Mr. Speaker, for the last few weeks I have been discussing the ongoing problem of illegal immigration into the United States; and have mentioned numerous ills of this lack of a policy and how it affects the United States and citizens here; how we are expending exorbitant amounts of money to fund the actions of illegals, and Americans pay for it.

Besides the cost of illegal immigration, the effect of our homeland security is detrimental to the safety of our country, and we need to have a plan and a plan that makes sense, has common sense, and that works.

Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson) as much time as he wishes to consume on this issue of immigration and one of the novel ideas he has come up with to help solve this problem.

Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I am proud to have the gentleman with me as coauthor of legislation we have filed with 44 other Members of the House to use the mechanisms the Founding Fathers left us in the Constitution to help defend this country against the threat of terrorists who the FBI Director has confirmed in sworn testimony that suspected terrorists and individuals from countries with known al Qaeda connections are entering the United States illegally, using false Hispanic identities, a subject the gentleman is talking about here today, to make sure we accurately identify people entering the U.S.

Federal law enforcement authorities have now confirmed what we have known, and that is these individuals are trying to sneak into the U.S., crossing our southern border, hiding among the tremendous wave of illegal immigration entering this country, and the Federal Government simply does not have the manpower or resources to protect our international borders.

In a very real sense, 9/11 deputized every American, but not every American can serve in our Armed Forces or join the FBI or the CIA and fight on the front in the war on terror. So the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) and I, and 45 other Members of Congress, have filed legislation invoking congressional power under the Constitution to authorize all eligible American citizens who have no criminal record, no history of mental illness to serve in a genuine militia force for the sole purpose of protecting our borders.

The Border Protection Corps would serve truly as a neighborhood watch border patrol. These individuals who would serve under the direct control of our State Governors in those border States along the border would be trained, equipped, and serve under the direction of the Governor in cooperation with local and State law enforcement authorities.

Mr. Speaker, I want to stress this. These individuals would indeed be trained, be lawful militia forces as the Constitution envisioned under the control of the Governor, working in cooperation with the Governor, State law enforcement, and the border patrol simply to protect our border and to prevent individuals from entering the United States illegally and to, when necessary, take those individuals into custody.

State and local authorities would then be eligible for Federal funding. A Governor that invokes this authority, taking command of these lawful militia forces, the Border Protection Corps, would have access to this Federal money, Homeland Security money, which would then flow to that State. There is $6.8 billion in unspent homeland security money that has been there for over 2 years, unspent for local responders. There is no more important local response, or first response, than protecting our borders.

So with this legislation that we have coauthored, if a Governor calls up, takes command of these forces, again, trains them, puts them under the control of local law enforcement, working with the border patrol, that $6.8 billion is then eligible to flow to pay for the cost of equipping, training, deploying these forces as well as building temporary housing, detention facilities, for these individuals until they would be turned over to Federal authorities. And those Federal authorities must then determine that they are not a violent criminal, a dangerous criminal, or a potential terrorist. If they are not, they will simply be returned to their country of origin from which they entered the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I would also point out that Nuevo Laredo is almost in a full-scale war with drug smugglers and human smugglers. The new police chief in Nuevo Laredo was shot dead his first day on the job. The border with Mexico right now is essentially wide open. We have a serious problem with criminals and potential terrorists entering the country and hiding among all the people coming into the U.S. looking for work.

We must protect our borders. We will never win the war on terror until we truly protect our borders; and this legislation, which we have coauthored with 44 other Members of the House, uses a mechanism the Constitution gives us so that honest, law-abiding American citizens who want to participate, who want to serve in a lawful, legitimate way to help protect our borders can do so. By volunteering to serve in the Border Protection Corps, they will be reimbursed for their time, their equipment, their training, their travel costs; but they will truly be volunteers.

By the way, any eligible U.S. citizen from any of the 50 States can serve in the Border Protection Corps. This is a national call-up under Congress' power to call up a militia. These individuals from any of the 50 States could come to Texas. The Governor of Texas is very interested in this program and interested in implementing it. We have had the Texas Rangers for many years, and it often took, as the expression was, ``One Ranger, one riot.''

