Democrats Poised to Kill Immigration Reform in Senate - Poe Shows Republican Leadership in House
Once again, the Democrat Party is about to prove they are not at all interested in actually solving our nations immigration problem. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) admitted yesterday morning on Fox and Friends that the bill he and the "Gang of Eight" developed with bi-partisan support is about to die because the Democrats wont support the bill. Between opposition from unions and other minority groups and the Democrats desire to use immigration as a wedge issue rather than solving the problem, there simply are not enough votes in the Senate to overcome a cloture vote. Just as when the Democrats killed the DREAM Act in 2010, Hispanic voters have yet again been deceived by Democrats who continue to dangle the carrot of immigration reform while never intending to deliver on the promises.
In the meantime, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are showing bold leadership in developing real solutions to our immigration and border security issues that are based on market-driven conservative principles and which are designed to end the decades of lawlessness our lack of action has created. Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) spoke last Friday to the Houston Area Pastors Council about the coming legislation from Republicans in the House. Below you will find the video of his remarks and a transcript. We invite your comments and feedback at the bottom of this page.
In The Examiner, David Drucker reports this week about the lack of Democrat support for immigration reform. He reports the findings of a Democrat strategist who said, "Democrats who dont now support the bill include Sens. Max Baucus, of Montana; Joe Donnelly, of Indiana; and Mark Pryor, of Arkansas. Undecided Democrats include Sens. Mark Begich, of Alaska, and Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana, who, along with Pryor, face re-election in 2014."
The article continues stating, "A second Democratic strategist said proponents have a wary eye on Democrats who voted against the Dream Act - a much narrower measure that would have granted citizenship to some illegal immigrants - in 2010. Those lawmakers include Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who is up for re-election next year, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who skipped the Dream Act vote, is expected to oppose the immigration reform bill after fighting for another issue unpopular in his home state, gun control."
Rather than a large "comprehensive" reform bill, Congressman Poe, a former criminal district court judge, prefers a piecemeal approach that would identify specific areas that are broken and fix each of these by separate pieces of legislation. "There are several problems that need fixin’, as we say in Texas." Poe explained. "Not one, but several. I think there are about eight. And my hope and desire is that we identify each problem, and then solve each problem legislatively, and then bring that legislation to the House floor all on one day and vote for eight pieces of legislation."
Poe lists border protection as the first of these eight areas of concern. Many people believe that border security must be fixed first, before anything else can even be discussed. Even Poe admits that used to be his belief. He explained why he no longer supports this theory. Poe told the group, "One reason is we need to deal with border protection, but we have to deal with the other issue[s], let’s say temporary workers, because that will help fix the problem about border protection."
Poe went on to explain that by addressing the guest worker program, you remove that from things Border Patrol agents have to deal with and allow them to focus on national security threats like drug cartels and terrorists who may seek to cross our currently unsecured border. This enhances border security and makes our investment in manpower and equipment more effective. To enhance border security, Poe has long advocated re-deploying military equipment returning from overseas to our border sheriffs to enhance their border security operations.
One thing is certain, the House will not produce and pass a bill so we can find out later what is in the bill, Nancy Pelosi-style, so to speak. "Im on the Judiciary Committee," Poe said, "We will have all of these issues continued to be vetted out in our committees. What does that mean? Well, were bringing witnesses in to testify, and the more we learn, the better we can draft a legislation. When we have a legislation thats drafted, then you can debate it, amend it, subtract it, in both the committee process and then on the House floor, and at some time, I suspect really later this year, even the first of next year, to get the legislation."
Poe is an outstanding example of what Republican leadership looks like. He focuses on identifying the problem and then finds sensible solutions to fix these problems by applying conservative principles. Following his leadership and that of other conservatives who want to really solve the problem rather than continuing the de facto amnesty that exists today, Republicans will deliver on improving our nations border security and fixing our broken immigration system.
TRANSCRIPT OF REMARKS
Thank you very much, I appreciate this chance to come by to talk to y’all for a few minutes about some things that are important to all of us. Yes, I’m Ted Poe, I’m a member of Congress, have been for now, my 9th year, before that I served here in Houston as a prosecutor, then a judge, for a long time. And, I don’t think any of you look familiar to me, (maybe just yours?). But, thanks for inviting me by.
When you mention the word immigration, people have an instant opinion no matter who they are, they have an instant opinion. And, people have been talking about immigration reform since long before I ever went to Congress, and they’ve talked about it every year since I have been in Congress. And, as my grandfather said, “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” And not much has happened out of anything, except the system has gotten worse. It’s not gotten better. More laws have not helped across the board, it’s kind of broken in a lot of different places. So, to talk about immigration reform, or fixing the problem, there are several problems that need fixin’, as we say in Texas. Not one, but several. I think there are about eight. And my hope and desire is that we identify each problem, and then solve each problem legislatively, and then bring that legislation to the House floor all on one day and vote for eight pieces of legislation. Why all eight instead of one piece of legislation? You have several pieces of legislation brought up the same day, on the same subject, you’ll have members that will vote for some of them, and against the others, but the idea that most of them will be able to pass is more likely than one big bill, which is easy to vote against no matter what the bill is. That just, I want to mention it to you.
