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Mr. SMITH of Texas. I thank my colleague for yielding and a distinguished member of the Rules Committee for giving me time.
Mr. Speaker, I oppose this rule. The so-called DREAM Act is a nightmare for the American people, and this proposed rule is a nightmare for House Members. Once again, we are considering a bill that Members have not had adequate time to review, that has not gone through the proper committee process, and that we cannot amend. This is far from the open and transparent process we were promised.
The majority promised that Members of this body would be able to review legislation for 24 hours prior to a vote. We have only had the text of this bill for a few hours. So much for that commitment to the American people.
If this rule passes, the majority will have prevented Members from offering amendments. And the majority has even eliminated the one possible way the bill could be improved, with a motion to recommit. This undemocratic way of considering legislation stands in contrast to the way Republicans will operate in the next Congress. Come January, the Republican majority will show the Democrats what it's like to have a fair, honest and open debate. We will educate them on the democratic process.
Just over a month ago, the American people rebuked the way that Democrats have run the House of Representatives and the Federal Government in general, so one might think that the majority would change their ways, but it seems that the Democrats have learned nothing and have forgotten everything.
If this rule is adopted, we will be forced to consider a bill that we will have no chance to amend, even though it puts the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American citizens. It hurts American workers, rewards lawbreakers, and encourages continued defiance of the most fundamental American value--the rule of law.
Today Americans face an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent. The unemployment rate has exceeded 9.5 percent for 16 straight months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression. The DREAM Act makes illegal immigrants eligible to work legally in the United States. Why are Democrats doing this to American workers? This Congress should focus on creating jobs for Americans, not promoting policies that cause unemployment.
I am sympathetic to the young, illegal immigrant children who were brought here by their parents. Because their parents disregarded America's immigration laws, they are in a difficult position. However, this bill actually rewards the very illegal immigrant parents who knowingly violated our laws.
Once the DREAM Act's amnesty recipients become citizens and turn 21, if they haven't already they can sponsor their illegal immigrant parents, spouse, or children for legalization, who can then sponsor others, resulting in chain migration that will further hurt American workers and American taxpayers.
As has happened with past amnesties, this new amnesty will encourage more illegal immigration because other illegal immigrant parents will bring their children to the U.S. with the expectation that they, too, will benefit from the DREAM Act.
Also, as soon as an individual files an application under the DREAM Act, the Department of Homeland Security is prohibited from removing them. So there is an automatic stay from deportation for anyone who applies under this bill. And criminals are not excluded. Those with histories of passport fraud, visa fraud, and even driving under the influence will be granted amnesty.
Although the bill enacts disastrous policies, the lack of an open and fair process is another reason to oppose it and this rule.
The majority has brought this bill to the floor without giving Members adequate time to review it. The majority has brought this bill to the floor without holding any hearings on the bill or its impact, thus depriving Members of the ability to learn how the bill would work or not work. The majority has brought this bill to the floor without committee approval, so Members have not had the opportunity to offer amendments. The majority has even eliminated the one way the minority is supposedly guaranteed as a way to address the people's concerns, a motion to recommit.
In addition to the negative impact of the DREAM Act on American citizens and the rule of law, the undemocratic procedures justify strong opposition to the rule.
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