We have in Texas a long, as does the country, a long honorable tradition of citizens volunteering to serve in militia forces. This bill, which we have filed, legitimizes that under the Constitution and allows American citizens to participate in a way that is lawful, legal, under the control of law enforcement authorities in a way to protect our borders and our kids from terrorists sneaking into the country and freeing America from one of the four freedoms that President Roosevelt talked about: freedom from fear.

Because until we protect our borders, we will never win the war on terror and never truly be free from fear. I thank the gentleman for the time and for his support on this important legislation, as well as his leadership in the effort to protect our borders.

Mr. POE. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I appreciate the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson), my fellow colleague, and his words on stemming the tide of the invasion, really, into the United States. Being from Texas, the gentleman knows very well the issues of border security and the problems it is causing and the fact that we have an open border policy basically in the southwest portions of the United States. So I thank the gentleman for his leadership on this and the approach to getting serious about protecting the United States borders north and south.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand that this Nation is a Nation of immigrants, and I certainly support legal immigration into the United States. We all take pride in our heritage, in who we are and where we came from. My ancestors on my mother's and dad's sides came from Scotland and Germany. And when we look around the Chamber on any given day, we see people from all over the world, their backgrounds from all over the world, ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Of course, our national motto, ``E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One,'' is what this Nation was built upon. And the many did not simply come from the mixing of cultures, but the commonly held belief they came here for a reason. They came here for freedom, they came here for liberty, and they came here, yes, for religious opportunity. But they came here also because of the rule of law.

In 1890, Ellis Island was elected the site for construction of a Federal immigration station for the Port of New York. This island was open for business on January 1 of the next year. The first person to go through Ellis Island was a 15-year-old girl, Annie Moore from Ireland, January 1, 1892. She was born in 1877 in a place called Cork, Ireland. Her parents, Matthew and Mary, had already emigrated legally to the United States, seeking to find a better life for their family.

They did not really know what to expect when they came to this America, so they left Annie and her two brothers back in Ireland. After 2 years, they established themselves and sent for their children. Annie and her brothers boarded the ship the Nevada in Queenstown, and 12 days later they arrived in New York Harbor. They were reunited with their parents at Ellis Island and they had moved, to all places, Texas. So the first Ellis Island immigrant moved to and lived in Texas.

That first day, around 700 immigrants were processed on that island, and they would be followed by almost 500,000 that very year. People who came here were screened, and some were made to return to their native lands because they did not meet certain requirements to be a legal immigrant. The peak of the years of immigration through Ellis Island were between 1892 and 1924. In 1954, Ellis Island officially closed.

Between those years, many famous people passed through the front doors of freedom to America: Albert Einstein, Bob Hope, F. Scott Fitzgerald, W. C. Fields, and Rudyard Kipling, just a few of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who came here. Those people were screened by immigrant officials to make sure they were healthy and that they could offer something to America rather than take something from America.

The people who came through Ellis Island were from all over the world. Germans, Irish, Chinese, Italians, Mexicans, Polish and Russians all passed through Ellis Island. All together, 12 million immigrants passed through the front doors of freedom during that era. One hundred million Americans today in our country, about a third, can trace their ancestry to the United States from a man, woman, or child who passed through Ellis Island.

Margaret Thatcher made the comment that no other Nation has so successfully combined people of other races and nations into a single culture, and she is right about that. The immigrants who flocked to Ellis Island and created the great melting pot that is America had one thing in common: they showed great respects for our Nation and its laws by emigrating legally. They all wanted to be Americans. They wanted to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and they understood that by coming here, and coming here legally, they would eventually get citizenship and become an American. They honored their own culture, but realized they had to understand this American culture in order to become a part of it.

Ronald Reagan made the comment many, many years ago about America being different than any other place in the world. He said that anybody can be an American, and people have come from all over the world to be Americans. But you can go to Italy and never be Italian; you can go to France, and you will never be French; and you can go to Germany, and you will never be German. But anybody can come to the United States and be an American. And he is right about that.

