we are not going to reward those who came here or stayed here illegally.

    Promote the assimilation of new immigrants

    Fifth, we must recognize that the United States is a nation of immigrants, and that over the course of America’s history our ability to assimilate new immigrants has been a tremendous national strength. In an era of global competition, this national strength can be an enormous competitive advantage – but assimilation to American ideals and values won’t happen on its own. We must harness this national strength by actively promoting the assimilation of new immigrants.

    While other countries often struggle to assimilate immigrants, becoming an American citizen has always been more broadly accessible to hard-working people of good character because it is based on fidelity to a core set of principles and personal attachment to this country – not one’s race, religion, class or personal connections.

    English is the language of custom and opportunity. We do immigrants a great disservice if we enable them not to learn it. In fact, one of the best things that ever happened to me was that I was forced to learn English soon after I arrived in this country.

    Assimilation doesn't come easily – it is the result of a deliberate decision to choose America, her language, her customs and to identify with her cause. This doesn't mean new immigrants have to jettison their ethnicity, native language or customs; but it does mean embracing what unifies us as Americans.

    There also must be a public and private commitment to assimilate new immigrants. The President has started this effort by appointing the Task Force on New Americans, and we look forward to working with you to find ways to foster the assimilation of new immigrants.

    All policies must be workable

    Finally, all policies must be workable. We made a mistake in 1986 by not crafting a law that was workable. We should not repeat that mistake.

    The only way we will pass good legislation is by working together to craft a solution that both Republicans and Democrats can support and that is worthy of our great tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We believe that these principles provide a path forward. We recognize that there are many tough questions inherent in writing legislation of this scope, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you to resolve them.

    The good news here is that all the pieces necessary for immigration reform are on the table. The question before us is simply this: do we have the political will to assemble them in a way that furthers the national interest? I believe we do, and I would be pleased to answer your questions.




    Mr. Chairman, Senator Specter, Members of the Committee:

    Thank you for inviting me to testify today about immigration reform. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to the President’s vision of immigration reform based on five main pillars: (1) gaining effective control of the border; (2) building a robust interior enforcement program; (3) establishing a Temporary Worker Program (TWP); (4) bringing illegal aliens who are now in the U.S. out of the shadows; and (5) promoting assimilation of new immigrants into our society. With Congress’s help, DHS has made measurable progress in achieving effective control of the border and improving the enforcement of our immigration laws in the interior. I would like to share some of our accomplishments with you today. But to continue on this path of success, you must help us further by giving us effective tools to do our job. As you consider immigration reform legislation, I urge you to heed the lessons of past reform efforts and avoid repeating their mistakes. In that respect, I would like to share with you some of my views, as the head of the Department charged with administering our immigration programs, of what we could learn from our past experience.

    Protecting Our Nation’s Border

    We have accomplished a lot in improving our border enforcement. The following are our key accomplishments in this area:

    6,000 National Guard Deployed to Border: In support of the President’s initiative to secure the border, 6,000 National Guard personnel were deployed to the Southwest border as part of Operation Jump Start. In addition to the National Guard deployment, Border Patrol agent staffing increased by over 30 percent since 2001, as shown in the chart below.

    “Catch and Return” Replaced “Catch and Release” Along the Borders: As part of the Secure Border Initiative, the Department ended the practice of "catch and release" along the Southern and Northern borders. In the past, we apprehended illegal aliens at the border from countries other than Mexico, who we could not immediately remove from the U.S., and then released them on their own recognizance. Often these illegal aliens failed to return for their immigration hearings. In July 2005, we were releasing up to 80 percent of non-Mexican illegal aliens because we did not have the bed space to hold them. As of August 2006, all removable aliens caught at the border are detained until returned to their home countries. When people know they will be held in detention and then returned to their home country, it creates a strong disincentive to cross illegally in the first place. Ending this practice and replacing it with “catch and return” is a breakthrough in deterring illegal immigration on the Southern border.

    SBI Ends Catch and Release

    Apprehension Rates Declined: Beginning in the third quarter, FY 2006 showed a marked decrease in the apprehension rate due, in principle, to the end of “catch and release,” the implementation of Operation Jump Start, and the expanded use of expedited removal procedures, among other factors. The graph below provides historical data by fiscal year for total apprehensions of both Mexican and non-Mexican aliens between U.S. ports of entry. CBP’s Office of Border Patrol (OBP) made nearly 100,000 fewer apprehensions in FY 2006 than in FY 2005 due to these factors. This decline is represented below by quarter, with the drop in apprehension rates corresponding to the implementation of Operation Jump Start in the third quarter of FY 2006 and the full implementation of “catch and return” in FY 2007.

