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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I look at this from an entirely different perspective. I look at this as the House of Representatives asserting its will, speaking out, and saying, no, we are not going to be silent in the movement of the President of the United States. If we had done nothing, Mr. Chairman, then the subsequent argument in weeks to come would have been, well, you did nothing. You were silent. You waived your right to assert yourself. You have the power of the purse, and you did nothing.

Well, clearly, we are not doing nothing. Clearly, we are taking it up. And now here it is. We are coming together and we are saying that we don't believe the President has this authority. We are asserting that, and this bill will be debated.

But at the underlying level there is something absolutely incredibly significant and very bright that is happening, regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, because do you know what we are talking about? We are talking about defending a country that we all hold dear.

There was a story I heard from an exchange student, Mr. Chairman, who came to visit the United States. She was asked about her time here--this was a young college student--and they said: What made the biggest impression upon you during your time in the United States? She said this: The number of people who came up to me and said, ``What do you hope to do for a living? What do you want to do?'' And it was totally different for this girl, because the culture that she was coming from, that wasn't her experience, but she came to the United States and there was a brightness to it, an opportunity to it, and a freshness to it. She found it so exciting and so dynamic. That is what we are fighting about. That is what we are fighting for. We are fighting for a nation, to defend a great nation, and to celebrate a great nation. That is worth taking up.

So, look, there are very big differences in this House in the direction to move. There are very deep differences in this House about how we need to deal with the immigration problem.


Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Chairman, we all need to realize the brightness of this moment.

So I respect my colleague and his differences. I respect the other side and their differences. I think we need to go back to Thomas Jefferson, who said this, Mr. Chairman. Jefferson wrote a letter in 1790 to a guy named Charles Clay. He said:

The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, and we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.

Mr. Chairman, this is a game of inches. We need to prevail, we need to move forward, and we need to come together.


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