Today, Mr. Speaker, we see times have changed. People no longer seek immigration status into the United States on a legal basis. There is a free flow of people across our border, and we now have a Nation that is so increasingly tolerant of other people's views that we fail to make sure they understand ours. Some say that we are losing our identity as a Nation because we have open borders.

In order to stem this tide, we must make certain our Nation's borders are secure and that any immigration into this country is done the right way, the fair way, and in a legal way. Everybody wants to live in the United States, but everybody cannot live in the United States; so we have to have some rules. We have to have a policy, and we have to use common sense and make sure it is fair to all. If we allow anyone from anywhere to flood into our country, we will lose the traditions of our country and eventually destroy the American Dream for all people.

Open borders cause chaos in this country. The United States is not only being invaded by illegals but these individuals are colonizing our country, and American citizens are paying for it. Americans always pay, Mr. Speaker. The price of illegal immigration is a serious problem that is costing American taxpayers millions of dollars from the areas of social services to health care to education to law enforcement. The American taxpayer is forced by our government to fund illegal immigration because the government does not protect the borders.

It is estimated that between 11 million and 14 million people are living in the United States illegally. That number rises by as much as 500,000 a year. All of these people are living in our country illegally, and many are living off the United States and the people who are citizens here and the generosity of those individuals by receiving government benefits at the expense of American taxpayers.

Although it is the Federal Government's responsibility to control immigration, the lack of enforcement by the Federal Government causes citizens of the United States to pay the high costs associated with this lack of policy. Americans have to pay those costs in education, criminal justice, health care, and social services for those who are here illegally. It is reported that 20 percent of these costs that Americans pay are attributed to the illegal people that use the system that got here illegally in the first place.

A huge cost to citizens is providing health care. America is a compassionate country, and American doctors do not turn people away from health care. We have the best health care in the world. And, of course, these doctors and these hospitals do not turn away even illegal people here. A trip to the emergency room costs money, and many illegals do not have money to pay these fees. So somebody has to pay, and Americans pay. Americans always pay. And these illegals get access to free American health care, free health care to them but not to the rest of us.

Another problem is immigrants' use of hospital emergency rooms rather than preventive medical care. The utilization rate of hospitals and clinics by illegals is more than twice the rate of the overall United States population. About half of the illegal immigrant population in the United States has no insurance or it is provided to them at taxpayers' expense. In some hospitals, as much as two-thirds of their total operating costs are uncompensated care for people who are illegal in the United States.

In these instances, the Federal Government, which is really the American citizens, the taxpayer, pays the bill; and the illegal individual is essentially given free health care. Some hospitals in urban areas have been forced to shut down because it is impossible for them to absorb the cost of health care by people who are in the system but do not pay for that system.

We have a health care cost crisis in the United States; and part of the reason for it that no one wants to mention are those people who take from the system, but who do not pay for it. If we are going to treat illegals in our hospitals, we should send those hospital bills to the countries where they come from. Why should Americans pay? We always pay. Maybe we should send the bill to those countries, those presidents who encourage their citizens to come to this Nation, especially illegally.

Mr. Speaker, I see the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Hayworth) has joined me on the floor. Does the gentleman wish to make a comment?

Mr. HAYWORTH. Mr. Speaker, if my friend would yield briefly, I just wanted to return to the floor first of all to thank my colleague from Texas and to state what is obvious to his constituents. He brings a dedication and a passion to this Congress in his first term that has won him notice in many quarters, and he demonstrates by tackling this issue that he indeed is being responsive to his constituents.

If I might just elaborate in terms of the Fifth Congressional District of Arizona, like Texas, sharing a common border with Mexico, earlier this summer I sent to my constituents a questionnaire, how do we deal with the challenges of border security and illegal immigration? Mr. Speaker, I would inform this House that in little more than 3 weeks' time, my office received over 10,000 responses.

