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

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman yielding me the time.

I am told that the chairman of the committee, I was not on the floor, in his comments after our ranking member spoke said, This shows the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Democrats are for amnesty. Republicans are not.

I remember back in the campaign in 1968 for President, or one in one of his races for Governor, George Wallace made the comment that, No one was going to out-``seg'' me.

Those kinds of charges and that kind of misuse of language is done by people who know that they are trying to fool the American people into thinking they are doing something.

This bill will never become law. It may pass this House, but it will never become law for the very reasons that it does not take a comprehensive approach to the problem.

The chairman of the Judiciary Committee says it is already illegal to come to this country without permission, without a visa of one kind or another; and he is right. That is why we call them illegal immigrants. And he says, so all we are doing with this bill is dealing with the people who came legally and then overstayed. I guess that is because the first part of it, dealing with the people who came here illegally, has worked so well. That is why every year hundreds of thousands of people are able to cross this border and work in this country. A few do some horrible things. But they come and the law has not made a difference. Unless you take a comprehensive approach, you will never solve the problem.

If what the chairman defines as amnesty is amnesty, then George Bush is for amnesty; JOHN CORNYN, the Senator from Texas, is for amnesty; Senator Kyl of Arizona is for amnesty; and the chairman himself by saying that there needs to be a guest worker program eventually is for amnesty, because when the people who came here illegally get to come back into this country, because they have left or they have applied from within this country to work in our fields or our restaurants or other industries that have become heavily reliant on unauthorized workers, we are saying you get to do what you came here to do even though you committed an illegal act.

The fact in 1986 was not amnesty. None of the proposals now for a comprehensive immigration proposal include amnesty because they are all based on meeting certain future obligations, paying fines, continuing to work, coming out of the shadows, going through a background, learning whether or not they have committed any criminal acts other than the entrance here.

At the heart of why this bill will never become law are the reasons that the gentleman from California (Mr. Calvert) spoke to. In this bill is a very logical employer verification system. It was what was missing from the 1986 bill. It is why the 1986 bill did not work. But everyone knows you can never implement an employer verification system unless you deal with the 11 million people who are now in this country. Because otherwise every grower, every restaurant owner, every hotel, every tourism industry, huge numbers of construction firms are all going to get the answer back on this verification system: the person you have working for you is not here legally; you will have to fire them. They will be closed down.

That will never happen. The employers of this country will never let that pass, because this bill will not even allow us to offer an amendment to make it comprehensive, to accept every one of the provisions, some of them to my way of thinking are draconian and over broad, but accept every one of the provisions of this bill and just add that aspect of the bill that can make for a coherent whole. They will not even let us bring that as an amendment.

I urge that Members of this House rise above the demagoguery that is going on about who stands for what and oppose this bill until we are allowed the chance to vote for a tough, comprehensive bill that does something real about illegal immigration.


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