SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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REID-KENNEDY BILL'S AMNESTY: IMPACTS ON TAXPAYERS, FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS AND THE RULE OF LAW
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
AUGUST 24, 2006
Serial No. 109153
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://judiciary.house.gov
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F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
DARRELL ISSA, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
TOM FEENEY, Florida
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
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JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida
PHILIP G. KIKO, General Counsel-Chief of Staff
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
C O N T E N T S
AUGUST 24, 2006
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The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Wisconsin, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Martin T. Meehan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Massachusetts, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary
The Honorable Andrew Renzullo, Member of the General Court of the State of New Hampshire
Mr. John Young, Co-Chair, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform
Mr. Peter Gadiel, President, 9/11 Families for a Secure America
Mr. John Lewy, American Academy of Pediatrics
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Mr. Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Prepared Statement of the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of Wisconsin, and Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Charles F. Bass, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Hampshire, with attachment
Letter to the House Judiciary Committee from the Honorable Jordan Ulery, New Hampshire State Representative
Prepared Statement of David Lamarre-Vincent, Executive Director, New Hampshire Council of Churches
Prepared Statement of the Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Theuner, VIIth Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Member of the Board of Directors of Lutheran Social Services of New England
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REID-KENNEDY BILL'S AMNESTY: IMPACTS ON TAXPAYERS, FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS AND THE RULE OF LAW
THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2006
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., at the Hall of Representatives, The State House, 107 North Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire, the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The Committee will be in order. A quorum for the purpose of taking testimony is present.
I am Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. With me at the present time now are Congressman John Hostettler of Indiana who is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts.
I would like to welcome you all to the third field hearing on the subject of illegal immigration. The purpose of this series of hearings is to examine the challenges our Nation faces with regard to illegal immigration and the impact the Reid-Kennedy bill passed by the Senate would have on the problem if it were to become law.
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Today's hearing will focus on the enormous fiscal costs illegal immigrants pose on American taxpayers as well as the impact of the amnesty proposal on the rule of law and the concept of fundamental fairness. The Reid-Kennedy amnesty provides an eventual path to citizenship for millions of individuals who broke our laws to enter and reside in the United States, much like the mass amnesty provided under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as Simpson-Mazzoli.
Based on the lesson learned from the 1986 amnesty, we know that the Senate scheme will simply result in the cottage industry of fraudulent documentation that will allow individuals to falsely claim that they have been in the country long enough to get amnesty. Moreover, granting another amnesty provides would-be illegal immigrants outside our country every incentive to enter illegally in the future knowing that the U.S. is likely to provide them amnesty at some time in the future.
Illegal immigrants already account for billions of dollars of costs to hospitals, local schools and the full range of other State, local and Federal Government entities. Relying on data compiled by the National Research Council and the Center for Immigration Studies, it is conceivable that over their lifetimes, the 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. today cost American taxpayers a half trillion dollars.
From a fiscal standpoint, illegal immigrants who are legalized will become eligible for a full array of State and Federal entitlements at an enormous cost to the government, especially after they become citizens. The Congressional Budget Office 2 days ago released a cost estimate on the Senate bill finding that it will cost taxpayers $127 billion over a 10-year period. This includes $48 billion for Social programs such as Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, tax credits and a host of other benefits.
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And this 10-year estimate does not even begin to capture the long term cost of the amnesty. Amnesty immigrants will generally have to wait 6 years to get their green card and another 5 years to get citizenship. Therefore, the biggest fiscal drain will not occur until after the 10-year mark in the CBO estimate when the illegal immigrants become eligible for additional social benefits programs.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that illegal immigrant households receiving amnesty under the Senate bill would cost taxpayers $29 billion a year. Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation believes that the cost would be even higher once the amnesty immigrants bring their parents to the United States, up to an additional $50 billion a year.
Aside from the monetary costs of amnesty, we cannot afford to ignore the fact that amnesty is fundamentally unfair to legal immigrants who play by the rules and wait in line. What do we say to the millions of individuals who are patiently waiting outside the United States for their green cards, some up to 22 years, when we grant amnesty to individuals who have lived illegally in the United States? It is simply not fair to give preference to those who have broken our laws and would encourage future law breaking by rewarding such behavior.
Some argue that because most illegal immigrants' primary motivation to come to the United States is to better their economic conditions, that somewhat justifies their disregard for our laws. As a Nation founded on the concept of the rule of law, we cannot forsake our principles by allowing anyone to place themselves above the law, even when they may be appearing to act with noble intentions. Today we must ask whether it is fair to legal immigrants in the U.S. and U.S. citizens and consistent with our historic tradition for respect for the rule of law to grant amnesty once again to millions of illegal immigrants?
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I would like to thank the New Hampshire legislature for graciously providing the venue for today's hearing and look forward to the testimony from our panel on these important issues. Before I recognize a Member of the minority for opening remarks, I would like to remind Members, witnesses and those in the audience that this hearing is conducted consistent with all applicable rules of the U.S. House of Representatives and of the Judiciary Committee. Therefore, I ask witnesses to limit their oral remarks to 5 minutes of testimony and will recognize Members for 5 minutes of questions, alternating between the minority and majority Members seeking recognition.
Also I have noticed that we have three more people who have joined us, Representative Charles Bass who represents this district in Congress, Representative William Delahunt from Massachusetts, and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the great State of Florida, both of whom are Members of the Committee. And additionally, because we do have Members of Congress present today who do not serve as Members of the Committee on the Judiciary, I would ask unanimous consent that they be permitted to participate in today's hearing. And without objection, it is so ordered.
I would now like to recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Meehan, for an opening statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sensenbrenner follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
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[Note: Image(s) not available in this format. See PDF version of this file for complete hearing record.]
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for having this hearing so close to my home in Lowell. It only took me about 35 minutes to get here, so it worked out well.
You know German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck once remarked that laws are like sausages, no one should ever see how either is made. Well, this is quite an unusual hearing. The House of Representatives has passed an immigration bill. The United States Senate has passed an immigration bill. From my perspective, we should be rolling up our sleeves and working out the differences between those bills.
It is interesting because, in the past 10 years since the House and Senate was controlled by Republicans, there have been 5.3 million undocumented immigrants who have come to the United States. Under President Bush, there have been 2 million more undocumented immigrants that have come to the United States. So I think we all see that the signs are clear that there is a growing problem and the American people want a solution. Republicans have complete control. They have the House. They have the Senate. They have the White House. They have the Supreme Court. The American people expect leadership on this issue.
This is not an easy issue. It is a complex issue. The House has passed a bill. Ironically enough, the House-passed bill, we haven't had a hearing on the bill that was passed in the House. The American people expect the leadership of both branches to roll up their sleeves and find a way to report out a bill. Doing nothing means more illegal immigrants coming in over the borders. Doing nothing makes the situation worse.
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But it is interesting because if any of you read the Federal publication, ''How Our Laws Are Made,'' it is a great publication. It says that the House has a hearing, then the House has a hearing in the Committee, and they vote to pass a bill. And the Senate votes to pass a bill. And then when they are finished, page 42 talks about a Conference Committee. The Chairman has said that the Senate has not filed its paperwork yet for a Conference Committee. We go back September 1st. It will be 3 months of inaction on this because of the lack of a Conference Committee.
If you look down at the material, it says the Reid-Kennedy bill's amnesty impact. The ''Reid-Kennedy'' bill? I don't know where that name came from, but it is simply not accurate. And if you don't believe that I think it is not accurate, I would point out to your own Senator from New Hampshire who made a statement on the floor of the United States Senate, Judd Gregg, on the McCain-Specter-Brownback-Graham-Hagel-Martinez-Kennedy immigration bill. This is what Senator Gregg said; he said, ''I support Senate Specter and Senator Kennedy and Senator McCain's position. I have come to the conclusion that we can secure our borders. But you cannot do it with just people and money on the border. There has to be a policy in place that creates an atmosphere that lessens the pressure for people to come across the border illegally, and that is what this bill attempts to address.''
Now, the other body sat down. They worked hard. It wasn't easy. But the bill that they came up with was a bipartisan bill. I don't think there is anyone in the United States Senate or anyone in America more familiar with what happens in the border than Senator John McCain, the distinguished Republican from Arizona, because he lives with it day in and day out on those borders, and he worked hard in a bipartisan way to produce a bipartisan bill. What we ought to really be doing here is rolling up our sleeves and working out the differences. Not having hearings all across America.
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With all due respect, the time for hearings was when the bills were being considered. They had a hearing in San Diego. It had to have cost the taxpayers at least $25,000. There are hearings all across America. With all due respect, the American people want us to go do work, to get a Conference Committee going to work out the differences, to look at the data and make this country secure, get this country up to date and deal with the people that we need to deal with in a reasonable way.
So, Mr. Chairman, while I love to come to Concord, New Hampshire, it is one of my favorite places, I think we really ought to get to work and get that so-called paperwork done and get a conference meeting. Three months of inaction, it is inexcusable and indefensible. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. We have five witnesses today. One is New Hampshire State Representative Andrew Renzullo from Hillsboro District 27, serving Hudson, Litchfield and Pelham. He had sponsored and cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation in the New Hampshire House concerning illegal immigration including H.B. 1137, a bill that would expand the definition of ''illegal trespass'' in New Hampshire.
Also, Steven Camarota, who serves as director of research at this time for the Center for Immigration Studies. In recent years, Dr. Camarota has testified before Congress more than any other non-government expert on immigration. His articles on the impact of immigration have appeared in both academic journals and the popular press. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in public policy analysis and a masters degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
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Peter Gadiel is president of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America, an organization he helped found which is comprised of victims of families killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks and the survivors of those attacks. His 23-year-old son James, an assistant trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center. Mr. Gadiel has worked since early 2002 on the issue of securing U.S. borders against entry by terrorists. A graduate of the Case Western School of Law, he is a member of the New Hampshire Bar.
Dr. John Lewy is testifying on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization for which he serves as director of Federal Affairs. Dr. Lewy is also the former chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Health Sciences Center of Tulane University, and he resides in Moultonboro, New Hampshire.
And also here is John Young, who currently serves as the co-chair of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform and is chairman of the National Council of Agricultural Employees Immigration Committee. He is a director of the Florida East Coast Travel Service Board which recruits and arranges travel for workers coming from Jamaica, Mexico, and other Caribbean islands who plan to work under both the H2A and H2B foreign worker programs.
Thank you for agreeing to testify before the Committee today, and will each of the witnesses please rise and raise your right hand to take the oath?
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Let the record show that all the witnesses answered in the affirmative.
Without objection, all Members' opening statements can be placed in the record at this point. All of your written statements, without objection, will be placed in the record during your testimony.
I would like to ask that each of you confine your oral testimony to 5 minutes or so. And we do have timers in front of each of you so that when the yellow light goes on, there is a minute left, and when the red light goes on, the 5 minutes is up.
Representative Renzullo, why don't you be first?
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE ANDREW RENZULLO, MEMBER OF THE GENERAL COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Mr. RENZULLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.
I am a New Hampshire State Representative. I am retired, have a part-time job where a talk with a lot of ordinary folks, working men and women. They are upset with illegal immigration, and they know the difference between legal and illegal immigration. They don't know what is fashionable or what is PC. But they're absolutely sure what is fair and what is right and usually know when they are being snookered. They don't want a, ''comprehensive immigration bill.'' The 1986 bill was a ''comprehensive bill.''
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As Scotty said on a Star Trek episode: ''Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'' Secure the border. We will talk about what to do with the millions of illegal aliens already here once that is done.
Let's look at a few issues and try to relate them to New Hampshire. New Hampshire has a population of 1.3 million. According to a 2006 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, there are between 10,000 and 30,000 unauthorized migrants in New Hampshire.
Does illegal immigration have any effect on public education in New Hampshire? In 2005, New Hampshire spent $2.2 billion on public schools. According to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2004, there were 13.9 million people in ''unauthorized families,'' of which 3.1 million are citizen children of illegal aliens and 1.6 million are children illegally here.
Using this formula and the 10,000 estimate of illegal residents already mentioned, that would equate to 4,350 pupils in New Hampshire as a result of illegal immigration. That equates to $46.5 million per year. Of course, these numbers are estimates and extrapolations, because nobody asks the questions or collects the data. All that is required is proof that the child lives within the school district. Not good when the primary funding source for public education in New Hampshire is the property tax.
What about medical care? One of the most irritating aspects of illegal immigration is the drain on the medical care system. Data shows that illegal aliens are twice as likely to use an emergency room, the most cost intensive of medical facilities. That is understandable as Federal law requires emergency medical treatment. In New Hampshire, the uncompensated care costs was $237.4 million in 2004, of which $160 million were not Medicare or Medicaid underpayments. These costs are shifted to everyone else in New Hampshire. How much is due to those illegally here? No one knows. No one takes the data. In our politically correct society, no one even dares ask the question.
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And finally, there is jobs. The Nation's highest ranking public official says illegal aliens are coming here ''to do the jobs Americans won't do.'' That's not quite really accurate. Actually, it is jobs Americans won't do for the wages and working conditions being offered. How can the American worker, especially at the lower end of the wage scale, hope to compete with the 10 to 20 million illegal aliens willing to work for lower wages and no benefits in an underground economy?
New Ipswich Chief of Police Garrett Chamberlain relates the story of his first encounter with the illegal immigration issue. Hidden in a van stopped for speeding were 10 illegal aliens from Ecuador who were doing roofing in a nearby town. He learned they were being paid $180 a day. Not each. All. That's $2.25 an hour. How can an American worker compete with that, and should he or she have to? And don't for a New York minute think that the lower labor costs were passed on to the consumer. And if one of the workers fell from the roof and was injured, who do you think would foot the medical bills other than the taxpayer?
The point of the story is that the American worker is on a downward slide to public assistance. Not just agricultural jobs but good paying union jobs are being undercut. A recent report put out by the Pew Hispanic Center states that in the United States, 27 percent of the dry wall and tile installers, 22 percent of the cement masons and finishers, 21 percent of the roofers and 19 percent of the brick layers are here illegally.
In closing, illegal immigration is one of those subliminal gut issues. It is not the type of thing that shows up in polls. Ask a New Hampshire citizen what is the most important issue facing the State, and they will probably say taxes or health care. But with God as my witness, I have yet to meet an ordinary person who is not upset about the disregard of our border by the millions of people and the lack of enforcement of our laws by our own government. Thank you.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Renzullo follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ANDREW RENZULLO
[Note: Image(s) not available in this format. See PDF version of this file for complete hearing record.]
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you, Representative Renzullo.
Mr. Young, why don't you go next.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN YOUNG, CO-CHAIR, AGRICULTURE COALITION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to testify today. I am a fourth generation apple farmer from New England and have been raising apples for 44 years here in New Hampshire. I am also co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform. And today I am also testifying on behalf of the National Council of Ag Employers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the New England Apple Council.
The title of today's hearing should be: ''How will illegal immigrants impact the costs of health care, local education and social services without passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation?''
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Certainly, illegal immigration has negative consequences, yet a fair and complete treatment of the issue would consider contributions of immigrants and most importantly the impacts of more delay or even failure yet again to enact a truly comprehensive immigration reform bill.