The frustration that grows from the policies and the challenges that the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) is outlining bespeaks not a universal, but a very convincing sentiment in my district where the respondents by an almost 9-1 margin said it is time to enforce existing law. I think we see across this country, whether in Arizona, Texas, or California, a need for this body to address the border security questions we continue to confront.

By almost a 9-to-1 margin, my constituents said enforcement first. By almost a 9-to-1 margin, they said the incredible costs that American taxpayers bear to essentially subsidize illegal behavior is intolerable. By a 9-to-1 margin, respondents said in this survey they understand full well that national security is synonymous with border security.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) for allowing me to share this time. I am pleased to be a cosponsor of the legislation offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Culberson), and I will continue to listen to my constituents on how we will deal with this vexing problem and how we employ enforcement first, not a euphemism saying we will have an amnesty and a guest worker program, and, yes, we will really get tough on the border. That would be the status quo, and that would be unacceptable, and that would tend to encourage the Mexican Government and others, as outlined by the illustrations behind the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe).

So let us have enforcement first and tie this to measurable, attainable goals as we protect our borders, as we protect our Nation in a post-9/11 world, as we are a Nation at war.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and appreciate his leadership on this issue because he truly is hearing from his constituents, and he is representing them in very capable fashion.

Mr. POE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Hayworth) for pointing out the situation in Arizona. The gentleman is exactly correct in what he says about enforcing the rule of law. Amnesty is a word that will bring the blood pressure up of my constituents in the Second Congressional District of Texas faster than any other trigger word, because we do not reward illegal behavior. I did not do so as a judge for 22 years. We first start by securing the border of the United States for several reasons, and we go from there. I appreciate the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Hayworth) making those comments.

Not only is health care cost a tremendous issue because of illegal immigration, we have the cost of education. Education happens to be the largest public cost associated with illegal immigration in the United States, and it is going to have long-term consequences.

The Supreme Court ruled back in 1982 that all people, all children in the United States are provided a free public school education. It is estimated there are more than 50,000 illegal students in the United States public schools; the Federation for Immigration Reform, total K-12 school expenditure for illegal immigrants cost the States $12 billion. So that means it is costing taxpayers $12 billion a year to educate those individuals.

The $3.9 billion spent annually educating children of illegal immigrants in Texas could cover the shortfall that the Texas Federation for Teachers has identified for school books and pension contributions. It could even increase the salaries of teachers. And Texas is undergoing a tremendous cost problem with education in our State, trying to make sure that we do it in a fair and equitable way, but part of the problem is taxpayers are having to fund education for those people who are illegally here in the United States.

It is not just a border issue. The State of Georgia spends about $26 million to teach bilingual education. This is not fair to Americans. The problem is not only in the public school systems. Nine States, including Texas, has started rewarding illegals by giving them instate tuitions when they decide to go to a public university.

Let me explain that. These people are illegally in the United States to begin with, but yet when they get accepted to a public university, they get to go to that public university, paying instate tuition. That is about 3,700 students in the State of Texas. That is unfair to American kids. A kid from Oklahoma, if they want to go to the University of Texas, they pay out-of-State tuition which is about three times the amount of instate tuition. So we discriminate against American citizens to the behest of people here illegally. And people who come to the United States legally to get an education from all over the world, and they do so in a legal manner, they pay out-of-State tuition. They pay the same out-of-State tuition as someone from Oklahoma would pay. But if you are here illegally, nine States allow those individuals to pay instate tuition.

This ought not to be. It defies common sense. These citizens or these individuals are illegally living in the United States, they are not legal residents to begin with, and they are not eligible to work in the United States after they get that education. So the United States is paying to educate these people who, upon graduation, cannot legally work here.

This defies logic. Not only that, admission spaces in public universities are limited. Legal residents are being denied entry due to the fact that illegals are taking up spaces. These spaces are being filled by other individuals, and yet Americans pay, Americans all pay.

Further, to show how extensive this problem is, many illegals receive State and Federal grants to attend a university. What that means is they are receiving moneys to go to these universities. These grants should go to American kids, American citizens. Many times parents in this country cannot afford to send their children to a college, to a university. They seek help. Well, some of this aid is going to people who are illegally in the United States. It defies common sense.

