Madam Speaker, the great giveaway of American land has not occurred. The Amnesty International plan to grant legal permanent residents to 12 to 20 million illegal people from all over the world did not succeed in the Senate, and rightfully so.
The bill that the Senate tried to push off on the American public was too massive, too complicated, too long. It was almost longer than the Bible and had less to say.
Madam Speaker, the American people get it. They understand that the first problem that has to be solved is the border. Border security is the number one issue. The Federal Government, our government, the most powerful superpower that has ever existed, cannot protect the borders. Or is it that they don't protect the borders or refuse to protect the borders?
The American public want our borders secure before we start talking about immigration, whether it's legal or illegal. And that's what our Federal Government should do, simply follow the law that's already existing.
We have enough laws now to protect the border, but for some reason, the law does not get enforced by the executive department. We hear all kinds of reasons why it doesn't occur, but the bottom line is our borders are porous, on the northern border and on the southern border, and the first duty of government is to protect the people, and that means protect our borders and protect it first. When we solve that problem, then we can move on to the other issues.
And the second issue is not what to do with the people that are here illegally. We first close the gap, close the border, keep people from coming here illegally, but the next thing we have to deal with is the immigration service. It's in chaos, it's in turmoil, and this last week's example is a perfect example.
The passport service. Now, the law requires that all Americans traveling anywhere, including Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean islands, have passports. Congress passed that law 3 years ago. The Federal Government, the executive branch, had 3 years to get ready to make sure that Americans had those passports, and sure enough, 2007 came, Americans were following the law. They started applying for passports, and all of the sudden, there are lines all over the United States for people waiting for their passports. First it was 4 weeks; then it was 6 weeks. Now, it's 3 months to 5 months. The Federal Government cannot even process a simple passport for an American citizen, and it is a relatively simple process to deal with a passport.
And now, what has happened? The Federal Government says, well, since we can't follow the law, we'll suspend the law until we're able to get it together. Now, it's not the fault of those workers in the passport office. They're working as long as they can, as hard as they can, but those people that run the passport office, the Federal bureaucrats, never were organized enough to make sure that Americans, in a streamlined process, could get passports.
So now the law's not going to be followed until the passport service gets it together, and that's very unfortunate because the problem is we're going to use this same department, the immigration service, to so-called legally legalize the 12 to 20 million people in the amnesty bill, the so-called Z visas which are very complicated to understand, something that will take a lot longer to process than a passport. So the Z visas for 12 to 20 million illegals will take forever to process if we ever go to that service.
What I'm saying, Madam Speaker, is we deal with the border first. Second, we fix and streamline the immigration service so it doesn't discriminate against people who are coming to the United States legally, that we make it efficient for Americans to travel abroad. And once we fix that problem, then down the road we deal with the third issue, the issue of what to do with people that are here illegally.
Until we take it in that order, until Congress addresses those three respective acts with three bills, we will never solve the problem. And a massive, so-called immigration reform bill, the American public is suspect and skeptical of that plan because, frankly, I don't think the American public trusts the Federal Government to do the job of securing the border and reforming the immigration service.
But we know that the Federal Government does have the capability to grant amnesty to people that are here illegally. So, hopefully, Congress will do its job, get organized, pass three separate bills so that we have border security; that we have an efficient, workable immigration services; and then down the road, we deal with what to do with the people that are here illegally in the U.S.
The American public expect it. They have expected it for a long time, and it's time for us to get about the people's business and resolve these three problems as efficiently and quickly as we can.
And that's just the way it is.
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