I say this because for decades I have been closely involved with the immigration issue. I am intimately familiar with the existing temporary foreign worker programs. I worked on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and I can tell you that the chief failure of that legislation was not the legalization program but rather the lack of a long-term solution in the form of expanded temporary worker programs.
I wish to go on record by saying that, year after year, we have heard excuse after excuse for congressional inaction. Had we solved this problem in a truly comprehensive way in 1986 or in 1994 or 1996 or in 1998, we would probably not be here today talking about numbers like 12 million people, numbers which reach nearly 5 percent of the workforce. And we would not have the daily news reporting outright shortages of farm labor threatening the existence of agriculture industries coast to coast, from oranges in Florida to tomatoes in California to dairies right here in New England.
The core elements of a comprehensive approach must be, one, rational border and interior enforcement; two, expanded and improved legal channels for temporary workers to meet the needs of the American economy; and, three, a realistic approach for addressing the undocumented. While we may quibble about some of the elements of the Senate-passed bill, it is comprehensive in scope, and it does address all of these elements.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, since this hearing is looking at the cost of immigrants, I have attached the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office's report on cost prepared by the Essential Worker Coalition, and I ask that it be included in the record.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Without objection.
Mr. YOUNG. As well as the experience of the New England Apple Council with the existing H2A and H2B programs as Attachment I.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Without objection, as well.
Mr. YOUNG. The current guest worker programs have deep flaws that limit their use. H2A is bureaucratic, unresponsive, expensive and prone to litigation. H2B is hamstrung by an artificially low cap in admissions. Neither accommodates employers who need workers year round, but instead are restricted to seasonal employment. If you are an employer who has year round needs for general labor which cannot be successfully filled with U.S. workers, there is no program for you.
Our agricultural economy and much of our service economy is fueled by undocumented workers. We need a comprehensive immigration policy which will allow these workers to come forward, undergo background checks and be allowed access to jobs legally. They will pay taxes, but more importantly, they will help create many jobs upstream and downstream of the production, for services and goods which will allow these businesses to expand. In agriculture, as an example, each farm worker job sustains three jobs in the surrounding economy.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe the mess which is America's current immigration system can only be fixed through a comprehensive approach. Comprehensive immigration reform must deal with each aspect of the problem. It must provide a workable program for agriculture, such as a reformed H2A, it must address the artificially low H2B cap. It must create a new temporary worker problem that is accessible to the industries that fall through the cracks of the current limited program framework.
Comprehensive reform must also address enforcement. Employers can also be part of this solution. Employers are not opposed to an expanded employment eligibility verification system, but it must be accurate, responsive, easily accessible and hold the employer harmless for any system errors. Most importantly, expanded employer responsibilities in this area must be coupled withand I say coupled with and not implemented in advance of means to an access to a legal workforce.
Without comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform, without a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform approach, legislative efforts will fail and we will continue to suffer the consequences. We will again have walked away from the issue and a year from now, based on the recently released statistics, there will be 300,000 more undocumented aliens here in the United States. The time for action is now. I urge the Members of the House to return to Washington and work with the Senate to pass a comprehensive bipartisan immigration bill and do it during this session of Congress. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Young follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN YOUNG
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I appreciate the opportunity to testify today. I'm a fourth generation apple farmer from New England, and have been raising apples for 44 years here in New Hampshire. I am also co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR). Today I am also testifying on behalf of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the New England Apple Council (NEAC).
The title of today's hearing is ''The Reid-Kennedy Bills Amnesty; Impacts on Taxpayers, Fundamental Fairness and the Rule of Law''. In my opinion the fairer question is ''How will illegal immigrants impact the costs of health care, local education, and social services WITHOUT passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation?'' Certainly illegal immigration has negative consequences. Yet a fair and complete treatment of the issue would consider contributions of immigrants andmost importantlythe impacts of more delay or even failure, yet again, to enact a truly comprehensive immigration reform bill.
I say this because for decades I have been closely involved in the immigration issue, and am intimately familiar with the existing temporary foreign worker programs. I worked on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and can tell you that the chief failure of that legislation was NOT the legalization program, but rather, the lack of a long-term solution in the form of expanded temporary worker programs. I have been at the table ever since, seeking reforms to the existing temporary worker programs through the 1990's up to the present.
I wish to go on record by saying that year after year, we have heard excuse after excuse for Congressional inaction. Had we solved this problem in a truly comprehensive way in 1986, or in 1994, or 1996, 1998, we would probably not be here talking about numbers like 12 million people, numbers like nearly 5% of the workforce! And, we would not have the daily news reporting outright shortages of farm labor threatening the very existence of agricultural industries from coast to coast, from oranges in Florida to tomatoes in California to dairies right here in New England.
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The core elements of a comprehensive approach must be (1) rational border and interior enforcement; (2) expanded and improved legal channels for temporary workers to meet the needs of the American economy; and, (3) a realistic approach for addressing the undocumented. While we may quibble about some of the elements of the Senate-passed bill, it is comprehensive in scope. It does address all these elements.
Along with my testimony, I offer the experience of the New England Apple Council with the existing H2A and H2B programs (see Attachment I). The current programs have deep flaws that limit their use. H2A is bureaucratic, unresponsive, expensive, and prone to litigation. H2B is hamstrung by an artificially low cap on admissions. Neither program accommodates employers who need workers year-round, but instead are restricted to seasonal employment. If you are an employer who has year-round needs for general labor which cannot be successfully filled with U.S. workers, there is no program for you.
Meanwhile our agricultural economy and much of our service economy is fueled by undocumented workers. We need a comprehensive immigration policy which will allow these workers to come forward, undergo background checks, and be allowed access to jobs legally. They will pay taxes, but more importantly they will help create many jobs upstream and downstream of the production, for services and goods, which will allow those businesses to expand. In agriculture, as an example, each farmworker job sustains three jobs in the surrounding economy. We are talking about sustaining and creating job opportunities for Americans.
We believe that the mess which is America's current immigration system can only be fixed through a comprehensive approach. Comprehensive immigration reform must deal with each aspect of the problem. It must provide a workable program for agriculture, such as a reformed H2A. It must address the artificially low H2B cap. It must create a new temporary worker program that is accessible to the industries that fall through the cracks of the current limited program framework.
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Comprehensive reform must also address enforcement. I believe that every American wants to see a well-managed border. Employers can also be part of the solution. Employers are not opposed to an expanded employment eligibility verification system. But it must be accurate, responsive, easily accessible, and it must hold the employer harmless for any system errors. Most importantly, expanded employer responsibilities in this area must be coupled withnot implemented in advance ofmeans to access a legal workforce.
The problem of those who are in this Country without documents must be dealt with at the same time that we secure our borders. I like to think of our problem, of illegal immigration, as a dam that has been breached. When you have a hole in a dam the first thing you do is relieve the pressure. If we provide better legal channels that are in our own economic interest, and we find a way for those here undocumented to become legal, we will have released the pressure. We will then be able to go about fixing our dam. A recent study by the National Foundation for American Policy documents this by looking at the positive effect the 1950's-era Bracero program had at reducing illegal immigration.
Without a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform approach, legislative efforts will fail and we will continue to suffer the consequences. We will again have walked away from the issue. And a year from, now based upon recently released statistics, there will be 300,000 more undocumented aliens here in the U.S. The time for congressional action is NOW. I urge House Members to return to Washington to work with the Senate to pass a comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill.
In conclusion I want to thank the Committee for allowing me to testify today.
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The New England Apple Council Experience
with the Existing H2A and H2B Temporary Worker Programs
John Young, Past Executive Director
The New England Apple Council includes growers in all six New England States, who raise various agricultural products. Many of our growers, including me, have used the H2A program since the early 1960's. Our members started using Legal foreign workers in 1943. Mr. Chairman it has been almost 11 years since I last testified before this committee. In that time the guest worker program known as H2A has become nearly unusable. The approximately 190 members of NEAC have decreased their usage of H2A by 53%. Although employment of H2A workers has decreased, overall employment at our members has remained stable.
Where have the additional workers come from? Many were referred by the Employment Service without verification of their legal authority to work in the U.S. Growers took the Employment Service's word that all referrals were qualified. Part of being qualified is being work authorized. Later growers were notified that many workers' social security numbers did not match the names reported.
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A referral of 125 workers approximately 13 years ago began the New England Apple Councils change from a legal (H2A) workforce to a heavily undocumented workforce. Growers were not in a position to use the pilot verification system because H2A workers are not included in the Social Security system, and would all come back as no-match. Employers were also afraid to use the system for only U.S. workers for fear of being charged with discrimination in hiring by the Office of Special Counsel of the U.S. Department of Labor.
I believe H2A is broken. It is unresponsive, burdensome in paperwork, excessively costly, and I as an Association Director can not guarantee workers will be at the farm when they are needed.
The government's approval process has become less dependable since 9/11. Prior to 9/11 we would expect petitions for workers to be approved within two weeks. Today many are not back in even a month. For our H2A jobs we are asking to have unnamed petitions approved. The background checks of workers are done at the port of entry, and there is no function required at Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) other than stamping the petition approved.
We also have employers who use H2B workers. These are seasonal workers in hotels, restaurants, golf courses, landscaping, fisheries and ski areas. This program is also broken. An employer must start 120 days before workers are needed. With good luck they receive an approval from the Department of Labor 3060 days before need; this is after an attempt to find local U.S. employees to do the job failed. This approval must then be sent to USCIS with the regular fees plus an extra $1,000 for expedited processing. Without premium processing it can take as long as 5 months for approval. We recently had one that took 5 months and a day, to approve an unnamed petition. There are other problems with the H2B program. It is capped at 66,000 visas per year. There was a temporary fix to exempt most returning workers from counting against the cap, but it will expire on October 1st. This will leave many New Hampshire businesses without workers next spring.
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Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you, Mr. Young.
The Chair will advise the Members of the audience that the rules of the House specifically prohibit expressions in support of or in opposition to any statements that are made by witnesses or by Members of the Committee. And the Chair will enforce that rule.
This is a legislative hearing that is conducted pursuant to the rules of the United States House of Representatives. I know that there are strongly held views on both sides of this issue. I think it is important that this hearing be conducted according to rules because what someone agrees with in 1 minute, someone will disagree with when somebody else comes to speak. And the only way that we are able to conduct this hearing according to the rules is that everybody respects the statements that are made by the witnesses and by the Members of the Committee, whether they happen to agree with those statements or disagree with those statements.
Mr. Gadiel, the floor is yours.
TESTIMONY OF PETER GADIEL, PRESIDENT, 9/11 FAMILIES FOR A SECURE AMERICA
Mr. GADIEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
Since independence, one of America's most treasured ideals has been that of equality under law. In practice, we have often failed to achieve that ideal, but with the civil rights revolution, the clear trend of our 230 years of existence has been a progress toward making that goal a reality.
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Now comes the U.S. Senate with S. 2611, a bill that will reverse our progressive course by rejecting the concept of equality before the law. This would be done in order to create a special class of millions and offer them special treatment and privileges that have never before in our history been offered to any single citizen let alone an immense group of them.
Who are the people the Senate has selected for special privileges? Not combat veterans of our military services; not the elderly people who have contributed to our Nation for many decades; not Americans who have made contributions in medicine or science. The elite chosen by the Senate are illegal aliens, citizens of other nations who, like thieves in the night, sneaked across our borders illegally. Aliens who obtained visas to visit our country with the stated promise to return home on the expiration of their visas and who, by violating that promise, revealed themselves to be liars. The privileged class chosen by the Senate consists entirely of criminals, and not even American criminals but criminal aliens.
S. 2611 would forgive illegals for immigrations crimes, tax evasion, identity fraud, and other crimes and then goes far beyond that to grant them one of the greatest gifts our government can bestow: citizenship, a benefit that the law breakers will be able in turn to pass on to their descendants.
Senators object to calling this amnesty, and on this one single point, they are correct. A true amnesty would merely restore the criminals to the same position they occupied before they committed their crimes: the right to apply for immigration like anyone else in the world. But S. 2611 goes on and rewards the acts of this specified criminal class. And to conceal the nature of its discriminatory and regressive plan, the Senate calls this idea comprehensive or a path to legalization. But to everyone else, it is discrimination, a violation of fundamental fairness and abandonment of the rule of law as we have known it.
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The law breaking illegal aliens will be the beneficiaries of S. 2611, and it is American citizens who will pay the costs, both financial and social. Tens of thousands of American workers who have lost their jobs to illegal aliens who will work for a pittance and live 40 and 50 to a house. It is fundamentally unfair to these Americans who will see their law breaking competitors rewarded with citizenship. Fundamentally unfair to make permanent the conditions that deprive these American workers the ability to earn a living wage. Many Americans have been killed or injured in auto accidents or crimes committed by illegals who violate our motor vehicle and criminal laws as readily as they violate our immigration laws. And I might add today they show a disregard for even common civil proprieties of this hearing.
Since every illegal is by definition a person whose true identity has never been documented, the perpetrators in many cases just disappear, is it not grossly unfair to the American victims and their families that illegals who have killed and injured Americans will be able simply by adopting a new identity to take advantage of a path to citizenship?
The health care costs of Americans are inflated because hospitals are overrun by illegals who utilize their services. Is it not fundamentally unfair to Americans to increase our population by perhaps 60 million who will inevitably increase those costs?
The open borders lobby relentlessly speaks of the romantic past, but the world is not the place it was in 1870 or 1900. Many, many, many conditions have changed and the most important one of those changes is that our government no longer seems to care who gets into our country. Let me provide a personal perspective on that point.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My father was born in Germany in 1906. He was only part Jewish, but that and his family's anti-Nazi activities were sufficient for the Hitler government to target him for death. In 1940, he arrived in this country officially classified as a ''stateless person'' and was allowed entry, but his entry as a refugee was conditional. He used to tell me that despite his Jewish blood and his work in opposing Nazis, before he was entitled to remain in the U.S., the FBI investigated him carefully to make sure he wasn't a German agent. He said they practically looked under my fillings to make sure I wasn't a Germany agent.
Yet my father was pleased that the FBI examined him so closely. I didn't want German agents in the U.S. anymore than FDR did. I wanted to be safe. My father was proud that he passed the test, and he felt safe in this country because he knew his government was carefully screening every single person who wanted to immigrate to this wonderful country.
How sadly ironic it is that my son, his grandson, was murdered on 9/11 because the government of this country abandoned the practice of carefully examining those who wish to come to our country.
S. 2611make no doubtwill result in many more millions of criminal aliens from all parts of the earth winning the right to stay in the United States of America without any effective investigation of their possible violent or terrorist backgrounds. And this is the worst of all the many crimes against fairness, justice and morality S. 2611 will produce: It will make our Nation even more vulnerable to attack by hostile foreign powers infiltrating agents into the USA as ordinary illegal aliens.
I implore the Members of this Committee to remember that it was negligence on the part of U.S. Government officials that allowed the terrorists of 9/11 and tens of thousands of ordinary street criminals to destroy the lives of innocent Americans. S. 2611 would perpetuate this madness. Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime
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Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman be allowed to finish his statement.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Without objection.