Going further, not only mentioning health care and education, there is the criminal justice system. When I was a judge in Houston, Texas, for over 22 years, it was estimated that 20 percent of the people I saw were illegally in the United States. While they are serving time in Texas penitentiaries, Texans were paying the price. We provide those individuals a defense attorney, a court system, a trial, and incarceration, all on the American taxpayers' dollar. Americans pay, Americans always pay.

Of course, there is another problem that illegal immigration poses, and it is not just the sanctity of the American dream, but to its safety as well. While I have the sympathy and respect for those who wish to come to the United States and pull themselves up, there is the fear that there are those who hide amongst those individuals who wish to exploit American ideals and American citizens. These are people we now call terrorists. Let me give an example.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year I was in Iraq. I was there for the day that Nation started its democracy. Contrary to what the skeptics and the cynics thought, that nation is on its way to a democracy. We know of the terrorists that come into that nation. Those terrorists are mainly not Iraqis. Those are individuals from all over the world, but they are not Iraqi citizens. They come to Iraq through their open borders of Syria and Iran.

Why are we so naive to think that terrorists will not come through our open borders of Canada and Mexico and do the same thing to us? It is easily conceivable for al Qaeda members to cross our borders and put our families at risk.

It is for this reason it is essential that we secure our border, because it is a national security issue. The whole world knows that America has no secure borders. We catch a few here, and we let most of them slip through. It is no secret that our enemies will continue to exploit our weakest points, and that is our borders. The tragedy of 9/11 has proven we are not as safe as we thought we were, and our immigration policy has to be corrected.

The hijackers took advantage of our flawed immigration policies. They had expired and counterfeit documents. Some were staying in cities and sanctuaries. We will never make our country completely safe without proper border enhancement.

Mr. Speaker, half of the people crossing our borders are from countries other than Mexico. They come from El Salvador, Brazil, Egypt, China, Russia, Poland and, yes, even France. They pose a challenge because deporting them is harder because their countries are further away. So here is what happens to those individuals that come to the United States illegally and are caught and are from some nation other than Mexico.

After arrested, they are taken to a Federal magistrate, and the Federal magistrate releases these individuals on their word that they will show up for their deportation hearing. Most do not show up. Why are we shocked about the fact that they do not return to court for their deportation hearing? This defies common sense to have a catch-and-release policy. Detention facilities are full, so they are ordered to be released on their word to return to court.

Mr. Speaker, this does not make any sense. This catch-and-release policy not only is costly, but does not work. And these individuals then carry around their summons to appear in court, and if they are stopped by some officer of the law, they show their summons, which is a pass. In other words, these individuals are released. They present and promote chaos in the United States.

Let me deal specifically with the nation of Mexico. Those coming from Mexico illegally are breaking our law. Individuals from Mexico can obtain, before they even get in the United States, fake green cards. They can go to a local Mexican flea market, and there is a growing number of individuals that will provide them counterfeit Social Security cards and a counterfeit driver's license. And the Mexican administration has even created a policy to help folks who want to come to the United States illegally.

I have a copy of this Guide for the Mexican Immigrant. I have some of the demonstrations of what is in this book for those individuals who come to the United States illegally. They can obtain this book through the administration of the Mexican Government, and it shows them what to do and what will occur if they enter the United States. Here is the cover, Guide for Coming to the United States as a Mexican Immigrant. Here on this panel I have some of the drawings that are in this book. It instructs individuals when to cross the United States border from Mexico. It also talks about the fact of what occurs when they are actually confronted by border security and what they can do about it. It talks about the issue of coyotes, those people who live and make money off the illegal importation of citizens into the United States. It talks about the appropriate time to cross into the United States. It talks about the fence over in California. It talks about the importance of crossing the river into the United States at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place at night so you cannot be seen.

