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Public Statements

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2005

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I rise to speak on this issue because I think we find ourselves fixing the wrong problem
again. The real consequence of not having addressed the immigration problems in this country means we have problems with crops that are not going to be harvested because we don't have workers. But the time to do that is right after we finish this bill.

The American people as a whole do not want an amnesty program, but they will accept an amnesty program if we fix the border, and we have not secured the border. We have not done what we need to do in this body, in the House or through the administration, to enforce the laws of this country.

It is illegal to come here and we should not reward illegal behavior. But you can't even begin to address that until you say we are going to enforce closing this border for national security purposes but also for competitive purposes.

We need to have a national debate about how many people need to come in and supply an effort to our Nation as we grow. All of us in this country are immigrants except for the Native Americans. We would welcome others. But it has to be done legally. We have not done our job as bodies of the legislature, along with this administration, of first securing the border.

We have a national priority in terms of our own safety. Yet the politics of securing that border plays into every Presidential candidate who is running today. It becomes a political football. The fact is, for our children we need to secure that border to make sure we don't have terrorists coming across. ``60 Minutes'' 3 or 4 weeks ago showed a person from Croatia who came across the border illegally, became a legalized citizen after that, and ran guns and exported them throughout our country. He had access illegally to get here in the first place. That is not what we want.

We need to solve agricultural problems. I come from an agricultural State. But the American people are not going to accept an amnesty program, I don't care how you design it, based on any type of emergency, until we fix the obligation we have, which is to control that border. We have the capability to do it. We have the technology to do it. We have the money to do that and a lot less of other things if we would do it. If we will in fact control that border, then we can solve every other problem that comes about.

There are going to be consequences of not fixing the problems that were outlined by Senator Mikulski and Senator Craig, but rightly so, because we haven't done our job. There are consequences when we do not do our job. So I support Senator Cornyn's resolution fully. We need to come back and address this. We need to address every other area, but we have to first recognize that the American people are counting on us to do what is right in terms of securing the border. As long as we continue to ignore that because it is not politically acceptable in certain circles, then we are not going to fulfill our duty to protect this country. When we have troops fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan and around the rest of the world, and we will not even enforce the law when we have the capability to do it, we dishonor them.

So this is fixing the wrong problem. It is a problem, yes, but it is not the real problem. The problem is the border and controlling the border. I am convinced the American people are compassionate and will deal with any other issue of those who are here and those who want to come here in an orderly fashion, once they have the confidence that we have the border controlled. But we fail to do that at our peril, we fail to do that at the peril of the safety of this country, and we fail to do that at the peril of these areas that need specialized help in a short period of time. We are going to suffer the consequences of that and we should.

I yield the floor.

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