Mr. GADIEL. I appreciate that very much. Amnesty for illegals means Americans will die. It is up to the Members of this House to save Americans from this assault by a Senate that is deaf to the wishes of the vast majority of this country's citizens. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gadiel follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PETER GADIEL
Since Independence, one of American's most treasured ideals has been that of equality under the law. In practice we have often failed to achieve that ideal, but the clear trend during two centuries has been of progress toward making the goal a reality. Now comes the US Senate with S.2611, a bill which would reverse our progressive course by rejecting the concept of equality before the law. This would be done in order to create a special class of millions and offer them special treatment and privileges that have never in our history been offered to any single citizen, let alone an immense group of them.
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Who are the people the Senate has selected for special privileges? Not combat veterans of our military services; not elderly people who have contributed to our Nation for many decades, not Americans who have made unique contributions in the medicine or science.
The elite chosen by the Senate are illegal aliens. Citizens of other nations who, like thieves in the night, sneaked across our borders illegally. Aliens who obtained visas to visit our country with the stated promise to return home on the expiration of their visas and who, by violating those promises, revealed themselves as liars. The privileged class chosen by the Senate consists entirely of criminals. And not even American criminals, but criminal aliens.
S. 2611 would forgive illegals for their immigration crimes, tax evasion, identity fraud and other crimes, and then goes far beyond that to grant them one of the greatest gifts our government can bestow: citizenship, a benefit that the lawbreakers will in turn be able to pass on to their descendants. Senators object to calling this ''amnesty,'' and on this one point they are correct. A true ''amnesty'' would merely restore the criminals to the same position they occupied before they committed their crimes: a clean slate and the same right to stand in line with the rest of the world to apply for immigration. However, S2611 rewards the criminal acts of this chosen class of lawbreakers. To conceal the nature of its discriminatory and regressive plan the Senate calls this idea ''a path to legalization,'' but to everyone else it's discrimination; a violation of fundamental fairness.
While lawbreaking aliens will be the beneficiaries of S2611, it is American citizens who will pay all the costs, social and financial.
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Tens of thousands of taxpaying American workers in the building trades, hospitality industry, agriculture, service industry, manufacturing, high tech . . . the full spectrum of this country's private sector have lost their jobs or have been forced to take lower wages because of illegal aliens who will work for a pittance and live forty and fifty to a house. It is fundamentally unfair to these Americans that their lawbreaking competitors will be rewarded with citizenship; fundamentally unfair to make permanent the conditions that have deprived these American workers of the ability to earn a living wage.
Illegal aliens, violating our criminal laws and motor vehicle laws with the same contempt they show for our immigration laws, have killed or injured many thousands of Americans in street crimes or highway accidents. Since every illegal is by definition a person whose true identity has never been documented, the perpetrators often just disappear. Is it not grossly unfair to these American victims and their families that the illegals who are responsible will be able, simply by adopting a new identity, to take advantage of the ''path to citizenship?''
The health care costs of all Americans are inflated because hospitals are overwhelmed with illegals getting ''free'' health care. Is it not fundamentally unfair to Americans to permanently add perhaps 60 million people who will inevitably increase these costs?
Many Americans who have needed emergency care but have lost access to nearby hospitals which have been forced to close by the cost of caring for illegals who abuse the ''free'' care offered by emergency rooms. Is it not fundamentally unfair to Americans that the very same people who caused these denials of service will be rewarded with the Senate's ''path to citizenship?''
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Many Americans of modest means have their entire life earnings invested in their homes and many have seen their homes rendered almost worthless because nearby houses were converted by absentee owners into dormitories for dozens of illegals. Is it not fundamentally unfair to these Americans to reward the illegals (and the landlords) who have robbed them of the work of a lifetime?
The open borders lobby relentlessly speaks of the romantic past. But the world is not the place it was in 1870, 1900. Many, many conditions have changed. Most important among those changes is that our government no longer seems to care who gets into our country. Let me provide a personal perspective on that point.
My father was born in Germany in 1906. He was only part Jewish but that and his family's anti-Nazi activities were sufficient for the Hitler government to target him for death. In 1940 he arrived in the United States officially classified as a ''stateless person.'' However, his status as a refugee was conditional, with permanent status only being granted after a complete investigation. He used to tell me that before he was permitted to remain in the US the FBI ''practically looked under the fillings in my teeth to make sure that I wasn't a German agent.'' Yet, my father said he was pleased that the FBI examined him so closely. ''I didn't want German agents in the US anymore than FDR did. I wanted to be safe.'' My father was proud that he passed the test, and felt safe because he knew his government was carefully screening every person who wanted to immigrate to this wonderful country.
How sadly ironic is it that his grandson, my son, was murdered on 9/11/2001 because the government of the United States had abandoned the practice of carefully examining those who wish to come to our country, and S.2611 will result in many more millions of criminal aliens from all parts of the earth winning the right to stay in the USA without any effective investigation of their possible violent or terrorist backgrounds.
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And this is the worst all the many crimes against fundamental fairness that S.2611 will produce: it will make our Nation even more vulnerable to attack by hostile foreign powers infiltrating agents into the USA as ''ordinary'' illegal aliens.
I implore members of this Committee to remember that it was negligence on the part of US government officials that allowed the terrorists of 9/11 and tens of thousands of ''ordinary'' street criminals to destroy the lives of innocent Americans. S.2611 will perpetuate this madness.
Amnesty for illegals means Americans will die.
It is up to the Members of this House to save Americans from this assault by a Senate that is deaf to the wishes of the vast majority of our citizens.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you, Mr. Gadiel.
Dr. Lewy now.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN LEWY, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
Dr. LEWY. Thank you. I am very pleased to meet with you this morning. I am a pediatrician, and I am the immediate past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Federal Government affairs. I was the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Tulane Medical School from 1978 until my retirement in 2004, and I now live in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. I would like to address the issue of how illegal aliens impact local taxpayers in terms of cost and health care.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is concerned about the children who are the innocent victims of illegal immigration. All children need care in our communities; comprehensive, coordinated and continuous care in a medical home, meaning in a doctor's practice, is cost effective and provides the best quality of care.
Unfortunately, the rules requiring Medicaid recipients to document citizenship and identity will harm the health of the children in our country and their communities. Let me elaborate and explain. About one-third of the Nation's low-income uninsured children live in immigrant families. These children are less likely to gain access to health care services. When they become ill, they are more likely to use emergency rooms which are far more expensive than medical homes. They also delay care far more and more often therefore require hospitalization.
Immigrant children have more depression, more anxiety, more linguistic problems, and often were exposed to traumatic events such as war and persecution. They are also less likely to be immunized. This increases community risk. An example occurred with measles which was largely eliminated in our country by the year 2000. Last year, a 17-year-old unvaccinated girl from Indiana visited an orphanage in Romania where she picked up the measles virus. When she returned home, she attended a church gathering where there were 500 people including a number of unvaccinated children; 34 people developed the illness and three required hospitalization, one quite severely ill.
A particular concern is the interpretation of this citizenship identification and documentation requirements. An extreme problem can be found in the denial of eligibility for infants born in the United States, and therefore citizens, to undocumented mothers and in families who can't find their documentation, and a strong example of that is families who lost all documentation in Katrina.
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We would hope that, one, the deemed sponsor rule would be changed so that children are not denied access to insurance; secondly, that newborns would be presumed eligible for Medicaid coverage; three, that payment policies would be designed to encourage a medical home for all children who reside in the United States; and fourth, that State outreach efforts be designed to enroll eligible children in the Medicaid or the State child health insurance program.
In closing, then, I would hope that the Congress keeps in mind that all children living in our country need to receive quality care. This is the most cost-effective way to provide it in a medical home. We must not compromise children's health while we restructure immigration law. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lewy follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN LEWY
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists, who are deeply committed to protecting the health of children, adolescents and young adults in the United States. Our testimony in today's Oversight Hearing, ''The Reid-Kennedy Bill's Amnesty: Impacts on Taxpayers, Fundamental Fairness and the Rule of Law,'' will focus on children, the innocent victims of illegal immigration.
Children, whether they are undocumented or not, need care in our communities. Most immigrant children's care should be preventive, but too often, that care is foregone. Comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous health services provided within a medical home should be integral to all efforts on behalf of immigrant children. Children need and deserve access to care, and communities benefit when they receive it.
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Unfortunately, immigrant children often do not receive the care they need because of federal, state and local laws limiting payment for their care, or a generalized belief that if children seek care, their families or loved ones may become the target of law enforcement.
AAP believes that barriers to access, such as the recent promulgation of rules by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requiring Medicaid recipients to document citizenship and identification, will harm the health of the children in our country and the communities they live in.
One in every five American children is a member of an immigrant family. About one-third of the nation's low-income, uninsured children live in immigrant families. Children of immigrants, often racial or ethnic minorities, experience significant health disparities. These disparities arise because of complex and often poorly understood factors, many of which are worsened by the circumstances of their lives. Although these children have similar challenges with regard to poverty, housing, and food, significant physical, mental, and social health issues may exist that are unique to each individual child.
Children of immigrants are more likely to be uninsured and less likely to gain access to health care services than children in native families. Socioeconomic, financial, geographic, linguistic, legal, cultural, and medical barriers often limit these families from accessing even basic health care services. Once care is available, communication barriers often result in immigrant children receiving lower-quality services. Many immigrant families also have varied immigration statuses that confer different legal rights and affect the extent to which these families are eligible for public programs such as SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and Medicaid. Thus, the immigration status of children in the same family may differ. As a result, a foreign-born child may be ineligible for insurance coverage, while his or her younger, U.S.-born sibling is eligible as a native citizen.
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Each immigrant's experience is unique and complex but certain overarching health issues are common in caring for immigrant families. Immigration imposes unique stresses on children and families, including:
depression, grief, or anxiety associated with migration and acculturation;
separation from support systems;
inadequate language skills in a society that is not tolerant of linguistic differences;
disparities in social, professional, and economic status between the country of origin and the United States; and
traumatic events, such as war or persecution, that may have occurred in their native country.
The health of immigrant children not only impacts the child, it impacts the entire community. Preventive care commonly provided to children born in the United States will often not be available to children of immigrants. Left untreated, the health issues caused by this lack of prevention cause immigrant families to seek care for their children in emergency settings. Children commonly present with worse health status in the emergency room than if they had received preventive care.
Beyond the health status of the child, communities should also care about the health of the children who live in them because immigrant children may have diseases that are rarely diagnosed in the United States. Left untreated, these diseases may be passed on to the communities in which immigrant children reside. In addition, many foreign-born children have not been immunized adequately or lack documents verifying their immunization status. Dental problems are also common among immigrant children.
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The measles vaccine is an example of the importance of prevention for communities. Measles is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause a rash, fever, diarrhea and, in severe cases, pneumonia, encephalitis and even death. Worldwide, it infects some 30 million people and causes more than 450,000 deaths a year. In the United States, measles was once a common childhood disease, but it had been largely eliminated by 2000. Nevertheless, an outbreak of measles occurred in Indiana last year. A 17-year-old unvaccinated girl who visited an orphanage in Romania on a church mission picked up the virus there.
When the girl returned, she attended a gathering of some 500 church members that included many other unvaccinated children. By the time the outbreak had run its course, 34 people had become ill. Three were hospitalized, including one with life-threatening complications. Clearly, communities should care about the health of those who reside in them.
FEDERAL AND STATE HEALTH PROGRAMS FOR IMMIGRANTS
One of the most important risk factors for lack of health coverage is a child's family immigration status. Some children in the United States are ineligible for Medicaid and SCHIP because of immigrant eligibility restrictions. Many others are eligible but not enrolled because their families encounter language barriers to enrollment, are confused about program rules and eligibility status, or are worried about repercussions if they use public benefits.
The vast majority of immigrant children meet the income requirements for eligibility for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but for various reasons are not enrolled. Medicaid and SCHIP are not available to most immigrant children because of eligibility restrictions imposed by various federal laws. Two examples include the sponsor deeming rule and the recently promulgated citizenship and identification documentation requirements.
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While qualified immigrants can become eligible to receive federal benefits after five years of U.S. residency, secondary rules often interfere with their access to benefits, such as the ''sponsor deeming'' rule. Current law requires that people who immigrate through family ''sponsors'' may have their sponsors' income counted in determining eligibility. This rule applies even if the sponsor lives in a separate household and does not actually contribute to the immigrant's financial support. Sponsor deeming has made a majority of low-income immigrants ineligible for benefits, even after five years have passed. Moreover, if an immigrant uses certain benefits, including Medicaid and SCHIP, his or her sponsor can be required to repay the government for the value of the benefits used until the immigrant becomes a citizen or has had approximately 10 years of employment in the United States. Together, these requirements impose significant barriers to securing health coverage, even when immigrant children are otherwise eligible.
Immigrant children who used to qualify based on certifications as to their immigrant status now may not qualify because of changes contained in the Deficit Reduction Act. These changes require that Medicaid applicants, who would otherwise qualify, must now also provide documentation such as a passport or original birth certificate to verify their citizenship status and identity. While designed to weed out fraud and abuse from the system, AAP has already received information that the rule has limited access to care for poor children who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid. An extreme example of this can be found in new rules denying coverage for children born in the United States to undocumented mothers.
According to these new rules, newborns may not be eligible for Medicaid until strenuous documentation requirements have been satisfied. Hospital records may not be used in most cases to prove that children are citizens, even though the child was born in the hospital providing care and are, by definition, citizens. Thus, care for some citizen newborns may not be paid for by Medicaid because paperwork documenting their status is not yet available. Pediatricians treating these citizen newborns whether they are low-birthweight, have post-partum complications, or simply need well-baby care, may not be paid. This result is completely unnecessary because the child will eventually qualify for Medicaid benefits as a result of where he or she was born.
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Lawmakers should be aware of and sensitive to the onerous financial, educational, geographic, linguistic, and cultural barriers that interfere with achieving optimal health status for immigrant children. This awareness should translate into:
CMS confirming with states that newborns are presumed eligible for Medicaid coverage. Paperwork should not delay payment for services provided to resident newborns.
The deemed sponsor rule should be changed so that immigrant children are not denied access to insurance, and by extension, quality health care.
The pooling of community resources to address unpaid-for care provided by pediatricians to immigrant children. Undocumented children receive care from pediatricians. Communities benefit from the provision of this care. Communities should not expect pediatricians alone to provide the resources needed to furnish this care.
Encouraging payment policies to support the establishment of a medical home for all children residing in the United States. Comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous health services provided within a medical home should be integral to all efforts on behalf of immigrant children. In addition, the establishment of a medical home should be a ''scorable element'' for children, as the medical home will have the effect of providing care for children away from the emergency room in many instances.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Outreach efforts for children who are potentially eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP but not enrolled, simplified enrollment for both programs, and state funding for those who are not eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP. The Medicaid reciprocity model, which allows Medicaid recipients in one state to qualify for services in another state without reestablishing eligibility, is an example of a model that enables underserved families to access health benefits more easily.
