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Mr. FLEMING. I want to thank my friend, Louie Gohmert--Judge Gohmert--for having this hour together speaking on this important subject. My friend also is my neighbor. Our districts neighbor one another.
We have constituents who see this issue, I think, very consistently, that is, that when we poll them, when we talk to our constituents, they are very clear on the issue of immigration. They say first and foremost, Congressman Fleming, whatever you do, do what Congress and the Presidents have not been willing to do, and that is secure the border and put internal security in that will prevent the visa overstays that are 40 percent of those.
We have two lingering questions on the whole issue of immigration:
One is, is immigration good for America? I would suggest to you that immigration has been good for America. All of our Forefathers, they were immigrants. They came here with the idea that they would receive religious liberty, they would receive opportunity when it comes to the economy, and they were quite willing and happy to contribute to that.
But do you know what, there was no safety net. You had to dig it out of the land yourself. Over the years, particularly by the mid-60s, this Nation began to develop a very, very steep safety net program, now 80 different welfare programs.
This has been looked at very closely by the Heritage Foundation. What they tell us is that by having open borders, such as what we have now and will have in the future if we were to pass something like the Senate amnesty bill, that the cost to Americans would go up. One study I recently read said that for every household that receives amnesty, it is going to cost the hardworking taxpayers of America $12,433.
So I would suggest to you that immigration can be a good thing for the economy--not open-border immigration, not illegal immigration, but legal immigration. What do I mean by that? That means that we allow a guest-worker program where people can come in and work our farms, work our trees. I have a lot of that in my district. But also the high end, the STEM workers--the scientists, technology people, engineering, math--where they can contribute so much to our country. Physicians coming from Asia, so many of those can do many good things.
The other thing is trust. We have a trust deficit in this country right now. I've spoken about it before. We have the Dodd-Frank Act, which is barely implemented even after 3 years. Much of it probably will never be implemented. We have ObamaCare, which is about 3 years old. Much of it can't be implemented. We have a President who couldn't get Cap and Trade passed, so he's trying to pass regulations to do that. We have a President who couldn't get the DREAM Act passed, so he rolled out a regulation to make it occur as an end run around Congress. We have a President who has tried to convert the NLRB from a very balanced board to really manage labor unions and their relationship with management to a very pro-union political tool for government.
So when we have a situation like that, what we really have is a President that picks and chooses the laws that he wants to enforce and he wants to obey and he wants to acknowledge and ignore the rest. By passing all of these massive comprehensive bills that Senators and Members of Congress don't even read before they are passed, all we are doing is offering a smorgasbord to the President that he can pluck just the parts that he wants, and he could add some more if he chooses to do that.
Well, that makes him no longer a President. That makes him a ruler, and that is not the kind of government we have. We have a balance between three branches of government. That's the way our Founding Fathers determined it to be, and that's the way it should be today.
I join my colleagues, I think, in this understanding, and that is that such legislation that passes from this House, or from the Senate for that matter, if in fact it creates an open border, a porous border, or in any way creates amnesty or a pathway to citizenship and we have not dealt with and certified, made verifiable borders that are under secure control by our government, a sovereign government, and that we handle the visa overstay problems that we monitor and protect from that, if we have not done that, then we have not done our constitutional duties as Members of the House of Representatives.
I thank my friend so much. And my other friends--we are filled with Members here who are ready to talk on this issue passionately--I think you are going to hear a lot more from this group that's here tonight as we talk more about this issue.
I would just say, lastly, that we need to decide what is important for America first. We should determine what is good for the American citizens and the taxpayers. We certainly want to handle anybody who is here illegally in a humane way; but on the other hand, our first and most important responsibility is to the American citizens who are hardworking taxpayers.
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