So I want to address the issues that are important to me, that I am personally working on. Let’s start with border protection. We have to redefine that issue about what that really means. I used to think that we had to solve, completely solve and fix the border, before we dealt with other issues. There are several reasons why I have changed my mind. One reason is we need to deal with border protection, but we have to deal with the other issue, let’s say temporary workers, because that will help fix the problem about border protection. Let me explain what I’m talking about in just a minute. So when we talk about border protection, here’s who I’m talking about. I really am not talking about the people who are coming in to the United States looking for work. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about primarily the drug cartels. When we protect out border, it’s a national security issue, and we have to protect our border form the criminal drug syndicate, the drug cartels.
Chicago has named, in January, they named their public enemy number one. Their last public enemy number one, the Chicago name, anybody know who what was? Al Capone. You may have heard of him. Al Capone. They have named a new one. Public enemy number one is El Chapo Guzman. Who’s he? He is the drug lord of the Sinaloa drug cartel. He doesn’t live in the United States. He lives somewhere in Mexico, or somewhere else. But they’ve named him public enemy number one because the public enemy number one in Chicago are those criminal drug cartels, like the Sinaloa drug cartel, that are bringing in, not just guns, I mean not just drugs, but a lot of other things as well. Side note, they’re now involved in human trafficking. Human trafficking is not bringing folks over here looking for work. Human trafficking is bringing young girls to the United States to sell them for sexual favors. And unfortunately, the greatest city in the world, Houston, Texas, is the hub of international trafficking into the United States. That means because of our location, because the drug cartels operate south of the border, they get young girls into Mexico from all over the world, they ship them into Houston, Texas and they farm them out, throughout the country. So that’s an issue of border security that we have to deal with.
So we separate the two. So, border protection. You know people talk about it’s safe, it’s not safe. You’ve heard both. What’s the truth? Well, it’s safer in some places and it’s worse in other places. I’ll take you down to the Texas-Mexico border, and I’ll show you safe places. And then I’ll take you to some places that are horrible, because every time we fix a spot, the drug cartels move somewhere else. They just do that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have all these problems about drug cartels. So, what we need to do, we need to do a lot more. One thing that we need to do, Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo and I are working on trying to get our equipment that we have used in Afghanistan and Iraq, that you paid for, it’s coming back to the United States. Let’s take it down to the border and let our border protectors use that to fight the drug cartels. As one Texas Ranger told me, the drug cartels outman us, outgun us, and out-finance us. But that’s who I’m talking about when I’m talking about border protection. So fix that problem.
And while we’re doing that, we have to deal with workers, and here’s why. We want to encourage… let me explain it this way. When you have border control, flying a helicopter over the border, they see a bunch of folks coming across the border, they don’t know who those people are. They could be the migrants coming here looking for work, or they could be the drug cartel folks bringing in drugs. We want them to be able to know that the people that they see sneaking across the border are the bad guys, the drug cartels, because we want the workers to go across bridges instead of across the brush. So we fix that issue as well. And that helps border protection. I hope I was clear on that. So that’s why I am focusing on immigrant guest workers. We need to fix, we need to work on that issue. It helps border protection. It then allows for our border control to actually deal with the people coming over here to do bad things like drugs and trafficking of children.
I used to believe, I did, I believed the philosophy that if there’s an American out of work, they’ll take any, they’ll take any job, so that they’re employed, especially those that are families. Well, that’s just not true. It’s not true. There a lot of reasons that they’re not true. They don’t take those jobs. Some of them. Why? They have other options, that’s why. I’ll give you an example. I’m on the Immigration Subcommittee, I’m Vice Chairman, we had a hearing. And we brought in employers to help us see what the real world is like, not what we would want it to be like. And this guy is a peach farmer in Georgia, and he needed two thousand peach-pickers. I know that’s not true, but, what you call it, but, they pick peaches, you get the point. And so he did what he was supposed to do under the law, he got, he tried to get Americans to apply first, he gave them the first chance, and he needed two thousand he had 496 Americans apply. He hired every one of them. Hired them all. Then he filled the rest with migrant workers. After the first couple of weeks, from 496 he was down to about sixty. And then by the end of the season he had three, that were working. Other options. That’s an issue that we have to deal with, because we want people, you know, in the United States, who are citizens, to work. But that’s an issue we have to deal with, but the real world is, this guy needed somebody to pick those peaches. You can’t just sit around. Those peaches kind of get old. So, you know, and that’s a constant problem among not just the agricultural community, but it’s in the roofing business, construction business, it’s in the restaurant business, it’s in several businesses that they need more help, because they can’t get Americans to take those jobs. Then on the other end, we have high-tech folks. Companies can’t get high-tech engineers and people who work with computers a lot. Some of you are those kind of people. Im not one of those guys who knows a lot about computers. Ive just learned to email. And youve got employers and theyre working with universities and theyre giving scholarships and all of that to American citizens or doing what they can, but the bottom line is they cant get enough people in the high tech industry. See that happens to deal with not just jobs, but the economy is affected when you cant get your peaches to market and you cant product made. That affects our economy, and so we have people coming over here on visas and stay awhile because we let them stay and then after 6 years, they go home to wherever they came from, and they compete against the United States. They dont want to go home. They want to stay here. Many of them dont want to be citizens, they just want to be permanent residents. They want to stay in the United States and work and pay taxes, but the system sends them back home, and they compete against us. We want the next google invention in the United States. We dont want it in some foreign country, especially if we educated them and for 6 years they worked here.