In closing, the American Academy of Pediatrics seeks to ensure that Congress keeps in mind the children we care for as it considers restructuring immigration law. Pediatricians and a host of other health professionals provide care to children throughout the United States. We must not compromise children's health in the name of reform.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you.
TESTIMONY OF STEVEN CAMAROTA, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES
Mr. CAMAROTA. Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Committee, my name is Steven Camarota from the Center for Immigration Studies and I want to thank you for inviting me to testify.
When it comes to immigrants and public coffers, there is general agreement that their fiscal impact depends largely on the education level of the immigrant in question. Immigrants who come with a lot of education tend to pay much more in taxes than they use in services, while those with little education tend, who have low incomes, pay relatively little in taxes and often use a good deal in public services. In the case of illegal aliens, services are often received on behalf of their U.S. born children who are currently awarded U.S. Citizenship.
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It is critically important to understand that the fiscal drain from less educated immigrants is not because they came to America to get welfare, nor is it due to an unwillingness to work. Rather, the costs simply reflect the fact that there is no single better predictor of one's income, tax payments, or use of public services in modern America than one's education level. And some 60 percent of illegal aliens have not completed high school. And another 20 percent have only a high school degree. While the most detailed study of the fiscal effects of immigration was done by the National Research Council, it found that during their lifetime an immigrant who arrives without a high school education will create a net fiscal burden of $89,000. This includes all the taxes they will pay and all the services they will use. The net drain on taxpayers at all levels of government is $89,000. For an immigrant who comes with only a high school degree, the net drain is $31,000. However, the study found that immigrants who come with more education were a fiscal benefit. But the people who will be legalized under 2611 are overwhelmingly people who create large fiscal costs.
In terms of the impact on taxpayers, the fundamental problem with the Senate bill is that it ignores this basic fact. My research shows that if we legalized illegals and they began to pay taxes and used services like legal immigrants with the same level of education, the net fiscal drain would roughly triple on just the Federal Government from $10 billion a year to $30 billion a year. That's the difference between what they would pay in taxes and use in services.
This happens because illegals would now be eligible for many more social programs, but their low education levels would mean their incomes and taxes would still be very modest, even though they would be paid on the books. As you know the Senate bill increases legal immigration from roughly 1 million to 2 million a year and grants legal status to some 10 million illegal immigrants. For the most part, the bill makes no real effort to select new immigrants based on their skills and education, nor is that part of the selection criteria for legalization. If you take nothing else away from my testimony it is the knowledge that it is not possible to avoid the fiscal costs of large-scale, unskilled immigration given the realities of the modern American economy and the existence of our well-developed welfare state, unless we are prepared to drastically cut spending on programs like the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program, public education, emergency medical care, free school lunches, just to name a few. There is simply no desire to do that. The kind of programs that illegal aliens use are a permanent feature of our society.
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Let me comment briefly specifically on State and local governments. In 2005, one out of every seven persons without health insurance in the United States was an illegal alien. The cost of providing health care to illegals and their U.S. Born children totals some $4 billion a year for State and local governments. State and local governments spend another $22 billion a year to provide illegal aliens and their U.S. born children with a free education. As I said, the very low education level of the vast majority of illegals means that even when paid on the books, they can't pay enough to cover the costs they impose even though the vast majority of illegal aliens work, typically full-time.
There is, if you will, a high cost to cheap labor. Now putting aside the impact on taxpayers it should also be remembered that all the research shows that the economic gain to Americans from immigration is very tiny or minuscule in the words of the Nation's top economists. And the benefits come mainly by driving down the wages and benefits of the least educated and poorest Americans which itself is very problematic. There is no possibility that the economic benefits from unskilled immigration will somehow offset the cost to taxpayers.
We face a simple choice. Either we enforce the law and make illegal alien go home, or we shut up about the fiscal costs. They are the only two possibilities when it comes to public coffers. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Camarota follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEVEN A. CAMAROTA
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There is general agreement that the fiscal impact of immigration (legal or illegal) depends largely on the education level of the immigrants in question. Immigrants with a lot of education pay more in taxes than they use in services, while those with little education tend to have low incomes, pay relatively little in taxes and often use a good deal in public services. In the case of illegal aliens, the vast majority have little education, and this is the key reason they create fiscal costs. Illegal families often receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children. The costs associated with illegal immigration are difficult, such as emergency medical care or public education, if illegals are allowed to stay. As a matter of policy, either we enforce the law and make the illegals go home or stop complaining about the costs.
KEY FINDINGS OF RESEARCH:
The National Research Council (NRC)(see footnote 1) estimated that immigrant households create a net fiscal burden (taxes paid minus services used) on all levels of government of $20.2 billion annually.
The NRC estimated that an immigrant without a high school diploma will create a net lifetime burden of $89,000, and an immigrant with only a high school education is a negative $31,000. However, an immigrant with education beyond high school is a fiscal benefit of $105,000.
Estimating the impact of immigrants and their descendants, the NRC found that if today's newcomers do as well as past generations, the average immigrant will be a fiscal drain for his first 22 years after arrival. It takes his children another 18 years to pay back this burden.
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The NRC also estimated that the average immigrant plus all his descendants over 300 years would create a fiscal benefit, expressed in today's dollars of $80,000. Some immigration advocates have pointed to this 300-year figure, but the NRC states it would be ''absurd'' to do so.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) estimates that in 2002 illegal alien households imposed costs of $26 billion on the federal government and paid $16 billion in federal taxes, creating an annual net fiscal deficit of $10.4 billion at the federal level, or $2,700 per household.(see footnote 2)
Among the largest federal costs were Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison/court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).
If illegal aliens were legalized and began to pay taxes and use services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education levels, CIS estimates the annual net fiscal deficit would increase to $29 billion, or $7,700, per household at the federal level.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that state and local governments spend some $4 billion a year to provide health care to illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children and $20 to $24 billion to educate children from illegal alien households.
The primary reason illegal aliens create a fiscal deficit is that an estimated 60 percent lack a high school degree and another 20 percent have no education beyond high school. The fiscal drain is not due to their legal status or unwillingness to work.
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Illegal aliens with little education are a significant fiscal drain, but less-educated immigrants who are legal residents are a much larger fiscal problem because they are eligible for many more programs.
Many of the costs associated with illegals aliens are due to their U.S.-born children who have American citizenship. Thus, barring illegal aliens themselves from programs will have little impact on costs.
There are now some 400,000 children born to illegal alien mothers each year in the United States, accounting for almost one in ten births in the country. Of all births to immigrants 39 percent were to mothers without a high school education, and among illegals it was more than 65 percent.(see footnote 3)
The costs associated with providing services to so many low-income children is enormous and will continue to grow if the large-scale immigration of less-educated immigrants (legal and illegal) is allowed to continue.
Focusing just on Social Security and Medicare, CIS estimates that illegal households create a combined net benefit for these two programs in excess of $7 billion a year. However, they create a net deficit of $17 billion in the rest of the budget, for a total net federal cost of $10 billion.
While there is still much that is not known, we now have some reasonably good information about the impact of immigrants on public coffers. As I tried to make clear in the summary above, there is a pretty clear consensus that the fiscal impact of immigration depends on the education level of the immigrants, not their legal status. Certainly other factors also matter, but the human capital of immigrants, as economists like to refer to it, is clearly very important. There is no single better predictor of one's income, tax payments, or use of public services in modern America than one's education level. The vast majority of immigrants come as adults, and it should come as no surprise that the education they bring with them is a key determinant of their fiscal impact. In my own research I have concentrated on the effect of illegal aliens on the federal government. For those wanting a more detailed look at these questions, my most recent publications are available online at the Center for Immigration Studies web site, www.cis.org.
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ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND THE FEDERAL BUDGET
A good deal of research has focused on the effect illegals have on taxpayers at the state and local level. Much of this work has examined only costs, or only tax payments, but not both. In my work I have tried to estimate both, and I have focused on the federal government. Based on a detailed analysis of Census Bureau data, my analysis indicates that households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household. The largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).(see footnote 4) Obviously, the size of the illegal population has grown since 2002, so the costs have as well.
A Complex Fiscal Picture. While the net fiscal drain illegals create for the federal government is significant, I also found that the costs illegal households impose on federal coffers are less than half that of other households, but their tax payments are only one-fourth that of other households. Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, greater efforts to bar illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them. It must also be remembered that the vast majority of illegals hold jobs. Thus the fiscal deficit they create for the federal government is not the result of an unwillingness to work. In 2002, I found that 89 percent of illegal households had at least one person working, compared to 78 percent of households headed by legal immigrants and natives.
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Legalization Would Dramatically Grow Costs. One of my most important findings with regard to illegal aliens is that if they were given legal status and began to pay taxes and use services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual net fiscal deficit would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total net cost of $29 billion. Costs increase dramatically because less-educated immigrants with legal statuswhat most illegal aliens would becomecan access government programs but still tend to make very modest tax payments. Of course, I also found that their income would rise, as would their tax payments if legalized. I estimate that tax payments would increase 77 percent, but costs would rise by 118 percent.
These costs are considerable and should give anyone who advocates legalizing illegal immigrants serious pause. However, my findings show that many of the preconceived notions about the fiscal impact of illegal households turn out to be inaccurate. In terms of welfare use, receipt of cash assistance programs tends to be very low, while Medicaid use, though significant, is still less than that for other households. Only use of food assistance programs is significantly higher than that of the rest of the population. Also, contrary to the perceptions that illegal aliens do not pay payroll taxes, we estimate that more than half of illegals work on the books. On average, illegal households pay more than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes. Unfortunately, they impose costs of $6,950 per household.
What's Different About Today's Immigration. It is worth noting that many native-born Americans observe that their ancestors came to America and did not place great demands on government services. Perhaps this is true, but the size and scope of government was dramatically smaller during the last great wave of immigration. Not just means-tested programs, but expenditures on everything from public schools to roads were only a fraction of what they are today. Thus, the arrival of immigrants with little education in the past did not have the negative fiscal implications that it does today. Moreover, the American economy has changed profoundly since the last great wave of immigration, with education now the key determinant of economic success. The costs that unskilled immigrants impose simply reflect the nature of the modern American economy and welfare state. It is very doubtful that the fiscal costs can be avoided if our immigration policies remain unchanged.
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ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
In my own research I have focused on fiscal costs at the federal level. It should also be noted that in the 1997 NRC study, The New Americans, mentioned above the estimated lifetime fiscal drain at the state and local level from all immigrants (legal and illegal) was negative $25,000. That is, immigrants cost state and local government $25,000 more in services than they paid in taxes in the course of their lifetime. Some newer data exists to estimate the impact of illegals on state and local governments in such areas as health care and public education. The estimates below provide some insight into the likely impact of illegal immigration at the state and local governments on these two key public services. Below I discuss only the impact of illegal immigration.
Health Care. In 2004, state governments spent $125 billion on Medicaidhealth insurance coverage for low incomes.(see footnote 5) Based on prior research, some $2.1 billion of that money went to persons in illegal-alien households, mostly their U.S.-born children.(see footnote 6) Data from 2005 also indicated that of the 45.8 million uninsured people in the country (persons on Medicaid are considered to have insurance), some 7 millionor 15 percentare illegal aliens or the young U.S.-born children of illegals under age 18.(see footnote 7) State and local governments spend some 12 billion on treatment for the uninsured.(see footnote 8) Thus, it seems likely that illegals and their children cost state and local governments some $1.8 billion on top of the $2.1 billion spent on Medicaid. In total, the best available evidence indicates that illegal immigration costs state and local governments some $4 billion a year. The federal government likely spent an additional $6 billion on health care for illegals and their children in 2004.
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Public Education. State and local governments spent some $400 billion on public education in 2003. Between 5 and 6 percent of all children in public school are themselves illegal aliens or are the U.S.-born children of an illegal alien. Putting aside the higher costs associated with educating language minority children, the costs of providing education to these children still must come to $20 to $24 billion for state and local governments. The federal government also provides funding for public education, a significant share of which is specifically targeted at low-income, migrant, and limited English students. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that the costs of educating illegal-alien children at all levels of government, including the federal expenditures, was nearly $12 billion in 2004, and when the children born here are counted they estimated the figure at $28 billion.
POLICY OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
The negative impact on the federal budget from illegal immigration need not be the only or even the primary consideration when deciding what to do about illegal immigration. But assuming that the fiscal status quo is unacceptable, there are three main changes in policy that might reduce or eliminate the fiscal costs of illegal immigration. One set of options is to allow illegal aliens to remain in the country but attempt to reduce the costs they impose. A second set of options would be to grant them legal status as a way of increasing the taxes they pay. A third option would be to enforce the law and reduce the size of the illegal population and with it the costs of illegal immigration.
Let Illegal Stay Illegal, But Cut Costs. Reducing the costs illegals impose would probably be the most difficult policy option because illegal households already impose only about 46 percent as much in costs on the federal government as other households. Moreover, the fact that benefits are often received on behalf of their U.S.-citizen children means that it is very difficult to prevent illegal households from accessing the programs they do. It seems almost certain that if illegals are allowed to remain in the country, the fiscal deficit will persist.
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The High Cost of Legalization. As discussed above, our research shows that granting illegal aliens amnesty would dramatically increase tax revenue. Unfortunately, we also find that costs would increase even more. Costs would rise dramatically because illegals would be able to access many programs that are currently off limits to them. Moreover, even if legalized illegal aliens continued to be barred from using some means-tested programs, they would still be much more likely to sign their U.S.-citizen children up for them because they would lose whatever fear they had of the government. We know this because immigrants with legal status, who have the same education levels and resulting low incomes as illegal aliens, sign their U.S.-citizen children up for programs like Medicaid at higher rates than illegal aliens with U.S.-citizen children. In addition, direct costs for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit would also grow dramatically with legalization. Right now, illegals need a Social Security number and have to file a tax return to get the credit. As a result, relatively few actually get it. We estimate that once legalized, payments to illegals under this program would grow more than ten-fold.
Enforcing the Law. If we are serious about avoiding the fiscal costs of illegal immigration, the only real option is to enforce the law and reduce the number of illegal aliens in the country. First, this would entail much greater efforts to police the nation's land and sea borders. At present, less than 2,000 agents are on duty at any one time on the Mexican and Canadian borders. Second, much greater effort must be made to ensure that those allowed into the country on a temporary basis, such as tourists and guest workers, are not likely to stay in the country permanently. Third, the centerpiece of any enforcement effort would be to enforce the ban on hiring illegal aliens. At present, the law is completely unenforced. Enforcement would require using existing databases to ensure that all new hires are authorized to work in the United States and levying heavy fines on businesses that knowingly employ illegal aliens.
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Policing the border, enforcing the ban on hiring illegal aliens, denying temporary visas to those likely to remain permanently, and all the other things necessary to reduce illegal immigration will take time and cost money. However, since the cost of illegal immigration to the federal government alone is estimated at over $10 billion a year, significant resources could be devoted to enforcement efforts and still leave taxpayers with significant net savings. Enforcement not only has the advantage of reducing the costs of illegal immigration, it also is very popular with the general public. Nonetheless, policymakers can expect strong opposition from special interest groups, especially ethnic advocacy groups and those elements of the business community that do not want to invest in labor-saving devices and techniques or pay better salaries, but instead want access to large numbers of cheap, unskilled workers. If we choose to continue to not enforce the law or to grant illegals legal status, both the public and policymakers have to understand that there will be significant long-term costs for taxpayers.