This last panel here is very interesting. We see that this individual is listening to the radio. These are supposed to be Mexican illegals that have come to the United States, and actually gives them in this book a radio channel that they can listen to in Mexico to help them come across the border or what to do once they get into the United States. Some of their questions are answered from this radio station that is broadcast from Mexico.

So it does not make sense that we help fund this process of encouraging people to come to the United States in an illegal way. There is a guide provided for them if they wish to have that, and it helps those individuals assimilate into the United States.

So we have to have a policy, Mr. Speaker, regarding those individuals who come here and make sure that we enforce the rule of law, enforce the concept of securing our borders.

Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. POE. I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.

Mr. NORWOOD. I have been listening to the gentleman from Texas for the last half hour and the gentleman from Arizona, and it dawned on me that the good argument you are making is also an argument to be made for States like mine, Georgia. I know we are not a border State, but we have the same problems that you have because they do not all stay in Texas. A lot of them come up our way and they are just as illegal as they can be. I know you have been discussing different problems that occur by having anywhere from 12 to 15 million illegal aliens in our country; and I would like to just point out one, maybe two little things.

I have a bill known as the CLEAR Act. We have a lot of cosponsors on it. We are after one little thing about illegal immigration. We are after those that have been ordered to be deported, about 500,000. Out of those, there are about 100,000 that are violent criminals. We have 2,000 Federal agents trying to run these people down, which, as I know you know, means we are not doing anything. We are simply saying that local law enforcement that has the authority, we make it clear they do have the authority to help us out. And then we tell BICE, Do your job. We fund them, which is a great savings to the Nation because the cost of illegal aliens is simply unbelievable. The funds we spend trying to do something about it will absolutely save this country a lot of money.

I congratulate my colleague, a freshman from Texas. You are on the right issue. You are saying the right things. I hope when we get back in September finally, finally this Congress will listen, because I know what you are hearing at home and I am hearing the same thing. You and I are not the only Members of this body hearing that we have to do something about this because it involves our national security, not to speak of all the other problems.

The gentleman from Arizona is right. My bill will not solve a thing. No other bill will solve a thing until we do one thing first: we must secure the borders. Then we can talk about all the different ways we deal with the other problems, including my bill. We can talk about what to do about 15 million people in the country illegally. But none of that talk means anything, no bills mean anything, until we enforce the law as it is today and secure our borders.

Mr. POE. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for his comments and also the sponsorship of his CLEAR Act. It is clear to me that the CLEAR Act ought to be the law of the land and allow police officers to do their jobs. It is silly that police officers in many States, and unfortunately Texas is one of them, that if they come across an individual that is illegally in the United States, they cannot do anything about that individual. They cannot take them to the Federal authorities and let the Federal authorities deport those people. It defies common sense that they are not allowed to do that. They certainly should have the authority under the rule of law to enforce all of the laws, the violations of the laws that they have found out about.

What my colleague from Georgia mentioned about border security regarding the issue of amnesty and the issue of terrorism is very well taken. Of course, as I mentioned with our good friend from Arizona, amnesty is one of those words that in my area of the country people do not accept. They think that is a bad idea. We tried amnesty in this country. It did not work. Now there are those who want to try it again. We need to remember history, and history has shown that giving people a free ride that were here illegally has not solved any of our immigration policies.

We have a policy in the United States in many cities called safe havens, created by sanctuary laws. These laws basically prevent police from arresting individuals that they come across who are illegally in the United States for no other reason than they have crossed paths and that they find out that they are here illegally.

Not only that, these sanctuary laws and these sanctuary hideouts prevent and prohibit police officers from, and I quote the law that first started in Los Angeles, initiating any police action where the objective is to discover the alien status of the individual. It just seems to me, and common sense would dictate, that the police should know who is in the United States legally and illegally.

These cities obviously have not heard of the war on terror. This policy has created an absurdity by allowing these individuals who have come here illegally to basically have sanctuary hideouts and prevent the police from arresting them because they are here illegally.