So, we need workers on both ends of the scale. Now, the issue has come up, well how many do we need. We need as many as we need. Thats how many we need. I dont know the number. I cant tell you the number. I think an arbitrary number that has been set by different special interest groups, thats an arbitrary number. Those numbers that they talk about in the Senate, they can be filled in the first month of a year. The numbers in the Senate bill arent sufficient because as soon as the first month or so is over, on both ends, were in the same system we are right now. We have the shadow economy going on. So I think it ought to be market-based driven. We need as many as we need. Sure, there has to be a cap somewhere. I dont know where that is, but the philosophy has to be market-based so that we get as many as we need on both levels. Those temporary guest workers who do the hard labor work and then those temporary guest workers or students and workers on the high end, we need that to be market-based. So thats what I believe in, and I think thats the system we have to move forward to deal with.
In the House, we havent come up with a solution. Theres been a working thats been going on, now really, about 4 years. They have not come up with a solution on some of the 7 or 8 different points. What I suspect will happen, and I hope does happen, Im on the Judiciary Committee, we will have all of these issues continued to be vetted out in our committees. What does that mean? Well, were bringing witnesses in to testify, and the more we learn, the better we can draft a legislation. When we have a legislation thats drafted, then you can debate it, amend it, subtract it, in both the committee process and then on the House floor, and at some time, I suspect really later this year, even the first of next year, to get the legislation. You know theres a been a rush since numerous years, but were not going to rush through it in the name of getting something done if something is wrong about the bills. Why several bills? Several bills have a better chance of being passed than one big, massive piece of legislation. I am one who thinks we should have a simple biometric card for all immigrants. The law already requires identification if youre an immigrant, but rather than having so many different systems have one system that works so when a person comes in the United States across the border, they slide and glide is what I call it. They slide into the United States like you do in Wal-Mart, and the photograph and biometrics tell us everything we need to know about that person, where theyre going to work, how long theyre going to be there, and if they get near their 6 months stay…There is interior enforcement as part of border protection to make sure that that person either re-ups their visa or that they go back home. We basically dont have interior enforcement in the United States. Some say 60% of the people who came to the United States legally never went home. There was no interior enforcement, and why would anybody go home? Especially if theyre in Texas, why would they leave? Really? Why would you leave? Its paradise. So we need interior enforcement. So uniform biometric card is a way that I think we could deal with that. And then we have an entry and exit system that works the same way whether theyre coming over here to visit or whether theyre coming over here to go to school or whether theyre coming over here to work, they all have the same type of system.
My office, we have an office on Post Oak, right across the street over there and we have one in Kingwood, and we deal on immigration issues more than we do any other issue, except maybe the military, trying to help people get in the United States legally. The system is just broken across the board. Weve had people come over here for, as the movie was the Greek Wedding concept. They were coming over here for a wedding. Mama couldnt get here from Athens. Wooo she was mad. And we had to help her…shes not a terrorist, she didnt want to come over here and overstay her visa, she wanted to go back to Athens. Just to get her into the United States was a complicated mess because that system needs fixing too. Whether youre a guest worker, whether youre a temporary resident, whether you want to come to the United States to go to a wedding, whether youre coming over here for a conference…You know weve had the horror stories here in Houston where weve had people from all over the world want to come to our medical center for a conference. They cant get in. They dont want to stay here, they want to go back to where they came from, but just that red tape, and Im not complaining about anybody on the border or ICE. Im not complaining about them. Theyre just following what the law requires. We just need to make it more simpler and more efficient. So temporary guest workers, workers on the high level or workers that need to solve that problem, what will that do, that will help solve the border security issue as well and meanwhile, lets deal with the real criminals who are the drug cartels and their endeavors. There are other issues, as you all know, and I would like yours suggestions on how we can fix all of these, so I will yield back my time and well go from there. Thank you very much for allowing me to come back.