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Public Statements

Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - December 16, 2005)

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Mr. FILNER. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chairman, I appreciate the majority's acceptance of this amendment for discussion. I did have other amendments which I thought were more important and more helpful to this bill. For example, in this bill, in section 607, we compensate various local law enforcement agencies of border counties, of which I represent two, for detaining, housing and transporting undocumented persons. The biggest problem for the counties on the border is the emergency health care providers who are not reimbursed for treatment of undocumenteds.

My amendment, introduced in the House as H.R. 2934, is called ``PayUp,'' Pay for All Your Undocumented Procedures. It authorizes the Federal Government to make payment to emergency ambulance and medical services for the cost of uncompensated care of undocumented persons that come to their facility aided by the Border Patrol or any other Federal immigration agency. Unfortunately, that amendment was not accepted for discussion.

Another amendment would have allowed children in Mexico who have serious medical problems, for example birth defects, to come across the border as they did before 9/11 with 1-day visas for emergency treatment. For the 40 years before 9/11, we were able to give lives back to about 125,000 young children, poor children who were treated in my city of Calexico at the Valley Orthopedic Center. After 9/11, these 1-day visas were prohibited. That would have helped not only our relationship between our two countries but allowed our medical technology to help poor and young people who are living in Mexico. That amendment was not accepted.

What was accepted is a technical correction that I will briefly explain, because the bill in most respects takes a wrong approach toward our illegal immigration problem.

In this case, instead of making it a criminal act to sell and distribute fraudulent documents, the bill targets those who are trying to stay in the United States. My amendment fixes this fundamental problem by making the distribution or intent to distribute false, fake, or counterfeit immigration documents as much of a crime as creating or using them. Let us be clear.

We are talking about the sale and distribution of illegal documents. I represent the whole California-Mexico border. There is an industry dedicated to the counterfeiting and distribution of these documents. These are the people we ought to go after, and these are the people who, because of a loophole in the bill, are exempted. We have arrested people in San Diego for distributing false documents, but there is a loophole which allows them to escape that charge.

This is a crime that we ought to be going after. The current government statutes that deal with fraudulent documents completely ignore the distribution of passports, visas, and other permits, which, in my opinion, is the true crime. We should go after the real criminals who are profiting by the sale and distribution of these documents. It is a simple correction of the law that will strengthen penalties. While we might disagree about broader immigration policy, we all agree that the selling of fake and fraudulent and illegal documents should be stopped. I urge the adoption of this amendment.

Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. FILNER. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chairman, I thank the chairman for accepting this amendment and for his common sense approach to this issue. I hope that you will look at the two other common sense amendments I mentioned when you get to conference. Not allowing children to cross for emergency medical procedures makes no sense at all. These are not terrorists; these are young children. We are giving them back their futures, and we ought to change the law to allow medical treatment.

In addition, you ought to put emergency medical providers on the list of people to be compensated when they deal with undocumented persons. I hope you will extend that common sense and courtesy that you have given me in this amendment and extend it to the others, too.

Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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