To further demonstrate the problem with these sanctuary hideouts, and it is also detrimental to national security, we need to mention the violent MS-13 gang that has spread across the United States. MS-13 is a gang of criminals, drug dealers from Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, and some from Mexico. They live in our prisons, those that have been captured; but they also live outside the United States, and they live in the United States. They have gotten so out of control that prospective members must commit a violent act against a community, usually a community in the United States, to become a member of the MS-13 gang.

MS-13 and other gangs like this share two things in common: they are regularly arrested for committing crimes, they do time, they are deported and they come back to the United States. The second thing these gangs have in common is that once they are back in the United States, they are often ignored by the police because, even though the police know they are illegally here, they know that they cannot stop them for just being illegally in the United States. This occurs in many of our larger cities.

Of course, these gang members not only deal in drug trafficking but they have organized so well they know how to come into the United States. According to recent reports, MS-13 has made contacts with terrorist groups such as al Qaeda. Because these gangs are so adept at evading our border patrol and so knowledgeable about sanctuary laws, al Qaeda seeks them out as guides. When it comes down to it, we cannot afford to continue sanctuary hideouts in the United States. They give safe haven to gang members, and they destroy our streets and corrupt our neighborhoods. They even allow now our worst enemies to ally with those individuals who have come here illegally.

So we really have two terrorist groups in the United States. We have a domestic terrorist group, MS-13 and their likewise gang members who deal in drug trafficking, and we have an international terrorist group that we all know about. We must now have to deal with both of those.

Mr. Speaker, there are about 800,000 local law enforcement officials in the United States, and they take a pledge to protect and serve every day, the task of enforcing our laws and making our communities safe. They watch out for our country and our kids and our families in this great land. We must allow those State and local law enforcement authorities the authority to arrest people that are here illegally and deal with them through the Federal process. The police are on the front lines every day, and they should be allies with the Federal Government in assisting to protect and serve and protect the borders.

Mr. NORWOOD. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. POE. I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.

Mr. NORWOOD. In the gentleman's experience in the justice system, would you conclude that people who are in law enforcement do it for the love of it? They want to enforce the law. And those that are not today are being held back by politicians in some cities around the country that really will not even let them enforce the law. Do I have a misreading of that, or is that correct?

Mr. POE. The gentleman from Georgia is exactly correct. I know a lot of police officers. Some rookies, some have been around, some have retired. They do it for the reason that they want to help the community protect the neighborhoods and enforce the rule of law. They, too, are frustrated about these sanctuary laws throughout the United States that basically give them a hands-off policy in dealing with illegals. They want to work with the Federal authorities. Of course they know the consequences of enforcing the law. Some of them have been threatened with being terminated if they arrest people who have been illegally in the United States for no other purpose.

Mr. NORWOOD. If the gentleman will yield one more time, part of the problem of this is that groups like La Raza and others make it their business to try to sue cities, county commissions, law enforcement when they do enforce Federal law because the present law is just written in such a way that they can get away with some of that. Does that deter a city like Houston, Texas, from encouraging its law enforcement officials to help obey the law, help enforce the law, or is that why they are saying to their officials, Hey, don't help anything with this. We may get sued?

Mr. POE. I think part of the reason is exactly that. Cities and communities are afraid of those lawsuits and being tied up in court on enforcing the rule of law. How silly has this all become where cities cannot enforce the rule of law in the United States for fear of being sued by some other entity. As my colleague well knows, this needs to be cleared up so that these authorities can have the proper legal authority to arrest individuals that are here illegally and have them dealt with through Federal immigration policy. It is a very frustrating thing, and we see that occur. We hear police officers talk about that very problem on numerous occasions.

Let me mention, Mr. Speaker, a few more matters before I conclude here. This is a national security issue. It is an immigration issue. It is protecting the borders and making sure that we keep our borders safe for the Americans who live in the United States. As the gentleman from Georgia has pointed out, we only have about 2,000 officials in the whole United States that are actually seeking out people illegally in the United States once they cross the border.

