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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I oppose this bill. The DREAM Act is a nightmare for the American people. It insults American workers, American taxpayers, and anyone who believes in the rule of law. How can we consider amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants when just last Friday, the Department of Labor reported that unemployment in America jumped up to 9.8 percent? This is the 19th straight month, a new record where the jobless rate has stayed above 9 percent.
The American people want us to focus on creating jobs and getting Americans back to work. Instead, the Democrats have brought the DREAM Act to the floor. This bill prevents Americans from getting jobs since millions of illegal immigrants will become eligible to work legally in the United States. American workers should not have to compete with illegal workers for scarce jobs.
Over 27 million Americans are out of work, have given up looking for work, or are underemployed. The percent of Hispanics out of work last month rose to 13 percent, and the unemployment rate for black Americans has hit 16 percent. Don't the Democrats know this? Are they listening to the voters? Do they care? This bill proves that there is a total disconnect between the Democratic Party and the American people.
The majority has brought this bill to the floor without holding any hearings on its impact and without committee approval, so Members don't know how the bill would work or not work. In fact, the text we are considering tonight was only introduced last night.
As usual under the Democratic regime, no amendments are allowed. They have even eliminated the one motion Republicans are supposedly guaranteed as a way to address the people's concerns, the motion to recommit. What happened to the Democrats' promise to give Americans 24 hours to read the bills? And what happened to their promise of an open and fair process? These and other promises disappeared long before the election, which is another reason the election turned out as it did.
The bill's supporters imply that the DREAM Act only applies to kids in schools. But in reality, the bill applies to illegal immigrants up to the age of 30. Those are pretty old kids. And once these individuals become U.S. citizens, they can petition for their illegal immigrant parents and adult brothers and sisters to be legalize who will bring in others in an endless chain.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, the DREAM Act would mean amnesty for over 2 million illegal immigrants, but that number likely will be higher since many illegal immigrants will fraudulently claim they came here as children or are under 30, and the Federal Government has no way to check whether their claims are true or not. Such massive fraud occurred after the 1986 amnesty for illegal immigrants who claimed that they were agricultural workers. Studies found two-thirds of all applications for the 1986 amnesty were fraudulent. DREAM Act applicants don't even have to comply with the requirements for amnesty set out in the bill. They can get a waiver for hardship at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. Under this administration, which favors mass amnesty, we can assume that nearly everyone who applies will get a hardship pass.
The DREAM Act also makes it possible for almost any illegal immigrant to evade the law. Once they file an application, no matter how fraudulent, the Federal Government is prohibited from deporting them. The bill requires that background checks be conducted on the beneficiaries, but it will be almost impossible for the Federal Government to verify whether someone is who they say they are and whether they meet the requirements of the bill. Furthermore, any discussion of amnesty encourages additional illegal immigration. Already at least 1 million illegal immigrants cross our borders each year. The bill will push that number even higher.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will increase deficits after 2020. And if the health care debate is any indication of how CBO scores bills, then the actual cost of the DREAM Act will, of course, be much higher. And once a DREAM Act beneficiary obtains lawful status, they are automatically exempt from the current 5-year waiting period to receive public welfare benefits, so the cost of welfare benefits will be huge.
We all know that the point of this bill is to give amnesty to anyone who is in the country illegally and who is under 30 years old. Illegal immigrants get amnesty if they have attended college or served in the military. Illegal immigrants get amnesty if they can show hardship if they are sent home. Illegal immigrants get to stay if they just claim to be eligible under this legislation. Illegal immigrants get amnesty if they use fraudulent documents, because the Federal Government has no way to check millions of claims. Illegal immigrants get amnesty even if they have committed crimes, like driving under the influence, passport fraud, and visa fraud. This is a bill that gives amnesty to 2 million or more people in the country illegally. It encourages fraud and more illegal immigration on a massive scale.
There have been no hearings on this bill, no amendments allowed, and those who are opposed only have 30 minutes to discuss this bill. This is a desecration of the democratic process and an insult to Americans who believe in the rule of law. The DREAM Act hurts millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, are underemployed, or are threatened with layoffs. It puts the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of those law-abiding Americans.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to strongly oppose this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.
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Mr. Speaker, the gentleman who just spoke has a good point. We need to have compassion, but our compassion should be reserved for American workers, and we should put the interests of American workers ahead of the interests of illegal immigrants.
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