    Border Security at and Between the Nation's Ports of Entry Increased: By deterring illegal immigration, security has been strengthened. With fewer alien crossings, DHS can more effectively target resources to control our borders with fewer alien crossings. As shown in the chart above, our efforts resulted in a reduced number of apprehensions at the borders during each of the three quarters since Operation Jump Start.

    SBInet: Last year, DHS initiated a multi-year plan – SBInet – to secure our borders and reduce illegal immigration by upgrading technology used in controlling the border, including improved communications assets, expanded use of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, and state-of-the-art detection technology. We are currently evaluating the proper mix of fence and other tactical infrastructure, as well as personnel and technology, to gain effective control of the Southwest border.

    Two operational task orders have already been contracted under SBInet; they are Project 28 and Project 37. Project 28 is being carried out along 28-miles of border flanking the Sasabe, Arizona Port of Entry. It will demonstrate the SBInet system’s capabilities by deploying sensor towers, unattended ground systems and upgrades to existing Border Patrol vehicles and communication systems. Project 28’s completion date is set for June 2007. In January 2007, we awarded a task order for Phase I (9 miles) of the Barry M. Goldwater Range Project 37. The next phase of this project involves completion of 34 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers.

    US-VISIT’s Biometric Program Kept Terrorists and Other Criminals Out of Our Country: US-VISIT’s biometric program increased watch list hits by 185 percent at consular offices between FY 2005 and FY 2006. The program protects American people by keeping terrorists and other criminals out of our country, while facilitating visits from legitimate travelers. In FY 2006, there were 2,558 watch list hits at consular offices, up from 897 hits in FY 2005. The use of biometrics has allowed DHS to deny entry to more than 1,100 known criminals and visa violators.

    Improving Interior Enforcement

    We have also dramatically improved the enforcement of our immigration laws in the interior. The following are some of our key accomplishments:

    ICE Set New Records for Worksite Enforcement and Compliance Enforcement: As depicted in the graph below, in FY 2006 more than 4,300 arrests and apprehensions were made in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite enforcement cases, more than seven times the arrests and apprehensions in FY 2002, the last full year of operations for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
    ICE completed 5,956 compliance enforcement investigations resulting in the administrative arrest of 1,710 overstay and status violators, a 75 percent increase over the number of administrative arrests in FY 2005.

    In our most recent worksite enforcement operation, on February 22, 2007, ICE agents arrested 190 unauthorized workers in 64 locations who were employed by ROSENBAUM-CUNNINGHAM INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (RCI), a Florida-based company that specializes in nationwide contract cleaning services at several national restaurant chains and resorts. The charges include allegations that one of the owners and his co-conspirators obtained over $54 million from its contracts by using sub-contracting cleaning crews comprised almost entirely of undocumented aliens. This two-year investigation is just the latest example of our intent to maintain an aggressive worksite enforcement program that targets egregious employers who are knowingly violating the law.

    ICE Set New All-Time Record for Alien Removals: ICE removed 192,171 illegal aliens including 88,217 criminals, from the country in fiscal year 2006. This marks a 13 percent increase in total removals and a 4 percent increase in criminal removals over the prior fiscal year. As shown in the following chart, ICE also increased its detention bed space by 6,700 during FY 2006 and is now funded for a total of 27,500 beds for FY 2007.

    Elements of a Successful Immigration Reform

    Border Security and Interior Enforcement
    The continuation of our success in securing the border and enforcing immigration laws in the interior depends on whether the immigration legislation that Congress enacts gives us the necessary tools to accomplish our task. Let me outline some of the authorities that I believe are needed:

    • First, and most important, immigration reform should ensure that we maintain effective safeguards preventing terrorists from taking advantage of our tradition of welcoming immigrants of all nations. To that end, I urge Congress to enhance DHS’s authority to consider national security and terrorist activity in determining an alien’s eligibility for citizenship and other immigration benefits, including relief from removal.
    • We should make it clear that “port running” and evasion of DHS checkpoints are criminally punishable. We should strengthen criminal sanctions for dodging checkpoints or failing to obey a DHS officer.
    • We should strengthen our ability to penalize countries that impede effective removal of their nationals from the United States by such means as delaying issuance of travel documents to their citizens, limiting the repatriation flights, or otherwise refusing to take back their own nationals.
    • We should set reasonable rules to govern courts ordering immigration-related injunctions, to ensure that our practice of “catch and return” can continue.
    • We should ensure DHS’s ability to detain dangerous aliens until removal.
    • We should strengthen the definition of “aggravated felony” in the immigration law to ensure that it bars aliens who committed manslaughter, homicide, and other serious felonies. We should make gang membership an independent ground for removal and inadmissibility.

