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Comprehensive Immigration Reform - Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KING of Iowa. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I had to pause for a minute there. I was concerned that might be the Amnesty Act coming over from the United

[Page: H1952]
States Senate, but I'm relieved to know that it might be a few more days.
Picking up where I left off, I had made the point and read into this Record, Mr. Speaker, the language that was used in the 1986 Amnesty Act is almost identical to the language that was copied and pasted into the 2006 Amnesty Act that they called ``comprehensive immigration reform'' because they knew the word ``amnesty'' would sink the bill then. Now they know that ``comprehensive immigration reform'' is code words for amnesty. The American people figured that out in short order.

I will continue with the op-ed written by Attorney General Meese in 2006. He said, as I remarked:

If this sounds familiar, it's because these are pretty much the same provisions that were included in the Comprehensive Reform Act of 2006, which its supporters claim is not amnesty. In the end, slight differences in process do not change the overriding fact that the 1986 law and the recent Senate legislation both include an amnesty. The difference is that President Reagan called it what it was.

We had an honest man in the White House who called it what it was. I continue from Attorney General Meese:

The lesson from the 1986 experience is that such an amnesty did not solve the problem. There was extensive document fraud; the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded the projections. And there was a failure of political will to enforce new laws against employers. After a brief slowdown, illegal immigration returned to high levels and continued unabated, forming the nucleus of today's large population of illegal aliens. So here we are, 20 years later, having much the same debate.

Mr. Speaker, we're here right now having the same debate that we had in 2006, which was, according to Attorney General Meese, the same debate we had in 1986.

What would President Reagan do? I often ask that. Actually, I'd like to wear a wristband, What Would Ronald Reagan Do?

Attorney General Meese continues:

What would President Reagan do? For one thing, he would not repeat the mistakes of the past, including those of his own administration. He knew that secure borders are vital and would now insist on meeting that priority first. He would seek to strengthen the enforcement of existing immigration laws. He would employ new tools--like biometric technology for identification, and camera sensors and satellites to monitor the border--that make enforcement and verification less onerous and more effective.

That sounds like some things that a number of us have been advocating for some time.

Then Attorney General Meese continues--and I skip down a little ways:

To give those here illegally the opportunity to correct their status by returning to their country of origin and getting in line with everyone else.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it's appalling to me to think that the advocates--I understand the other side of the aisle; I understand the political motivation of the people on the other side of the aisle--expand the dependency class, expand those who can vote for those who want to expand the dependency class. I understand those motives. They are not good motives. They undermine American exceptionalism, but I understand them.

On our side of the aisle, I don't understand--and I think it's because a lot of our own people don't have this figured out. They're looking for someone else to lead them, and they're looking for perhaps an easy way. But every proposal that has been brought forward here out of, let's say, the Gang of Eight or the ``secret gang'' in the House seems to have with it instantaneous legalization of 11, 12, 13--20 million people, all of them, with the exceptions of those who have been convicted of or perhaps charged with a felony, those who have been convicted of three serious misdemeanors. That goes right back to this language of the '86 Amnesty Act: ``Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible,'' according to Attorney General Meese.

So nothing has changed here, except we have a lot more Republicans that think instantaneous legalization--and they'd argue that it's not a path to citizenship. I happen to have this little quote from one of the Gang of Eight where he made us this point, which is he says that a green card is not a path to citizenship. The reason they have to say that is because the path to the green card is a path to citizenship if the green card is a path to citizenship.

There has been an awful lot of misinformation that's put out here and erroneous conclusions drawn, unexamined by the American public that has forgotten, perhaps, about the 2006 Amnesty Act or the 1986 Amnesty Act.

I see the gentleman from California, who was engaged in the Reagan administration and knew Ronald Reagan as well as anybody in this United States Congress, is here on this floor. I would be happy to yield so much time as he may consume, even if he consumes it all. But I would suggest it looks like it's 4 to 5 minutes left.

I yield to the gentleman from California.


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