BORDER PROTECTION ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 17, 2005)
SPEECH OF HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2005
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4437) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to strengthen enforcement of the immigration laws, to enhance border security, and for other purposes:
* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I rise with serious concerns over this legislation, which although it does address some illegal immigration problems is woefully weak on real substance. I fear that should this bill become law as is, six months or even a year down the road we will see no substantial improvement on the critical issue of deporting illegal aliens and protecting our borders.
* Some measures in the bill sound good, but are in effect superfluous. Do we need new legislation requiring the Department of Homeland Security to achieve ``operational control of the borders''? Shouldn't the federal government already have ``operational control of the borders''?
* Here is a road map for real immigration reform. First we need better enforcement of the laws we've got--which plainly call for illegal immigrants to be arrested and deported and for our borders to be secure. These things are already law, but the executive branch over the past decades has failed to enforce them. Congress can pass any law it wants, but unless federal agencies enforce those laws they are meaningless.
* Second we need to eliminate the two main magnets attracting illegal immigrants to illegally enter the country, the welfare magnet and the citizenship magnet. Failure to address these in an immigration bill raises questions about achieving real results. That is why I introduced three amendments to this bill, in the hopes that we can finally do something about the problem of illegal immigration. I introduced an amendment to end so-called ``birth-right citizenship,'' whereby anyone born on U.S. soil is automatically an American citizen. I introduced an amendment to end the practice of providing U.S. Social Security payments to non-U.S. citizens. And finally I introduced an amendment to prohibit illegal aliens from receiving food stamps, student loans, or other federally-provided assistance. Unfortunately, none of my amendments were even allowed to reach the Floor for a vote.
* There are some elements of this new bill to be applauded. Measures to require detention of and expedited removal of aliens, for example, are a good step. Also to be applauded is the requirement for an additional 250 inspectors at U.S. ports of entry each year from 2007 through 2010, although this is unfortunately subject to the availability of funds. But overall this bill is a weak substitute for real immigration and border reform. As the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says, H.R. 4437 ``treats some of the symptoms, it does not, in fact, do enough to actually cure the illness.''