    Worksite Enforcement

    I especially urge Congress to ensure that the immigration legislation contains provisions strengthening the worksite enforcement system. Effective worksite enforcement tools are crucial to mitigating the economic incentives that draw illegal aliens into the United States. If those who are here illegally cannot find jobs, we will remove the main incentive drawing illegal immigration to our country.

    While we have dramatically increased our worksite enforcement efforts, they have been severely hampered by a lack of tools, both for enforcement officials and for employers who want to comply with the immigration laws. I urge Congress to fill gaps in current law, and to do the following to make sure that our worksite enforcement is both workable and effective:

    • We should make it mandatory for employers to use the Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS). This system would enable employers to confirm that their new hires are U.S. citizens or work-authorized aliens. This system would give employers a verification tool that is accurate, fast and easy to use. But we need legal authority to assure that the Social Security Administration can share with us and with employers data concerning stolen identities being misused to obtain work illegally.
    • One of the mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was to deprive immigration authorities and employers of the ability to adapt to new forms of worksite fraud. As a result, it has become much easier for illegal immigrants to avoid the verification requirements by using fraudulent documents. To remedy this mistake, DHS should be given flexible authority to establish new requirements in response to new forms of immigration fraud, such as identity theft.
    • We should not tie up worksite enforcement in endless litigation. This was yet another mistake we made in 1986. To the greatest extent possible, we should build an enforcement system that does not mire employers, workers, and the government in drawn out litigation.
    • We should ensure that civil and criminal penalties for violation of the immigration laws are tough enough that scofflaw employers cannot just treat fines as a cost of doing business. We cannot afford another law like the 1986 reform that makes enforcement expensive and violations cheap. We should increase penalties for repeat offenders and establish substantial criminal penalties and injunction procedures that punish employers who engage in a pattern of knowing violations of the laws and effectively prohibit the employment of unauthorized aliens.

    Temporary Worker Program and Program for Currently Undocumented Workers

    Our efforts to ensure vigorous enforcement of our laws in the interior, and especially at the worksite, are crucial to controlling the problem of illegal immigration. But they alone will not be sufficient. We must create a lawful mechanism so that in the future, foreign workers can come into the United States on a temporary basis to fill jobs that U.S. workers do not want. This regulated channel for temporary workers would dramatically reduce the pressure on our borders, aid our economy and ease the task of our law enforcement agents inside the country. There is an inextricable link between the creation of a TWP and better enforcement at the border.

    We also cannot ignore the presence in our country of about 12 million illegal aliens. Many of them have been living in the United States for a long time, doing jobs that our economy needs to have filled. As Secretary Gutierrez stated, it is simply not in our interest to have a population of this size remain in the shadows of our economy and often beyond the reach of law enforcement. We should seek to bring these people out of the shadows and under the rule of American law. That process must also involve acknowledgment and atonement for those who have broken our immigration laws.

    Over the course of the past month, Secretary Gutierrez and I have had the chance to meet with many of you and your Senate colleagues. We listened carefully to your views on the main features of immigration reform in general and of this problem in particular. We are considering carefully what we have learned in our conversations. After we have had some time to consider your advice, I hope to return to you so that we can work together on sound and long overdue immigration reform legislation.

    Today, though, I would like to share with you some of my own thoughts, as the head of the Department that would be charged with administering the TWP, as to some of the principles that should guide that program. These thoughts are shaped by our experience administering the system that was bequeathed to us by the 1986 immigration reform:

