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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BARLETTA. Mr. Speaker, every day we're in session, we create new laws. Some affect spending, some protect our citizens and country, some honor those who have fallen. All are important, all carry the same weight, and all are Federal laws. But there are some elected officials in the United States who believe that they can pick and choose the laws they follow.

In 1996, Congress passed and the President signed the bipartisan Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This law says very clearly that no local government entity or official may prohibit or in any way restrict any government entity or official from sending to or receiving from Immigration and Customs Enforcement information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of any individual.

Every day in cities across America, elected officials break that law and millions of illegal aliens benefit from the lack of enforcement. They benefit by taking jobs from American citizens and legal immigrants. They benefit by using taxpayer-funded benefits.

Some of our communities not only ignore the law, but many communities across our Nation willfully violate Federal law by encouraging illegal aliens to live in their cities, saying that they will be safe from Federal Government's reach.

Mind you, the Federal Government is not asking these cities to do anything extraordinary. The government is not asking cities to implement a radical new law. The Federal Government is merely asking these cities to obey the law, a law that has been on the books for 16 years. This is what the American people want.

According to a recent poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans want the Department of Justice to uphold the law and take legal action against cities that break existing Federal immigration law. But, once again, in the area of illegal immigration control, the Federal Government fails to act.

Instead, we send billions of tax dollars to these communities. That's why my colleagues and I rise to offer this amendment this evening. This amendment will prevent Federal funds from being given to cities and towns that do not follow Federal immigration law. This amendment will uphold existing Federal law. It will discourage the creation of a confusing national patchwork where some cities uphold the law and other cities willfully ignore it.

This amendment makes sense. It will keep us safe, and it cuts down on waste, fraud and abuse. I strongly encourage my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this amendment.


Mr. BARLETTA. Thank you.

Again, to sum this up, I was a mayor of a small town in Pennsylvania, and when the problem of illegal immigration hit my city, I came here to ask for help because our small budget couldn't help defend the people in my community. And when I came here and I talked to many experts, when I left here what I got was a nice coffee mug, a lapel pin, a pat on the back, and a Good luck, Mayor.

I finally decided after a 29-year-old city man was shot between the eyes by an illegal alien who had been arrested eight times before he came to my city, I said enough was enough. I had to protect the people in my community. And what happened was I was sued, and I was told that, We will bankrupt your city if you continue to fight.

But yet we have mayors across the country who are going to pick and choose what laws they want to defend. We're not asking for some crazy new law. We're asking mayors to defend the laws that they took an oath of office that they would defend. And that's what this bill would do. We should not reward those who are openly defying Federal laws that this Congress had passed.


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