If you take nothing else away from my testimony, it should be remembered that it simply is not possible to fund social programs by bringing in large numbers of immigrants with relatively little education. This is central to the debate over illegal immigration because 60 percent of illegals are estimated to have not completed high school and another 20 have only a high school degree. The fiscal problem created by less-educated immigrants exists even though the vast majority of immigrants, including illegals, work and did not come to America to get welfare. The realities of the modern American economy coupled with the modern American administrative state make large fiscal costs an unavoidable problem of large-scale, less-educated immigration.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This fact does not reflect a moral defect on the part of immigrants. What it does mean is that we need an immigration policy that reflects the reality of modern America. We may decide to let illegals stay and we may even significantly increase the number of less-educated legal immigrants allowed into the country, which is what the immigration bill recently passed by the Senate would do. But we have to at least understand that such a policy will create large unavoidable costs for taxpayers.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you, very much, Mr. Camarota.
In order for us to have more than one round of questions, the Chair intends to enforce the 5-minute rule on Members, including himself, pretty strictly and that way we can have a couple of rounds of questions and maybe even three rounds of questions before noon.
The gentleman from Massachusetts Mr. Meehan.
Mr. MEEHAN. Representative Renzullo, how long have you been a State legislator in New Hampshire?
Mr. RENZULLO. I have been a legislator for 2 years.
Mr. MEEHAN. In the House?
Mr. RENZULLO. In the House. Before that, I was in local politics.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MEEHAN. And when you pass a bill in the House and the Senate passes a bill, does it go to a Conference Committee?
Mr. RENZULLO. If there is a difference, yes.
Mr. MEEHAN. Right. And you are aware that the House passed a bill and the Senate passed a bill, and we're awaiting a Conference Committee?
Mr. RENZULLO. I am aware of that.
Mr. MEEHAN. Do you know Senator Gregg from New Hampshire?
Mr. RENZULLO. Yes, I do.
Mr. MEEHAN. Did you send him a letter as this bill was being debated the United States Senate?
Mr. RENZULLO. I'm not certain if I did or not. I know I have told him that the Senate bill was
Mr. MEEHAN. But you are not certain whether you sent him a letter or not?
Mr. RENZULLO. I probably did. I know I sentif I didn't send him a letter, I probably called his office.
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Mr. MEEHAN. You mentioned the cost of people going to the emergency rooms. You phrased it as illegal aliens that go to the emergency rooms in our hospitals.
Mr. RENZULLO. I did not sayI said the costs, yes, okay. I understand what you are saying, okay.
Mr. MEEHAN. Right. Do you know how many legal American citizens in the United States don't have health insurance?
Mr. RENZULLO. I think it is approximately, if I look at the data, 45 million. And Mr. Camarota has the data that says 6 or 7 are illegal.
Mr. MEEHAN. It is about 45.8 million Americans who don't have health insurance. And those 46 million Americans that don't have health insurance who are legal citizens are going to emergency rooms all across America to get their health insurance. And the reason: to get coverage. That's what is happening now. So this idea that we are going to blame our problems in the health care system on illegal immigrants, the fact of the matter is, we should be ashamed of ourselves as the richest, most powerful country in the world that 46 million American citizens don't have health insurance. It is unconscionable.
I really believe that what we need to do is provide leadership and get this legislationwork out the differences between the Senate and the House. And I honestly I don't believe that anyone is fooled by this process of having hearings after the bill has passed the House and the Senate. The newspapers all across America are rightly calling these hearings pointless and calling them a stalling technique.
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I don't understand where advocates for stronger Border Patrol, more guards on the border, more and better technology to implement the 9/11 Commission reports that haven't been implemented, I don't understand why it is better to do nothing than to try to work out differences between the House and the Senate. I just don't understand it.
In Massachusetts, the Boston Herald, a pretty conservative newspaper, they say that the House's unwillingness to get to work is the only roadblock to reform. House Bill 4437 was introduced on Tuesday, December 6. It passed the House on Friday the 16th. Not one hearing. Not one hearing. It is unprecedented to have the House pass a bill and the Senate pass a bill and then decide to do a road show with hearings all across the country.
There comes a time when people have to roll up their sleeves and go to work. And I might add, I gave the statistics earlier, as the Republicans are in control of the Housethey are in control of the Senate; they are in control of the White House; they are in control of the Supreme Courtillegal immigrants are still coming over the border in record numbers. The enforcement on the borders under this President has been terrible. In fact, this Congress has not even funded all of the border security personnel that have been authorized.
So I don't know how we get into this, we are going to do nothing because we think that doing nothing is better than doing something, because we will have an election in November, and we will make it seem that we are for something so tough that we can't do anything. And I think that is wrong. I think the American people are calling for reform. They want us to deal with this issue. And they want us to deal with it openly and honestly, and what that means is rolling up your sleeves and working it out in the Conference Committee.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Hostettler.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At the outset, I think the record should be clarified. In you testimony, Dr. Camarota, your written testimony, you give the figure of 45 million uninsured people in the country, but that is not 45 million citizens of the United States.
Mr. CAMAROTA. Over 13 million of them are either immigrants or the young child of an immigrant parent. About 6.3 million of those are illegal aliens. It is from the March 2005 current population survey. Most research suggests that 90 percent of illegal aliens respond.
Mr. MEEHAN. Will the gentleman yield on that point? My figures didn't come from him.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The time belongs to the gentleman from Indiana.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. So your figures are probably wrong. Given, Dr. Camarota, that 15 percent of the uninsured population in America are illegal aliens, let me ask you about the growth in that. Relative to the total population of illegal aliens and the proportion of American citizens, is the population of uninsured illegal aliens growing faster than the population of uninsured American citizens?
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Mr. CAMAROTA. Yes, sir, absolutely. Since about 1989, the uninsured population is up roughly 12 million. About 9 million of the increase in the last 15 years are new immigrants or the children born to immigrants, and half of that or more is illegal aliens. So you are looking at around half of the growth in the uninsured in the United States being from illegal immigration.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Dr. Camarota, your cost on taxpayers are costs that are as a result of direct payment of services for illegal aliens; is that correct?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Services that they would use in a broad sense. Plus I tried to take into account all the taxes they would pay, too.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. In previous testimony before our Subcommittee, you have remarked that, between 2000 and 2004, foreign born workers added 1.1 million to the number in three job classifications, contribution labor, building maintenance and food preparation. But in 2004, there were 2 million adult native Americans unemployed in those three job classifications. Is that correct? Do you remember that testimony?
Mr. CAMAROTA. That sounds about right. I can't say exactly, but that sounds about right.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Given the displacement that has taken place with regard to American workers in the workplace as a result of illegal aliens coming into the labor pool, are there not significant indirect costs as a result of displaced Americans who do have access to a much larger array of government programs for government aid as the result of being once against displaced by illegal aliens?
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Mr. CAMAROTA. Yes, lower wages for natives should result in them using more social services as a result of the immigrant competition, and also, those who leave the labor market entirely or become unemployed, there are added social services costs associated with that as well. I haven't calculated those.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. There are significantly higher costs as of result of that. We appreciate that.
An expansion of health benefits as suggested by Dr. Lewy would do what to the foreign population of individuals who would consider coming into the country illegally? If we expanded social spending programs for illegal aliens and especially the children of illegal aliens not born in the United States, what would that do to the motivation of foreign populations with regard to their desire to enter illegally?
Mr. CAMAROTA. One would have to expect that, obviously, it is a very attractive option in a country like Mexico where it is difficult to access a less developed health care system, coming to the United States and at least getting care for your children would make it more attractive. How much of an impact we don't know. The other thing it would do is make illegal aliens who often go home on their own each year more likely to stay. There is a wealth of literature that shows that benefits tend to reduce out-migration.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you. Mr.
Young, in your testimony, you use the analogy of a dam and its repair and the breach of a dam, a hole being placed on the dam. Interestingly, when that takes place, where there is a hole below the water line what takes place, according to the Corps of Engineers, is they build what is called a cofferdam. They create a barrier that surrounds the place of the breach, a barrier, a physical barrier, pump the area dry to effect the repairs. It has to be dry. They can't have water obviously streaming in.
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This is a very good analogy. I commend you for the analogy. This is an analogy that is very apropos to the House passed bill, the Sensenbrenner bill that included exactly what you are suggesting. And that is the creation of a barrier that would stop the upstream flowor if you use the analogy of the southern borderthe upstream flow into the United States. That is what the House is attempting to do is to repair that breach of the dam.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Chairman, I clearly want to defer to you as Chair, and you haven't posed your questions. If you are extending the courtesy to me.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Your turn, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am sure that will not be taken off my time.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. I will reset the clock.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you for resetting the clock.
Mr. Camarota, you have testified before in numbers of hearings. You are part of the traveling show at this point in time.
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Mr. CAMAROTA. This is my first traveling hearing that I have attended.
Mr. DELAHUNT. And I want to be very clear. This is not an ad hominem remark, but I am unsure as to the methodology that you utilize when you come to your figures. And I am sure it is a good-faith effort, but I have seen statisticswhether it is Social Security, whether it is the CBO or the OMB statistics, we see them all the time in the U.S. Congress, the deficit, for example, that bounces around and up and down, and I dare say, to a significant degree, it is a guess.
Back in 1986, much has been talked about in terms of that legislation. The number of illegals was estimated to be 9 million at that point in time. And subsequently, we learned after the passage of the 1986 act that in fact it was 3 million. So it causes me some unease to be relying on statistics that are put forth.
But be that as it may, as I said, you testified earlier that in the aftermath of the passage of the 1986 act, there was a dramatic decline in the number of illegals coming into the country. And yet, well, let me quote your testimony: ''But it does appear,' and I'm quoting you, ''that as soon as they realized that that wasn't going to happen, meaning that the law was not going to be enforced, there was an upturn.'' That is your testimony.
Mr. CAMAROTA. Yeah, I think there is general agreement that right after passage
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DELAHUNT. I am asking a specific question. That is your testimony? Without enforcement, without enforcement, no law is worth the paper that it is written on. I think we can all agree in that. And because of the failures of the executive and Congress at the time to enforce the law, there was an exercise, if you will, that was a sham. As soon as the word filtered out to the immigrant community that, don't worry, they are talking tough, but they really are not doing anything, there was a resurgence of undocumented aliens coming into this country. That's a statement by me, not a question, I'm just looking at your testimony.
But I'm going to askthere is a chart to be put up here. Because let me suggest that whatever we doand by the way, I believe, with all due respect to New HampshireI love New Hampshire, you are part of Red Sox Nation, we appreciate thatbut we ought to be in Washington, D.C., not myself, but at least Chairman Sensenbrenner and the Subcommittee chair working with the conferees in the Senate to see if we can iron out this difference and do something. But for those of you that are concerned about this issue, please note that President Bush called President Fox earlier this month subsequent to our recess to inform President Fox that there appeared to be no hope of passage of any legislation this year.
So now what we have accomplished is a big fat nothing, whether it be border security, whether it be comprehensivewhatever you want to call itwe are not going to get the job done. And as my colleague from Massachusetts mentioned, there is only one partythere is only one party in our political system today that controls the House, controls the Senate, controls the White House, and that's the Republican Majority.
So we know what this is all about today. This is about securing some sort of political advantage. Now, some might suggest that they want to pressure Senator Gregg, because it could be the Gregg-Frist-McConnell bill, not necessarily the Reid-Kennedy bill. But they all support that particular approach comprehensively.
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But I don't really think it is about that. I think it is about House seats and where there are competitive races going on, and that is why we are in New Hampshire, and that is why the Democrats in this Committee will have a press conference immediately after this hearing to describe what we think is happening with this particular issue as far as whether it is real or a sham.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. I ask unanimous consent that the general have an additional 2 minutes if he would like to keep on going on.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Yes.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I thank my dear friend and colleague from Wisconsin for the additional 2 minutes.
Mr. MEEHAN. Will the gentleman yield for a question? We passed the 9/11 act calling for an additional 2,000 Border Patrol agents, 800 immigration agents and 8,000 beds per year. Have the Republicans funded that?
Mr. DELAHUNT. No.
Mr. MEEHAN. They only funded about half of it; isn't that right?
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Mr. DELAHUNT. We will have more charts and more to say after this is over. Because we are here because we knew that we had to come. But what I would do is refer to this chart that is just about ready to fall, just to show a comparison, because we know what the Republicans are trying to do. They are trying to say that the Democrats are soft on border enforcement. That is just pure bunk. Okay? That is absolute bunk.
We all know that we have got to strengthen our borders. That's a given. The question is, how do we get there in a thoughtful and reasonable way? And we ought to be able to work together to do it. They did it in the Senate. You know, Frist did sit down with Reid, and Kennedy did sit down with McCain and Senator Gregg. Of course, there are disagreements, and nothing is perfect. But this chart speaks for itself as far as who is doing what.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The time of the gentleman has once again expired.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The gentleman from New Hampshire, Mr. Bass.
Mr. BASS. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. And I want to express my gratitude for the invitation to participate in this hearing as a non-Member of the Committee. I want to thank my friends, my neighbors from Massachusetts. I am glad to see that my friend from Lowell travels farther north than the Manchester Regional Airport, which he does many times. And my friend from Cape Cod, one of the nicer parts of America.
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I also want to bring to the Chairman's attention the fact that both my colleague Jeb Bradley and I have spent many enjoyable years in this chamber. And the chair right in front of the Chairman is a chair that I occupied for 2 years and subsequent to that moved back in section 3 for reasons which we will probably not go into detail today. Placement in this chamber is very important, Mr. Chairman.
I also want to say that my friends from Massachusetts have pointed out very eloquently that immigration is not a partisan issue. Clearly, there are Republicans and Democrats on both sides of this issue, and it is a legitimate debate that deserves to occur anywhere in the United States, not just in Washington, D.C.
And from my perspective, I would like to make six observations about the element that I think a comprehensive immigration reform bill needs to contain. First of all, as has been said already, we need to have a better effort to secure our borders with additional manpower, technology and resources. We need to allow State and local law enforcement officials more latitude in helping Federal officers in dealing with illegal immigrants and their disposition. We need to provide employers with the resources that they need to adequately determine eligibility of potential foreign workers and penalize those companies that continue to hire illegal aliens. Fourthly, we need to reform the immigration processing system in this country to cut down on the long backlogs and waiting periods that exist for people who are trying to receive visas and green cards.
I also think that we need to address visa programs to assure that this country remains compassionate to those who want to enter this country legally. And lastly, I think a comprehensive immigration bill needs to address, as Mr. Young mentioned, the need have our legal immigration system adequately reflect the real employment needs in this country. This country was built over a 230-year period with access to labor from many, many, many hundreds of thousands of people who came to this country legally and built America to be the strong Nation that it is today. We need to make sure that we continue to make that happen but that people who are here are here legally. We know who they are, and they don't provide a national security threat to America.
