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

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, Members on both sides of the aisle believe that the government has a right to know who is coming into this country.

Secondly, it would seem to me, once you get past the rhetoric, that we do not accept lawlessness. But I must say to Chairman King, a man of intellect and compassion, and I will get to that in a second, and my very good friend, I must say to the chairman that, when we look at section 612, denying citizenship to any legal permanent resident who has been unlawfully present in the country at any time in their life, what we are doing is forgetting how Italians and how Irish came into this country.

Now 9/11 did change a lot of things, obviously; no question about that. And it does not mean that we should open the floodgates or close them or build them or not build them. But when we forget how our ancestors got here, many times not in a pristine fashion, this is not of your doing, Mr. Chairman. You can scream to the high moon, but this is not your idea, and even if you put your name on this, I know it is not for sure. We didn't pass this out of the Homeland Security Committee.

And by the way, how many folks are we going to have to hire to do all of this? Who is paying for this?

You have lost your background, and I mean that in a complimentary way. I do not mean that to be a wise guy. What you did just several years ago with the Irish immigrants who came here, when our British friends wanted to pluck them up and throw them out of the country, it was courageous. You cannot deny this in a bill. You cannot deny your heritage. I call on you to look at your heritage.

We are making all immigrants here suspects. I believe, and I think all of us do, that it is a moral imperative for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Both sides of the aisle agree on that. We need a full and robust approach, one that includes not only strong and effective enforcement provisions but strategies to create new legal channels for future flows of immigrants because they are coming.

Family immigration backlogs. Families, we want to unite families in a legal fashion. This bill does not do that, Mr. Chairman.

Indeed, it fails to address many of the most important elements of immigration reform while imposing harsh, considered punitive, measures. That is why I believe it is a moral imperative to vote this bill down today. I do not think it is wise, and I do not think it is a real plan. Instead of proceeding in a judicious manner that could affectively stem the flow of illegal immigration, we are debating ineffectual enforcement measures that do not increase the safety and security of the American people.


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