    • First, we need to have clear and consistent application standards that will protect the applicant, guide those reviewing and granting each application, and defend against fraud. One of the mistakes made by the drafters of IRCA was the vagueness of its eligibility provisions. The requirements for applicants must be simple and straightforward. The more confusing or complicated the process is, the less likely it is that applicants will seek to enter the program, and the more likely it is that the system will be abused. We should minimize the number and complexity of fact-based adjudications that must be performed by a government agency.
    • Second, we should carefully design judicial review of application decisions to ensure that applications are treated fairly and objectively but do not become a source of never-ending litigation. As a result of IRCA, judicial review provisions have jammed the federal court system with a huge backlog of legalization cases. Some of this litigation continues even today, 20 years later. Excessive litigation will break any immigration system.
    • Third, we should not give illegal aliens who have already broken the law greater access to our courts than those who have legitimately applied for a visa or green card from outside our country. There is no reason to grant special treatment to those who flouted our laws to get here.
    • Fourth, as with worksite enforcement, we need to have flexibility in implementing and managing a TWP and a program for currently undocumented workers. On an annual basis the DHS immigration agencies oversee the monitoring, evaluation, and processing of millions of legal immigrants. The work of implementing a TWP and a program for currently undocumented workers will be piled on top of this already enormous workload. To do this work well, we will need to have sufficient time and resources to develop regulations, develop and implement contract requirements, hire and train workers, and plan for the enhanced workload.
    • Fifth, we cannot give a blank check of “confidentiality” for information learned in the course of adjudicating applications for the program. Counterterrorism and law enforcement investigators should not be hobbled by artificial walls that keep them from gaining access to relevant information that could protect Americans.

    Workable reforms are needed in many areas of immigration law. Today, Secretary Gutierrez and I have shared with you some of our thoughts as to the measures needed to build a successful immigration system. I thank you for the opportunity to do so.


    Statement of
    The Honorable Patrick Leahy
    United States Senator, Vermont
    Senate Judiciary Committee

    February 28, 2007

    I thank Secretary Gutierrez and Secretary Chertoff for agreeing to appear before the Committee today. I hope their participation will demonstrate the President’s wholehearted commitment to working with us to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year. Without the Administration’s earnest engagement on this issue, our efforts are likely to suffer the same fate they did last year. This Committee reported a comprehensive immigration reform bill only to see Republican congressional opposition stall that effort, prevent a House-Senate conference and, instead, force through a bill calling for billions to be wasted constructing a 700-mile fence along our 2,000-mile Southern border. This year we have a renewed opportunity to do the right thing — one which may not come along again.

    By their votes in the most recent elections, the American people have reaffirmed America’s traditional place as a nation of immigrants. We are not anti-immigrant or racist. We understand people seeking a better life for their children and grandchildren as naturally as we do. Americans understand that comprehensive immigration reform does not mean criminalizing the hard work of law-abiding people, deporting millions of families who have lived here for years or seeking to wall ourselves off from our neighbors and the world around us. Thankfully, the politics of fear did not succeed. Americans rejected the poisonous rhetoric of intolerance in favor of a more confident, realistic and humane approach that finds strength in diversity and human dignity.

    If we are to reclaim America’s promise, we need to keep our eyes on the core principles of comprehensive reform. To his credit the President has called for comprehensive legislation and “an immigration system worthy of America.” Now he must demonstrate his commitment to those principles and lead Republicans toward achieving that goal so that, not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans, we can honor our history as a nation of immigrants and strengthen our future and leadership in the world.

    The President has said that no one element of immigration reform can succeed without a comprehensive approach. The Committee-reported bill last year took a comprehensive approach. The Senate-based bill took a comprehensive approach. The House-generated bill that the President signed just before the election did not.

    Our broken system has fostered incongruities from coast to coast -- from our biggest cities to our smallest towns, and from our factories to our farms. Reform is overdue. We must be realistic about the millions of undocumented people in this country. We need to bring people out of the shadows. When we provide opportunity for people to be responsible, the vast majority will be and we will all be the better for it. We can and should do everything necessary to protect opportunities for our domestic workers. We need to reduce illegal immigration by reforming our temporary worker programs to allow more access to the unfilled jobs and unmet needs in our economy. These are not either-or propositions; we can do both.

    Dairying in Vermont is more than a job or an industry – it is a way of life. Our agricultural economy depends on the hundreds of millions of dollars dairy farmers bring to our state every year. But that way of life is threatened when family dairies cannot find help to milk the cows, deliver calves and keep up with chores. Finding help on the farm is becoming increasingly difficult for hundreds of Vermont farms. Many have turned to migrant workers from Mexico and Central America. Currently, Vermont dairies are depending on an estimated 2,000 foreign workers. We know there is something wrong with this hodge-podge arrangement, and we need to do better. We need to bring order and common sense to a broken system. Vermont dairy farmers should not have to choose between saving their family farms and obeying the law.