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And lastly, I would say that the concept of providing legal status to somebody who broke the law and is here illegally should not be tolerated. There are ways which we can deal with this issue, and I, again, have to agree with my friends on the other side of the aisle that we will at some point get together and work this issue out. But let me just say that it is important for America to participate in this debate. And I have no objection with the idea that we have a debate in Concord, New Hampshire, or Concord, California, or anywhere else in the United States because it is good for America to participate in this important issue.
I want to thank the Chairman for allowing me to be here and participate. I hope that he will excuse me if I am unable to stay for the entire length of the hearing. I welcome him to New Hampshire and welcome him to the oldest capitol building in continuous use in the United States here in Concord, New Hampshire. I yield back.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you.
The gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses for being here and for their interest in this important issue. The American people expect Congress to do more than just talk about this problem. They want us to get down to the tough business of hammering out a compromise between the House and Senate bills. They know that we have a border security problem, although you would not know it from the actions of the Republican-controlled Congress. The American people want action.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The House passed an enforcement-only bill in December, and the Senate passed a comprehensive bill in May. And it is time for Congress to start legislating and stop pontificating which is what we have been doing here this morning. The Republican leadership of this Committee and of the House of Representatives essentially want to run out the clock with this election year road show that they have been on in congressional districts with vulnerable House Members. And what is worse is that they are holding these hearings on the taxpayer's dime.
But the American people see through it. Whether they are in New Hampshire, where I am a home owner and a seasonal resident, or my home State of Florida, Americans want a solution, not election year spin.
Now how about we start enforcing the immigration laws that are already on the books? That would be a solution. I would like to just walk the people assembled here through the difference between how Democrats handled border security and how Republicans have handled it.
If you look at this chart right here, ''Border Security By the Numbers,'' under the Clinton administration, the average number of new Border Patrol agents that were added per year from 1993 to 2000 were 642. Since President Bush has been in office and this Congress has been controlled by Republicans, we have added 411.
If you look at the INS fines, the Immigration and Naturalization Service now called CIS, fines for immigration enforcement. That is against employers who illegally employ illegal immigrants. There were 417 fines against employers in 1999 when President Clinton was in office, and in 2004, when President Bush was in office, there were only three. So who is for border security, and who is just kidding?
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48 percent fewer completed immigration fraud cases. In 1995, when President Clinton was in office, there were 6,455 completed immigration fraud cases. Under the Bush administration in 2003, there were 1,389.
Thousands of illegal immigrants have been caught since President Bush has been in office, and they are going free each year. Why? Because there are not enough beds at detention facilities to house them. Why are there not enough beds? Because this Republican Congress has refused to deliver the resources needed to do the job right. Even though the 9/11 Commission recommended and the Intelligence Reform Act demanded 8,000 additional beds, this Republican Congress has funded only 1,800, a small fraction of what it should have. As a result, out of all the undocumented immigrants who are caught and released on their promise to come back to court, 70 percent never return. That is no surprise, and it is certainly not a solution.
It is not just beds and detention centers. Republicans have taken bad vote after bad vote on border security. We have proposed dozens of amendments to increase the funding for border security, and every one has been defeated along party lines. Even though the 9/11 Commission recommended and the Intelligence Reform Act mandated 800 more immigration agents, this Republican Congress has so far funded only 350. That is not a solution. And I could go on and on about the Republicans' failure to lead on this issue as the party in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House, but they have not gotten it done. All they are doing is going around the country talking about getting it done.
So Representative Renzullo, I am also a former State legislator, and I am sympathetic to the frustration you must feel with your party. Our former late Governor Lawton Chiles actually filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government, and that was thrown out by a Federal judge, because we do not get the funding that we expect from the Federal Government to deal with our illegal immigration problem.
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You expect the Federal Government to solve Federal problems, but when it fails the way Republicans have consistently failed on border security, you want to take matters into your own hands, which is why you filed a number of pieces of legislation to do that. Understandably frustrating.
So let's talk about how Congress is going to solve this problem. Enforcement always sounds good, but it is not a complete solution. Do we need border enforcement? I'm from the State of Florida. Trust me, we do. But we need more than that. We need policies that will take pressure off the border. We need comprehensive immigration reform.
Mr. Gadiel, I am truly sorry for the loss of your son on September 11th. And you know better than anyone that we must know who is in this country if we are to keep our Nation secure. But we will never know who is in our country so long as a broken immigration system keeps millions living in the shadows.
So I'm asking all of you, what do we do with the 12 million folks that are currently here, 12 million people who are not terrorists but hardworking people who have come to find a better way of life for their families? Even Florida's Governor Jeb Bush, who is no liberal by any definition, believes that the House immigration policy ignores reality. When he decided to support legislation allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses, he said this: We shouldn't allow them to come into our country to begin with, but once they are here, what do you do? Do you say that they are lepers to society, That they don't exist? It seems that a policy that ignores them is a policy of denial.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That's the Governor of my home State of Florida.
What do we do with a haystack of unknown people so large that it is impossible for our security agencies to target the few bad apples that want to harm them? We just can't declare all illegal immigrants to be felons as the House bill does and hope that they will deport themselves. It won't work. This is a complex problem, and it is going to take a comprehensive solution. And yes, as we have heard here today, it is going to be expensive. But are we really going to say that we are not willing to spend over the next 10 years one-third of what we already spent in Iraq in the last 3 if we could solve a major problem in our homeland that is crucial to our national security?
Some people say the United States is a Nation of immigrants. Other people say the United States is a Nation laws. We do not have to choose between the two. We have to understand that it is the only waywhat we have to understand is that the only way to
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The gentlewoman's time has expired.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The Chair recognizes himself for 5 minutes for some questions.
First of all, let me say that I think we all agree that illegal immigration is one of the major problems facing our country today. I was in Congress, alone among the Members of this panel here today, in 1986 when the Simpson-Mazzoli bill passed. I voted against it because I didn't think it would work. And we are here today talking about a much more complicated issue because Simpson-Mazzoli failed.
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I genuinely believe that the amnesty provisions that are contained in the Senate bill are the Son of Simpson-Mazzoli, and they will fail as well. And because there are more people in this country, it will be more expensive, and there will be an even greater magnet to bring people across the border.
For the last 20 years, I have said that the key to making any immigration reform work is the enforcement of employer sanctions. And one of the provisions that is in the House-passed bill sets up a mandatory verification of Social Security numbers system to make sure that someone who is applying for a job is actually using their own Social Security number. And if the system shows that there is a true match, then the employer would be given protection against prosecution. However, if there is no match and somebody is using a number that is either made up or obtained through identity theft, then the employer would be prosecuted. And the bill raises the fines for hiring illegal aliens significantly. Currently the fine is $100 per illegal worker per day for the first offense. My bill raises it to $5,000. Because you do not have fines act as a deterrent to illegal activity in anything unless the fines are high enough so that if somebody gets busted, it really hurts and everyone who is thinking about that type of illegal activity will say, ''gee, I don't want to have that happen to me.''
Now there have been a lot of allegations of why the immigration issue is procedurally wrapped around the axelrod. When the Senate passed their bill before Memorial Day, they did not message the bill to the House. Conversely, when the House passed its bill right before Christmas, there was a message that was sent to the Senate. Now, the House can't send the Senate bill to conference if it does not have the message. And furthermore, what the Senators did is they added $50 billion in new taxes in their bill. The Constitution is quite plain that tax legislation has to originate in the House of Representatives. And if the House should ever receive the Senate bill, then the tax writing Ways and Means Committee would blue slip the bill and send it back to the Senate, and we would be right back where we started from.
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So I am eager to get some type of legislation passed because doing nothing, in my opinion, is the worst possible alternative. But because of the failure of the Senate on both the Constitutional and the process issue, we have been hamstrung on that. And that, I sincerely regret.
I think what is going to have to happen is that we have to work on getting a comprehensive bill that is on a clean piece of paper rather than trying to untie the Gordian knot because of the Senate's constitutional and procedural violations.
Now, having said that, Mr. Young, I have a question for you. The House bill requires verification of Social Security numbers under the system I have described; new hires within 2 years and existing employees in 6. The Senate bill does not require the verification of existing employees.
That concerns me because a current illegal immigrant worker would be able to keep their job forever, but much worse is that they end up becoming an indentured servant because they would not be able to change jobs because a bad Social Security number would be caught when they applied for a new job.
The Chamber of Commerce has been opposed to verifying the status of existing employees. Will they change their position on this because of the concerns that I have just raised?
Mr. YOUNG. I don't think that they will change their position about retroactivity. We have to remember that the Senate bill also contains adjustment of status of workers. At that time, they will have to come forward with new Social Security cards which do identify them in order to take advantage of that system.
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Mr. SENSENBRENNER. If I could reclaim my time and ask unanimous consent for an additional minute. It is always cheaper to hire an illegal immigrant and to pay that illegal immigrant off the books than it is to hire a citizen or legal immigrant with some type of work authorization. So if we do not enforce the employer sanctions on existing employees strictly and adequately, there will be another flood of illegal immigrants that come across the border that will take away the jobs of the people who will be newly legalized in the Senate bill.
Does the Chamber of Commerce want to solve the problem or does the Chamber of Commerce want to continue being able to hire cheap labor which they pay off the books because the people are not legally authorized to work in the United States?
Mr. YOUNG. Prospectively, business and agriculture is willing to verify all their workers, and that will include new people coming into this country after the passage of the bill.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Thank you very much.
The gentleman from New Hampshire, Mr. Bradley.
Mr. BRADLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the fact that you are willing to come to New Hampshire today to hold this hearing. Like my colleague, Charlie, it is great to be back in this room where I had the opportunity to spend 12 years and to see a lot of friends on both sides of the aisle.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I have a somewhat unique perspective on this immigration debate that we're having. My wife of 27 years, Barbara, is a legalized citizen. She went through the regular process of applying for citizenship and then becoming an American and several years ago proudly did so. So I understand firsthand having gone through it the challenges that people will face in order to become American citizens, and I also understand the attraction of those people who would like to become American citizens.
However, we also have to recognize that we are a society of immigrants, but we are a Nation that adheres to the fundamental rule of law. Our country welcomes immigrants, like my wife Barbara, who go through the proper channels, the legal channels to come to this country. But we are that Nation of laws, and affording those individuals who came to this country illegally or became illegal after entering this country, affording them an automatic path to citizenship in my opinion is not fair for those immigrants who patiently wait in line doing everything they are required to do to come to this country legally.
So we should not in my view be creating incentives for people to come here illegally, because it rewards that behavior and it encourages it. Mr. Chairman, that is why I support the House bill and I support your leadership in making the House bill the House position on this issue, because it enhances our border security. It strengthens immigration laws. It promotes policies that enforce those laws. We all know that securing our border is essential to the safety of all Americans, and it is essential to thwart the possibilities of attacks against our Nation.
The House bill will end the catch-and-release practice by requiring mandatory detention of all illegal immigrants apprehended at U.S. land borders. In addition to other strong provisions, the legislation improves our ability to crack down on illegal smuggling rings, strengthens our asylum laws, employs surveillance technology and more people at the border. These are the tools that will allow us and allow our Border Patrol agencies to better do their job.
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Lastly, Mr. Chairman, history tells us that rewarding illegal behavior leads to more illegal behavior. Congress should not be in the business of rewarding that illegal behavior with an automatic path to citizenship. Illegal immigration weakens our security, burdens our social services
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. BRADLEY. And hurts American taxpayers. No, I would yield the balance of my time to the Chairman who I thought did an exceptional job last night on national television talking about the CBO scoring of the Senate bill and perhaps would want to describe it to the Granite Staters who are here today. And once again, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for coming to New Hampshire.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. I appreciate the gentleman from New Hampshire yielding. It certainly is a pleasure being here.
Let me say that, earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office did score the Senate bill at $127 billion of new expenditures. About 40 percent of that is various types of welfare and public assistance benefits that illegal immigrants are currently not entitled to receive as well as the earned income tax credit which is actually a payment by the Federal Government to certain low-income people which has been on the books for a couple of decades.
By contrast, the House bill was scored by the CBO before it passed at $1.9 billion, and much of that was in law enforcement enhancements, the fence that is proposed in both bills but a longer one in the House bill, as well as the cost of getting the Social Security database up to snuff so that the verification of Social Security numbers that I have described can be done as easily and quickly as accurately as a merchant swiping any of our credit cards to see if they are good when we want to buy something on credit.
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Again, I emphasize the fact that the key to any immigration reform that works is enforcement of employer sanctions, because the market will always work since it is cheaper to hire an illegal immigrant than it is to hire a citizen or legal immigrant with a green card.
Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming 10 seconds of my time, it is important for people here to note that the CBO or the Congressional Budget Office is a nonpartisan office that is charged with scoring or estimating the costs of various government initiatives. And given the fact that it is nonpartisan, Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle do depend on it for its unbiased presentation on those numbers. And I thank the Chairman. Like Charlie, I have engagements in another region of the State so I have to leave shortly.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. I thank both Members from New Hampshire for coming.
Mr. MEEHAN. I yield to the gentlewoman from Florida.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you. I thank my colleague from Massachusetts, and I wonder if either gentleman from New Hampshire would like to explain to the crowd assembled why they are professing support for increased and enhanced border security, yet when they had 10 different opportunities in the Congress for additional funding to enhance border security, they voted no on every single one of those opportunities.
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Mr. BRADLEY. I think, certainly, in listening to the gentlewoman's question, if you go back and examine the record, while I can't speak for Congressman Bass, I probably will, both of us have voted for enhanced border security on a number of different occasions in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, House Bill 4437, and other measures which I would remind the gentlewoman have been adopted by significant majorities on a bipartisan basis and both sides of the aisle, at least the appropriations bills. And I would hope that we can continue to work together on both sides of the aisle to enhance our border security.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Reclaiming my time, I just want to point out that we have documentation of the 10 instances in which both gentlemen from New Hampshire voted against additional funding to enhance border security, and we would be happy to provide that and expand on that information after the hearing. I yield back to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
Mr. MEEHAN. I thank the gentlewoman. I am curious, Representative Renzullo, 13 million people, how would we find them? This bill says we're going to criminalize them. Would we round them up? Would we put them on to planes? How would we know what plane to put them on? How many planes would it take? Or would we put them on buses? George Will, the conservative columnist, says, if you put them on buses, the buses will be lined up from Alaska all the way down to the Mexican border.
I can't for the life of me understand why would we demagogue on this and pretend that somebody has some kind of a magic way to round up 13 million people and get them on buses and put them somewhere. Is thatwould they be put on planes?
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Mr. RENZULLO. I think what you really are looking to do is enforce the border security
Mr. MEEHAN. Reclaiming my time, we're going to do that. But what I am saying is, there seems to be a difference of opinion between the Senate and the House as to what you do with 13 million people undocumented all across the country. I am just curious how much it would cost to round up 13 million people and put them on buses.