One of the solutions maybe is to require a passport for people coming into the United States from Mexico and from Canada. Immigration officials have to look at hundreds of different types of documents to verify someone's legal status or who they are, their identity, before they come into the United States. Maybe we should reevaluate that policy. A passport policy would certainly not discriminate as we seem to do now on entry into the United States, and requiring individuals to have those passports to come and go from the United States would certainly help identify the true identity of these individuals.

So often people who come to the United States have

already obtained a false identification. I experienced even in my time at the courthouse that individuals were sometimes using one Social Security card and there were seven or eight people using the same Social Security card to work in the United States. That Social Security card to begin with was fraudulent and a forgery. Maybe the passport idea is something that we need to evaluate and something that we certainly need to do as soon as we can to ensure the quality and safety of our borders.

I have received, as all Members of Congress receive, numerous letters from constituents about many issues. The comments I receive the most have to do with immigration and safety of the United States and national security and homeland security. It all centers around the borders. I had a senior citizen who contacts my office on a regular basis who sent me this letter, and with this last letter I will close.

However, before doing so, I yield to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King).

Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman from Texas, and I appreciate the gentleman yielding. I have been watching the gentleman on C-SPAN from my office. I was compelled to come over here. I want to compliment you for your leadership and the fact that you are down here on a regular basis carrying this message that the American people need to hear. It needs to echo across all this land, the border States that are well represented in this presentation here today, but also throughout the heartland of America.

It is an intense issue. I know that the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Hayworth) talked about a 9 to 1 survey that they want tighter border controls in Arizona. Your statistics, I think, would be close to that. We put out a survey a year ago last March to 10,000 of my constituents in a random mailing that went into these households, Democrats and Republicans alike. It was all on immigration. The question that was the most significant was: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most intense, how intensely do you agree with this statement: We should reduce legal immigration and eliminate all illegal immigration. If you counted the 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s and 10s as being agreeing in intensity, 97 percent of my constituents said we want to have less legal and no more illegal immigration.

I wanted to tell you that we stand with you in Iowa, we stand with you in the Midwest, we stand together as American citizens. It is time to defend our borders and protect our sovereignty. If you do not have a border that you control, you cannot have a nation. It is the core of this country. Law and order and respect for the rule of law is an essential component of any nation. I sit on the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, and I am pledged to going forward on this same cause. I look forward to locking arms with you and dozens of Members of this Congress as we move forward into this national debate that is so long awaited on immigration.

Mr. POE. I thank my friend from Iowa. We hopefully will deal with this issue as a body in September, come up with a commonsense immigration policy and plan that works. But any plan that we come up with has to start with the basic premise that we have to secure the borders and make sure that people in other nations respect the rule of law in the United States. As you mentioned and alluded to, we have people that come here legally. The process of coming here legally is taking so long, it discourages legal immigration and encourages those people to go around the rule of law and come into the United States illegally. A commonsense immigration policy that is fair to Americans, puts America first, is something that we need to deal with.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to read a short letter from a senior citizen down in east Texas. There is that east Texas wit and common sense that sometimes we do not see throughout other portions of the United States. He starts out his letter: ``There is an iceberg in the national bathtub. Illegal immigration and our current government's nonresponse to it is jeopardizing our national security, our State's security and our local security. With these 25 million illegal immigrants comes a huge problem and even larger risks.

``We have more than likely allowed several terrorists and their weapons into the country. We all but rolled out the red carpet. The social welfare costs are damning. The disease and heightened risk from an epidemic increase every day. The threats to our law and order are real as crime rates attributable to certain gangs and the human smugglers is intolerable.

``The most telling tale of neglect and dereliction of duty is the Minute Men, having to do the job the Federal Government refuses to do. I am joining these individuals with my vote. No one will ever get my vote unless this cart and horse is turned around 180 degrees in the next election cycle. I am sick of excuses and political statements and rhetoric and all of these fake hands across the border. We have got to seal the borders, get control, and fix our immigration laws and the rule of law at this time.''

Mr. Speaker, the members of our community seem to get it. I do not know why the Federal Government does not seem to get it. Mr. Speaker, this ought not to be. We have to deal with this immigration issue as a body, set a plan, and enforce the law.