PROVIDING FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 4437, BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - December 16, 2005)
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Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to the rule and I am opposed to this legislation. I do not think any of the Members here disagree that strong and safe borders are vital and important to the security of our country.
Throughout my career, I have consistently supported strengthening our borders. And while the Sensenbrenner bill does address part of our problems, it is not the comprehensive solution we must have. It does not solve or even acknowledge the problems of illegal immigrants. Therefore, this bill is half a loaf at best.
We can secure our borders and keep out illegal immigrants, and we should. But what about the 11 million-plus people here illegally who are, by and large, law-abiding members of our community? What about the 11 million-plus people who keep the hotels, restaurants, and construction sites and farms running in every State of this Union?
This bill is no solution for them and it is no solution for our country. Denial is more than a river in Egypt, it is alive and well here in the House of Representatives in the form of H.R. 4437.
If we continue to delay facing the reality of this challenge, the reality of the importance of immigrants who are not here legally to our economy, then I urge those of you who decide to vote for this measure to be prepared to face the wrath of business people in your towns and cities throughout this country.
They will want to know why you voted to place the financial liability of document verification on them. They will want to know why you have made them a de facto agent of the Federal Government. They will want to know why you voted to require them to follow a system that makes them liable for thousands of dollars of fines when they are simply trying to run their businesses.
They will want to know why you voted to cripple tourism industries, home construction and farms, by refusing to confront the undeniable evidence that 11 million immigrants here illegally are making a difference.
My colleagues, we all acknowledge that the status quo of illegal immigration is unacceptable. Therefore, I implore you to act on a comprehensive solution, not the politics of division. This should not be a wedge issue. After all, lest we forget, we are a nation of immigrants.
I am the grandson of immigrants. Our failure to act now is not responsible. Therefore, I must oppose this measure.
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