    The President has acknowledged that “you cannot deport 10 million people who have been here working.” He said at the Southern border last August: “It’s unrealistic. It may sound good in certain circles and political circles. It’s not going to work.” He went on to outline what he called “the best plan” for those here illegally. He recommended saying to them: “If you’ve been paying your taxes, and you’ve got a good criminal record, that you can pay a fine for being here illegally, and you can learn English, like the rest of us have done, and you can get in a citizenship line to apply for citizenship. You don’t get to get in the front, you get to get in the back of the line.” He called this a “reasonable way to treat people with respect and accomplish what we want to accomplish, which is to be a country of law and a country of decency and respect.” I agree, and those were precisely the elements contained in the Committee and Senate bills last year.

    Our mission must be to create an immigration system for the 21st Century that honors the great history and tradition of our nation and secures our future. What we must always remember is that immigrants are real people who have families, and hopes, and dreams. In most cases, these are people who want to contribute, who work hard, who are striving to overcome the fortuitousness of where they were born. They contribute to our armed forces and sacrifice to protect the freedoms we have and they hope to enjoy. They contribute to our economy, to our lifestyle, and help with our most important responsibility when they help raise America’s children. As the grandson of immigrants to the United States, I will work to reaffirm the promise of America’s lamp beside the golden door for the poor and oppressed.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BetsyRoss's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Lots to discuss in here. Let me start off with my favorite topic: "Finally, we know that immigrants are an essential source of the knowledge-based skills that are necessary to compete in the 21st century. In the high-skill fields of computers, mathematics, engineering, architecture, and science, immigrants make up more than 40 percent of the workers with PhDs. "

    If we needed to bring in a bunch of these folks, how about first hiring back the ones we forced out in the recession of 01-04 (not that it's over really).
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    Senior Member AmericanElizabeth's Avatar
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    Moreover, immigration supports the social mobility of Americans. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of high school dropout American adult citizens fell by 4.6 million.
    Ok, out of all of this, I am going to zero in on this one statement. Ok so the dropout rate for native citizens has fallen, but what about all of those children of illegal aliens that do not finish school and thus become a huge burden to our society?

    These young people who drop-out, the children of illegal aliens, have record high numbers of low-incomes, higher out of wedlock birth rates, higher proportion of criminal involvement and higher overall projected income levels for their lifetimes, so why not mention that all?

    His speech was overall sounding pretty good, but it was just that. Sounding good, and then forgetting to mention that 86% of Americans including legal immigrants, did not want these people to be allowed to stay at all. They are interlopers at best, and should not EVEN be given the path to citizenship. This isnot just me, it is millions of American citizens who say this.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member BetsyRoss's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    So from one country we bring in people to replace our college grads, and from another to replace our drop-outs.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetsyRoss
    So from one country we bring in people to replace our college grads, and from another to replace our drop-outs.
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    I think I am going to be sick...

    By their votes in the most recent elections, the American people have reaffirmed America’s traditional place as a nation of immigrants. We are not anti-immigrant or racist. We understand people seeking a better life for their children and grandchildren as naturally as we do. Americans understand that comprehensive immigration reform does not mean criminalizing the hard work of law-abiding people, deporting millions of families who have lived here for years or seeking to wall ourselves off from our neighbors and the world around us. Thankfully, the politics of fear did not succeed. Americans rejected the poisonous rhetoric of intolerance in favor of a more confident, realistic and humane approach that finds strength in diversity and human dignity.
    The whole thing is nothing but rhetoric but this is what really sent me through the roof.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    OK, out of all this I got!!! THE SAME OLD CRAP NOTHING HAS CHANGED, PREACHING THE SAME AS A LAST YEAR, Is it suppose to look different this time around?

    I do know our borders after 9/11 are still NOT CLOSED.

    There is still 100 times as many coming across our border compared to what is being hauled out, so all we are accomplishing is a bigger population and more people to support, SAME OLD CRAP!!!
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  8. #8
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    May 2006
    P.S. Just how long are they going to continue to use the estimate of 12 million. Never mind that I have thought all along that number is way to low...but they have been spouting this number for well over a year.

    Are we to believe that over the past year while they have been sitting around with their heads up their ass that the number has not gone up?

  9. #9
    Senior Member TexasCowgirl's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    *undergoing a criminal background check;
    *paying a meaningful penalty;
    *paying taxes;
    *requiring them to wait their turn in line;
    *learning English; and
    *having a job.
    And what the hell are they going to do when these "poor immigrants" refuse to do one or all of the above? Are they going to deport their butts then?
    The John McCain Call Center

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Maybe I missed it but was the term 'the American people want' anywhere in these three speeches?

    Just how much credit did these three nimrods give to "We the People"?

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