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Immigrants Answer Call to Service, Call to New Life

Location: Washington, DC

IMMIGRANTS ANSWER CALL TO SERVICE, CALL TO NEW LIFE -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 04, 2006)

* Mr. REICHERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call attention to a problem we're seeing the effects of all over the country, immigration.

* As a former cop, I respect and appreciate those who've dedicated their lives to serving others as well as those who appreciate the rule of law and honor it. In my time in Congress, I've seen these two values come together in an interesting way as my office has assisted in immigration casework.

* Abdullah Yousify contacted my office because he needed citizenship to continue his work in Iraq with Northwest Medical Teams.

Repeatedly, Yousify would travel at his own expense back to Seattle when CIS requested new fingerprints again and again and he once risked his life in Iraq to have fingerprints taken there. He was sworn in as a citizen last October and is now able to continue serving with the Northwest Medical Teams.

* A neurologist from China who specializes in treating patients with multiple sclerosis contacted my office. This young doctor was trying to teach medicine in this country but was having trouble working with CIS. We tracked down her work authorization and it was sent to her and she is now poised to begin teaching medicine at Stanford.

* Wade Bain from Trinidad wanted to join American Special Forces but couldn't get the national security check completed in order to do so. We were able to help him and he received his citizenship, allowing him to join Special Forces.

* These individuals didn't want to become Americans for personal gain; they wanted to become Americans to serve others. They embody the American ideal of helping others regardless of personal cost.

* It is vitally important that we implement immigration reform. We need a bill that strengthens our borders and protects this nation, but that also makes it simpler for good people to become Americans. We need a bill that provides a way for immigrants who are in this country illegally to register and become documented, lawful immigrants. There must be penalties for individuals who've violated American immigration laws. However, we must encourage undocumented individuals to ``get right'' with our government and register.

* We must face the reality of immigration in this country. In Washington State, the immigrant population has grown by 42 percent in the five years between 2000 and 2005--which is an increase from 8 percent to 10.6 percent of the overall population--and the jobless rate in the state has hit a 6 year low. Immigration is not just compatible with but is a necessary component of economic growth. Going forward, as we work to strengthen our border in the interests of homeland security, we must also recognize the economic importance of immigration reform. I look forward to voting for a bill that appreciates the importance of both when safeguarding the security and economic future of this country.

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