Mr. RENZULLO. Enforce the border security, and then we will talk about it in a couple of years when you have determined
Mr. MEEHAN. So we're going to go a couple of years? We are going to go a couple of years with 13 million people across this country without documentation, without papers?
Folks, I lost 32 people in my district on 9/11, and we need to get documentation as a national security matter on everyone that is in the country. It is not good enough to say we will do it some time later on. 13 million people. With all the money that is being spent in Washington, to demagogue on this issue, there is not one credible proposal from one Senator or one House Member anywhere that says how in the world you would try locate 13 million people and remove them from the country.
It is the worst demagoguery on anything imaginable. Nobody has a plan. It is a joke. Unfortunately, our national security requires us to get our act together. We still haven't funded what the 9/11 Commission said to fund. We passed an act in 2004 that said 2,000 Border Patrol agents, 800 immigration agents, 8,000 beds per year. The 9/11 Commission said targeting travel is at least as powerful a weapon against terrorists as targeting their money, and the Commission made recommendations. Even after the tragedy of September 11th highlighting the clear need for more border security, that figure up there of 411 border agents per year is a disgrace. It is an absolute disgrace, and yet we are having hearings and demagoguing across the country.
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Mr. DELAHUNT. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MEEHAN. I would be glad to yield.
Mr. DELAHUNT. In terms of border personnel, immigration agents, detention centers, with all due respect to the gentleman from New Hampshire, what we really need and we have heard this term before is more boots on the ground. How about that? More boots on the ground. And really, let's try enforcement rather than coming up, giving speeches indulging in some rhetoric and then not delivering when it comes time to deliver with the resources.
Mr. MEEHAN. Reclaiming my time. The other thing is this idea that Washington speak, the Senate didn't file the right thing, so we didn't approve it. My friend from Massachusetts said that the President has already called President Fox and said, you know what, the Congress is going to do nothing on this. Nothing. Another year without border security. I ask unanimous consent for 30 seconds.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. [Presiding.] Without objection.
Mr. MEEHAN. Another year letting things go, another year without providing technology to our borders and another year of 13 million people in the country. Nobody knows where they are. But know what, what a great election issue. What a great election issue. The problem is, when one party controls the House, the Senate and the White House, the gig is up. The American people know that one party controls everything. There are some distinguished Senators, Republican Senators, 22 or 23 of them, that supported the Senate bill. Let's get to work on that. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. The gentleman's time has expired. The Chair has left myself, the gentleman from Indiana, in charge of the gavel. I will yield myself 5 minutes for purpose of questions.
I am reminded of the account of the minister who was giving a sermon and has questions about his own subject matter when in the margin of his sermon it says: Pound pulpit hard, argument weak here. I am hearing a lot of that today.
Mr. Meehan has suggested that we need documentation for these individuals that are here. Let me ask you, Mr. Gadiel, you are very familiar with the 9/11 Commission's report with regard to the three of the 9/11 hijackers that were in the country illegally as result of their visas lapsing, are you not?
Mr. GADIEL. Yes.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. So with all of the documentation that is being suggested by the Senate and by Mr. Meehan and by others, how would that have solved the situation that led to the death of your son?
Mr. GADIEL. Mohammad Atta was well documented, and yet he managed to pull off 9/11, as well as all the others. All but one had U.S. identification. I would like to add something. I am no friend of President Bush. He failed us miserably on this, absolutely miserably. But when it comes to the 9/11 implementation act, I would remind Members of this Committee that it was Democrats like Mr. Lieberman as well as Republicans like Mr. McCain who were determined to prevent any document security measures from being included in the 9/11 implementation act as well as the border security measures. This is a bipartisan problem, and certainly the President has failed us miserably and failed us continuously and refuses to enforce the law, but the record of Mr. Clinton before, although it is far better than Mr. Bush's in terms of the need, is minuscule as well.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. Dr. Camarota, the question today is with regard to busing 13 million illegal aliens back. The simple fact is, if we would enforce, especially the employer sanctions provision of the immigration act put in place in 1986, wouldn't there be a significant amount of attrition and hasn't there been a particular study by the Center for Immigration Services that may suggest that there may be excess of a million individuals who would actually self deport as a result of not being able to maintain employment in the United States?
Mr. CAMAROTA. Let me run through the numbers briefly because I, the Pew, Hispanic, Urban, we all generally agree, 900,000 new illegal aliens come in each year. Some people die. A large number go home. Some get deported, and some get legal status each year. So the illegal population is thought to grow by half a million. The secret here is to avoid this canard that either we have to legalize all the illegal aliens or we have to deport them all by a week from next Tuesday. The bottom line is it took us decades to get into this problem. The policy of attrition through enforcement, cutting them off from jobs, public benefits, driver's licenses, no in-State tuition, get the cooperation of local law enforcement. Stop IRS and Social Security from knowingly accepting bogus Social Security numbers. Stop the Treasury Department from knowingly issuing regulations that allow illegal aliens to open bank accounts.
All of these things, coupled with great border enforcement, a better job in consulates overseas, the goal is to increase the roughly 150,000 that go home early each year, the self deportations. We think we can quadruple or triple that number easily and hopefully get it up bigger so that we are in a situation each year that the population falls by half a million or a million a year rather than a situation where it grows by a million a year. If you are saying that we have to solve it a week from next Tuesday, there is no solution.
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The other thing is the bureaucratic capacity doesn't exist to legalize all these folks. That's one of the dirty little secrets. The Senate bill calls for everybody to come forward and be processed within 18 months. Nobody who studies immigration thinks that is possible. The only way to do that is to rubber stamp the applications which defeats the idea that we know who those folks are. It takes time to know who these folks are. The Senate bill doesn't do that.
If you started enforcing the law, it doesn't require us to do anything right away. It's what we have on hand and then we keep adding to it, and over time, we fix the problem through attrition and through enforcement. Self-deportation is the key. Though we obviously are going to having to deport more people as well.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Renzullo, as you understand the legislative process, if one body such as the House believes in enforcement and the Senate suggests that they are in favor of strong enforcement but want an amnesty program, isn't it reasonable for the two bodies to come together and pass legislation on the parts of the proposed legislation that we agree on?
Mr. RENZULLO. Absolutely.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. So if we did come together, if the technical and constitutional hurdles were overcome, it would not be unreasonable for the two bodies to come together and fashion an enforcement-only bill as a result of the compromise that is part of the legislative process?
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RENZULLO. Absolutely.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. [Presiding.] The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I yield to my colleague.
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Gadiel, no one is suggesting that you would agree with the President's record on immigration. We all agree he has done a terrible job. The problem is that the Republican Congress rubber stamps his budget every year when it comes before the Congress. No increases that we should have in Border Patrol agents, we don't have the increase we should have in immigration agents, and we don't have the increase we should have in detention beds. The problem is rubber stamping this President is letting him get away with whatever he wants to do. I yield to the gentleman.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I think that was the statement. But if the gentleman wishes to respond, and I speak to Mr. Gadiel, you know, I read your testimony. I found it particularly moving when you referenced, I think it was your father, maybe it was your grandfather, who came to this country. And I think the words were, the FBI just about took out his fillings to examine him. And that really struck a note with me because of what my friend just said about the need for oversight by Congress to ensure that the resources are there and that the laws are being implemented.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All of the sudden, we are just discovering that there is a problem. This is 6 years into the Administration. And beyond that, the Republicans have had control of the House since 1994. And guess what? They discover it in an election year, and we're having a hearing in New Hampshire.
I mean, please ask yourself why. My colleague from Florida referenced the fact there has been amendment after amendment that would provide funding and support for more boots on the ground, people to go out and enforce the border, immigration agents, increased beds in detention centers. And you know what? They will say one thing in New Hampshire, but when they go down to Washington, they vote against the funding. Well, enough said.
But getting back to my issue about the FBI, we don't know what the FBI is doing. This Committee, ably led by this Chairman, who is not bad on oversight. Okay? Not bad. A B-plus. You know
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. DELAHUNT. No.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. At least I passed.
Mr. DELAHUNT. How many times do you think we have had the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in front of this Committee to tell us what they are doing about terrorism?
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GADIEL. I have no use for Mr. Mueller. When a group of family members met with the man talking about 9/11
Mr. DELAHUNT. How many times, Mr. Gadiel, do you think that the FBI has come in before into the Judiciary Committee where we have jurisdiction to respond to the concerns that you have expressed today to us?
Mr. GADIEL. I'm sure it is a lot. I am sure it is many times.
Mr. DELAHUNT. How about zero. That is what we're dealing with. That is what we're dealing with. We don't have that kind of consultation and collaboration. And like I said, we are fortunate; most chairmen are not as strong as our Chairman. So what we have is a Congress that sits there like a bobblehead and lets this crowd get away with that.
Talk about employer sanctions. Three last year. Three in 2004. I mean, Clinton had his problems, but he certainly did one heck of a better job in terms of enforcement.
You have got to have enforcement. If you don't have enforcementbut you have to pay for it, Mr. Renzullo. I bet that you, from what I listened to, would have voted for all the authorized Border Patrol agents, immigration agents and detention centers. You wouldn't have said something here that was different when you went down to Washington and voted a different way.
Since I'm handing out compliments, one for you, too, Mr. Camarota, you know, I read your testimony, and I was surprised that you acknowledged that actually it is a net plus in terms of illegals paying into the Social Security Trust Fund and the Medicare Trust Fund. So let's remember, before we get too quick, that those illegal immigrants are paying in and kind of helping us with that Social Security problem that we are not fixing.
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Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentlewoman from Florida, Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just want to illuminate the panel and the people assembled as to the other differences and stark contrast between the support for border enforcement and border security under Democrats versus the support for border enforcement and security under Republicans.
The number of apprehensions at the border has declined by 31 percent under President Bush. From 1996 to 2000, there were 1.52 million apprehensions at the border. From 2001 to 2004, there were 1.05 million apprehensions. The number of apprehensions inside the country has declined 36 percent under President Bush. From 1996 to 2000, there were 40,193 internal apprehensions. From 2001 to 2004, there were 25,901. Cutting personnel, the Bush administration has cut personnel for worksite enforcement by 63 percent. This is worksite, on-the-job enforcement. You know, the I-9 forms that employees, all employees, have to fill out and ensure that they are supposed to be in the country and legally here. We are talking about the number of agents assigned to worksite immigration enforcement. In 1999, there were 240. In 2003, there were 90.
Number of worksite enforcement fines, we have already gone over. The number of worksite immigration enforcement arrests have fallen drastically under President Bush: 2,849 in 1999; 445 in 2003.
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Number of immigration fraud cases, we have already gone over that.
So what is unbelievable to us is that there are hearings all across this country in which our Republican colleaguesand I agree with Mr. Delahunt that our Chairman, compared to most of the Republican Committee Chairmen, has been vigilant about bringing or attempting to bring the Administration's officials in front of us and asking them questions to one degree of success or another. But why are we on the road talking about this instead of being in the Conference Committee?
The only way we are going to resolve thisI think it was Mr. Camarota that talked about the 18 months that is a provision in the Senate bill that is described as an automatic path to citizenship. There is no one that would define the Senate bill as an automatic path to citizenship. But if you differ with thatI apologize if I am pronouncing your name wrong.
Mr. CAMAROTA. Camarota.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Camarota, if you differ with that, isn't that what the Conference Committee is for? Are we going to get those differences between the House bill and the Senate bill hammered out here? That is not the way the bill becomes a law process works.
So wouldn't you think that we belong in Washington or at least our conferees belong in Washington? And, Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, the people in this room, they don't understand the Senate has not sent us a message, and we haven't received a message. They just want us to get down, roll our sleeves up and get the work done. That is how we're going to get a law that is truly going to make sure that we crack down on illegal immigrants, that we make sure that they are not streaming across the border, that we make sure that employers are not thumbing their nose at the law, and that we make sure that we don't ignore the fact that there are 12 million people here who are not going to just deport themselves once we pass a border-security-only law that makes them all felons. It is just unrealistic.
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Mr. Camarota, if you would like to respond to that, don't you think we belong in conference rather than just being on the road talking to the world?
Mr. CAMAROTA. I have to leave that questions to the other Members. I am not an expert.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. I am not surprised. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. The Chair will yield himself 5 minutes for the last word. I have served on the Judiciary Committee ever since I was first elected to Congress in 1978, and the issue of how to deal with immigration is complicated. It is emotional. It is vexing. And there are never any easy solutions to it. And I think my colleagues to my left are kind of expressing the political aspects of the frustration that we have not dealt with this issue. That's why I drafted the legislation that the House passed in December.
Now, we have heard a lot of complaints from people on both sides of the aisle that there has not been enforcement of existing laws. And I would be willing to stipulate that presidents, both Democratic and Republican, and congresses, both under Democratic control and Republican control, have really let this issue slip.
But the point that I think is evident is that unless we handle the enforcement questions first, any bill, whether it is the Senate bill or somebody else's bill, that does not address effective enforcement is going to fail. And if in the decades ahead there are figures like these, which are accurate and which I did give to President Bush over 2 months ago, pointing out the problem that we have, the market is always going to end up having illegal immigrants come across the border because it is cheaper for the employers to hire them than other people.
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So really what we have to do, whether it is in terms of an enforcement-only approach and deal with the issue of what to do about the 12 million who are here illegally some time in the future, or have some kind of a phased in and trigger approach, is that we have got to get our act together as a country in terms of enforcing it is law.
Now, what this means is enforcing the law at the border. It means enforcing the law against employers. It means giving law enforcement officials, particularly those in the 29 border counties and four States on the southwest border, additional tools, which my bill does and the Senate bill doesn't, to get more boots on the ground and better equipment and better training of the local law enforcement officers so that they can supplement the Border Patrol.
Now, this is more than a human problem and an economic migration problem. It has become a drug control problem, and it has become a national security and terrorism problem. For example, many of the criminal alien smugglers across the southwest border who are called coyotes have become full service criminal enterprises where they are requiring their customers to carry backpacks of drugs across the border; 85 percent of the illegal drugs sold on the streets of Chicago by gangs were smuggled across the southwest border, and 80 percent of the meth that is consumed in the United States comes across the southwest border as well.
It is also a terrorism problem, and when we had our hearings in San Diego, there was testimony to the effect that, in just that small sector of the Border Patrol, there were 47 ''persons of interest,'' who were people who were on terrorist watch lists or came from Middle Eastern countries far removed from Mexico and Central America who were caught by the Border Patrol. And that was in just 1 year and just in one segment of the southwestern border.
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And we have also got a northern border problem as well, because there are a number of cells of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that are operating in Canadian cities that are less than a 2-hour drive from the United States border.
So I don't make any apologies in bringing this issue on to the national agenda, because it is something that had to be dealt with. I have been called a whole lot of names. I come from the State that elected Joe McCarthy to the U.S. Senate twice and some of those names, it makes McCarthyism kind of look like a speech at a holy name society.
Be that as it may be, we were elected to make tough decisions, and this Chairman is making tough decisions. I want to get another bill passed. I don't know if procedurally we can get another Conference Committee for the reasons that have been described, but it is going to be a bill that, if it is done on my watch, that is going to be effective and not be the fiasco that we had 20 years ago with the Simpson-Mazzoli bill.
So I would like to thank my colleagues for coming. I would like to thank all of you for coming today to hear this testimony. And I would like to also thankI don't think they call it the great and general court up here north of the border as they do in Massachusetts, but whatever the New Hampshire legislature is called, it is nice to add just a little more history to this very historic chamber.
What purpose does the gentleman from Massachusetts seek recognition?
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consentI bumped into Claire Ebel, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, she had some testimony, and I ask that we submit it for the record.
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[The information referred to was not available at the time this hearing was printed.]
Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Without objection, it will be submitted. There being no further business to come before this Committee, without objection, the Committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:50 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE CHARLES F. BASS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, WITH ATTACHMENT
I like to take a moment and welcome Chairman Sensenbrenner and the other members of the House Judiciary Committee to the Granite State. I thank you for your invitation to attend this field hearing on immigration reform and giving me the opportunity to participate. I am pleased to see on the panel of witnesses todayRepresentative Andrew Renzullowho has been taking an active role here in Concord on how the State should deal with its illegal immigration problem.
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In light of the fact that illegal immigration is a more prominent problem in the southern states, I am pleased that the Members of the House Judiciary Committee recognize that any decision made in Congress will have far-reaching ramifications throughout the nation. The estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. can be founded in all fifty states and decisions made by myself and my colleagues will fiscally impact our citizens. Therefore, I am grateful for this hearing today and how any reform will affect my constituents.
Immigrants have been settling here in our state since 1623 and continued to come in large numbers through the 1800s. Many of them came to work in our granite quarries. Even though the number of immigrants to New Hampshire has decreased since the early 1900s, the 2000 U.S. Census showed that over 54,000 citizens of New Hampshire were foreign-born. Even though the majority of immigrants in NH are law-abiding legal citizens, there is a growing illegal population working and living in our communities
Some studies have estimated that between 10,000 to 30,000 illegals are currently living in the Granite State.(see footnote 9) Just this last spring, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picked up 14 individuals illegals in New Hampshire as part of Operation Return to Sender. During 2005 Operation Flash, 15 of the 189 fugitive immigrants deported back to their native countries were also located living in New Hampshire. In both operations, many of these individuals had criminal records.(see footnote 10)
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New Ipswich Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain and Hudson Police Chief Richard Gendron brought national attention to their departments' difficulties in the lack of authority and resources in detaining illegal aliens that their officers encounter during their routine duties. Out of frustration with ICE's response to their repeated requests, both gentleman used the resources available to them and charged several individuals illegally present in the United States with criminal trespassing under state law. Even though the cases were dismissed by a New Hampshire district court, it highlighted the difficulty law enforcement faces regarding illegal immigration in their communities. Our local, county, and state law enforcement officers serve on the frontlines of the illegal immigration battlefielddealing with many illegal aliens that they encounter during their routine duties, but no ability to detain these individuals for deportation proceedingsoften being told by the federal agencies to release the individuals.
I have worked on various efforts to urge the Administration and my fellow colleagues to address enforcement issues. Last year, I led an effort to urge the President to end ''catch-and-release'' practices beyond just that in border statesbut throughout the country.(see footnote 11) Additionally, I have supported legislative measures, such as H.R. 4437 and the CLEAR Act, which would ensure that state, county, and local law enforcement have the authority, resources, and training to work with federal agencies in detaining illegal aliens they encounter during their routine duties. It is important to note that 17% of the incarcerated population in our federal prisons are criminal aliens and after serving their time are not always deported, but remain in this country to commit additional crimes.(see footnote 12)
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFISCAL BURDEN
In deciding any course of action regarding comprehensive immigration, it is important to know the fiscal impact the decision will have on our citizenswhether through increase tax burden, draining of resources, or loss of jobs and wages. It has been estimated from earlier studies that illegal immigrants have a net cost on American taxpayer of $49.4 billion annually,(see footnote 13) which amounts to New Hampshire citizens paying $202,193,903 yearly in taxes for illegal immigrants.(see footnote 14) It is also roughly estimated that the State of New Hampshire spent close to $3.75 million on illegal alien students and U.S. born children of illegal aliens(see footnote 15) and hundred of thousands of dollars in medical costs through the New Hampshire Department of Health and Humans Services. Overall, the Federation of American Immigration Reform has calculated that the current local cost of illegal immigrants is $11 million annually going toward education, emergency medical services, and incarceration.(see footnote 16)
If the Senate bill was passed, it is estimated that the cost to county, state, and local governments would amount to $61.5 billion by 2010 and $106.3 billion in 2020.(see footnote 17) Specifically, New Hampshire would see the burden increasing to $19 million in 2010 and $34 million in 2020.(see footnote 18)
Additionally, it is predicted that if the Senate's guest-worker provision is passed that New Hampshire would see a rise in population to 1.85 million by 2050, with the increase attributed to 23,116 from receiving amnesty and an additional 24,427 individuals that were illegal aliens post-2004.(see footnote 19) These increases would have significant impact on the State's housing, school systems, infrastructure, and employment rates.
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Even though there would be increased tax revenue from illegal aliens paying taxes, it would not offset the total cost that these households would have on our federal, state, and local agencies. The average illegal alien household would pay $3,200 (77%) more a year in federal taxes once legalized. However, each household would have an average increase cost of $8,200 per household (118%)(see footnote 20) to our deficit. This added cost on our federal, state, and local services would be carried by our citizens.
REFORMING VISA PROGRAMS
I understand how the topic of illegal immigration is a difficult issuewe are not simply talking about numbers but people who have established lives here. This country needs to continue to be compassionate, but at the same time it must be remembered that those that would be assisted under the Senate ''amnesty'' immigration plan are individuals who violated our laws. There are millions of people who are either in the U.S. legally or currently trying to attempt to this country by following our laws that would be overlooked by this policy. Instead, the message that we would be sending them is that the U.S. cares more about assisting those who break our laws rather than those who have been patient with our system. By allowing those illegally here to have an expedited processwhile others in this country under other various visas such as H-1B and H-2B are barredis wrong and not the message this government should be sending.
Nevertheless, I do believe that any comprehensive immigration reform should also consider provisions that will reform our visa programs. The availability of foreign workers is crucial to many of American industries and businessincluding those in New Hampshire. New Hampshire's unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, well below the national rate of 4.8 percent, and often foreign workers mean the difference to Granite State businesses in being able to operate at full capacity.(see footnote 21) These low unemployment rates particularly impact our State's small seasonal businesses that often have difficultly in finding workers that are critical to their business' needs. Here in New Hampshire, tourism industry brings an approximately $9.6 billion into the state and is nearly 8% of the gross state products. More than 68,000 granite state jobs directly tied to tourism and also 84,000 jobs indirectly.(see footnote 22) Programs, like H-2B visa program, provide these and other seasonal industries crucial employees to fulfill their job commitments and be able to operate at full capacity during their short work season. The H-2B program has been shown to protect small businesses and American jobs, preserve competitive wages, while providing the needed avenue for foreign workers. That is why I have supported and led efforts in modifying legal visa programs. My bill, H.R. 4740, the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act is one of the bills that would take the right step forward in helping businesses while not hurting American workers.
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Additionally, it is important to look to the future and ensure that we have the necessary workers that will allow our economy to grow and prosper. One in every four scientist and engineers in the United States is foreign born. Half of graduate enrollments in American universities for engineering, math, and computer science are foreign students. I believe that our country must encourage increase enrollment of our young people, but at the same time we must ensure that our immigration policies do not create a brain drain on our country. Our visa programs must ensure that we keep the best and brightest here in America to bring cutting edge technology to our companies that will in turn create more U.S. jobs. A June 2004 study showed that U.S. businesses roughly lost $30 billion over two year period due to visa delays.(see footnote 23) Our country can not afford to outsource talented American-educated foreigners that will return to their home country and take with them important technical advances that will create new businesses.
In conclusion, I like to point out that by supporting the House comprehensive immigration bill that members are not ignoring or belittling the contributions of our nation's immigrants and the role they have played in building this country. Our country has been built on the hard work of immigrants who have come to this country for a better life and to embrace the ideals of our nation. The difference of opinion is how to deal with illegal aliens that have entered this country and placed the security and welfare of our nation in jeopardy. Additionally, illegal immigration has a significant negatively impacting our legal visa program. Once again, I thank Chairman Sensenbrenner for having this field hearing. Additionally, I would like to thank the witnesses and the citizens here in the audience that have taken the time out of their busy schedules to attend this hearing and have the concerns of New Hampshire heard in this national debate.
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LETTER TO THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE FROM THE HONORABLE JORDAN ULERY, NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE REPRESENTATIVE
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID LAMARRE-VINCENT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW HAMPSHIRE COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
The religious leaders of all faiths in this country have spoken eloquently regarding the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. The principles that this reform should be grounded upon has been enunciated by other speakers here today.
I would like to take my time to draw attention to the convictions the New Hampshire religious leadership.
One, the urgent need is for a reasoned consideration of overall U.S. immigration policies, not the use of immigration reform by partisan politics. This is an area that directly affects the lives of millions of individuals and their families here in the United States, both with and without documentation. It affects the lives of millions of other individuals and families who wish to participate in the freedoms and opportunities that we take for granted in the U.S. We know this through our direct experience with ethnic faith communities here in New Hampshire from all continents of the world. Therefore, we plead for both the House and Senate to set aside partisan politics and focus upon the comprehensive immigration reform opportunity that is before you at this very moment.
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Second, we urge Congress to avoid letting this civil discussion slide into a divisive and narrow diatribe. This is a time for Congress to demonstrate through their actions that public discussion and legislation resolution of immigration policy can be done in a civil manner with respect for all. This extends beyond avoidance of partisan politics but also steering clear of a descent into mean spirited focus upon individual groups of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, as though they, the victims of global economic transformation and regional national circumstances, are the problem to be solved.
A civil discourse must avoid ethnic stereotyping and a blame the victims focus. All sides in this public discourse should be invited to be heard with courtesy and respect that is their right as human beings. Only under these conditions can Congress lead the American people to a higher level of understanding and a resolution that fits the needs of all parties, the American economy, other world economies, workers and families. This is a rare opportunity for Congress to truly lead for the generation to come as we enter the 21st century.
Finally, this is an issue close to many in New Hampshire, who like myself, are second or third generation immigrants from French speaking Canada. As the largest ethnic minority in Northern New England, we have our own personal experiences of being strangers in a new land. We understand the challenges that immigration policy, language barriers, and economic status confronted our parents and grandparents. We bring who we are to this larger debate and urge that Congress seize upon this as an opportunity to lift up the highest values of human dignity and brotherhood of all.
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE RT. REV. DOUGLAS E. THEUNER, VIITH EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES OF NEW ENGLAND
Members of religious organizations in New Hampshire, as elsewhere in the United States, are aware of the enormous contribution made to our economic and social well being by undocumented aliens who work in our midst, and upon our behalf; particularly as migrant farm workers.
The religious community seeks for ALL persons, government support in providing the following basic human rights:
uniting families separated by economic and political factors not of their own making and providing opportunities for them to prosper in and for the larger community;
assuring ALL persons of the human and workforce rights;
ending marginalization of ALL people which force them into situations which exploit and abuse them;
providing access to citizenship to those responsible people who have helped this nation to prosper.
Millions of undocumented aliens in our midst are a reality generated by their needs and those of our economy. They are also a legal anomaly which must be regularized in a positive and constructive way.
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The healthcare, local educational and social service costs of the presence of undocumented aliens is far offset by the contribution they make to our economy. That's why they're here. That's why we accept them in our midst. It's time for Congress to act in a way that turns that acceptance into welcome, ensuring ALL people of the basic rights which we hold dear for ALL people.
(Footnote 1 return)
The National Research Council's 1997 report entitled, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. A summary of the report's findings can be found at www.cis.org/articles/1999/combinednrc.pdf
(Footnote 2 return)
See The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget, Steven Camarota. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscal.html
(Footnote 3 return)
These figures are based on analysis of birth records complied by the National Center for Health Statistics. See Births to Immigrations in America, 1970 to 2002, which can be found at www.cis.org/articles/2005/back805.html
(Footnote 4 return)
See footnote 2 for the source of this information and all information dealing with the fiscal costs of illegal immigration on the federal budget.
(Footnote 5 return)
Cash and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY2002-FY2004, Karen Spar, Coordinator. Congressional Research Service, March 27, 2006.
(Footnote 6 return)
See The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget, which can be found at www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscal.html I estimated that slightly less than 2 percent of federal expenditures on Medicaid went to persons in illegal households. The above estimate assumes that the same percentage holds true at the state and local level.
(Footnote 7 return)
The number of uninsured illegals and their children is based on my analysis of the March 2005 Current Population Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and is consistent with other research on topic.
(Footnote 8 return)
In a February 2003 study in Health Affairs, which can be found at http://www.healthaffairs.org, Hadley and Holahan estimated government expenditures for treating the uninsured in 2001. An updated study for the Kaiser Family Foundation, which can be found at http://www.kff.org, has estimates for 2004. Our estimated costs for treating illegals does account for the fact that illegals are not eligible to use all of the services provided to the uninsured by virtue of their legal status.
(Footnote 9 return)
Pew Hispanic Center. (April 26, 2006). Fact Sheet: Estimates of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for States based on the March 2005 CPS.
(Footnote 10 return)
Marchocki, Kathryn. (July 24, 2006). Mysteries surround NH's illegal aliens. Union Leader.
(Footnote 11 return)
December 9, 2005 Letter Addressed to President Bush with 28 U.S. House Members.
(Footnote 12 return)
Camarota, Steven A. (August 2004). The High Cost of Cheap Labor Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget. Center for Immigration Studies.
(Footnote 13 return)
Based on Data from: Huddle, Donald. (1997) The Net National Costs of Immigration: Fiscal Effects of Welfare Restorations to Legal Immigrants. Include in The Estimated Cost of Illegal Immigration from The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
(Footnote 14 return)
U.S. Census Population (2000). US = 299,482,393; NH = 1,235,786.
(Footnote 15 return)
Federation for American Immigration Reform. (June, 2005). Breaking the Piggy Bank: How Illegal Immigration is Sending Schools into the Red
(Footnote 16 return)
Federation for American Immigration Reform (April 11, 2006). The Costs to Local Taxpayers for Illegal or ''Guest'' Workers.
(Footnote 17 return)
Federation for American Immigration Reform (April 11, 2006). The Costs to Local Taxpayers for Illegal or ''Guest'' Workers.
(Footnote 18 return)
Federation for American Immigration Reform (April 11, 2006). The Costs to Local Taxpayers for Illegal or ''Guest'' Workers.
(Footnote 19 return)
Federation for American Immigration Reform. (March 2006). Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios.
(Footnote 20 return)
Camarota, Steven A. (August 2004). The High Cost of Cheap Labor Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget.
(Footnote 21 return)
New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. (August 11, 2006).
(Footnote 22 return)
New Hampshire Tourism Policy Coalition.
(Footnote 23 return)
Data from: June 2004 Study Commissioned by Santangelo Group.