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[Congressional Record: October 29, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S11329-S11331]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to make some points that need to be 
made at the end of the session.
  Here we are, running right up against election time, and we are being 
held hostage because the President of the United States wants to grant 
amnesty to up to 4 million illegal aliens, people who haven't played by 
the rules, haven't paid the price, who literally want to jump over 
those who have played by the rules and who belong here--this blanket 
amnesty all for the purpose of politics.
  In fact, I heard one of the leading Democrats say: Boy, Telemundo and 
all of the Hispanic newspapers are really playing this up.
  Well, that might be true in the Hispanic media, but I think Hispanic 
people in this country want fairness above everything else. I think 
they know what is going on here. They know darn well they are being 
played, and they are being played in a vicious way.
  I once again urge President Clinton not to veto the Commerce-Justice-
State appropriations bill the Senate passed on Friday.
  President Clinton has threatened a veto because we did not include 
his so-called Latino Fairness Act. But we have included something much 
better than his Latino Fairness Act: the Legal Immigration Family 
Equity Act, the LIFE Act.
  This act reunites families and restores due process to those who have 
played by the rules. Our proposal does not pit one nationality against 
another, nor does it pit one race against another. Our legislation 
provides relief to immigrants from all countries, not just special 
countries. A veto of CJS would be a blow against immigrant fairness. 
But a veto would do far more than that.
  A veto would cut off funding for some of our most important programs. 
The CJS appropriation allocates $4.8 billion for the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service and an additional $15.7 million for Border 
Patrol equipment upgrades. It provides $3.3 billion for the FBI and 
$221 million for training, equipment, and research and development 
programs to combat domestic terrorism. We are not playing around here. 
This is important stuff. I don't think it is right to be playing 
politics with the lives of immigrants at the end of the session just to 
obtain some cheap political advantage.
  There is $4.3 billion allocated for the Federal prison system in CJS. 
That is money we need to run the prison system and to treat people with 
due process. Then we have $1.3 billion for the Drug Enforcement 
Administration. This is critical to our fight against illegal drugs in 
this country. There is $288 million for the Violence Against Women Act. 
That is legislation that I have strongly supported and that provides 
assistance to battered women and children through a variety of 
different programs.
  Actions have consequences. If President Clinton vetoes this bill, he 
is putting the public safety and well-being at risk both at home and 
abroad, all in an effort to play wedge politics. The President's veto 
threats ring hollow because this appropriations bill provides many 
proposals to help immigrants. The President himself has stated he wants 
to ``keep families together and to make our immigration policies more 
  This is exactly what our LIFE Act that we have in the appropriations 
bill does. Had the White House proposed this during President Clinton's 
first 7 years in office, he might have been able to develop a mandate 
to grant amnesty to millions of undocumented aliens, aliens who have 
broken our laws. But no such mandate exists.
  The American people need to know that the INS, the FBI, and the 
Border Patrol are being brought to the brink of a shutdown because 
President Clinton wants Congress to grant amnesty for up to 4 million 
illegal aliens, people who haven't played by the rules.
  When we fought the H-1B legislation on the floor, many on the other 
side pointed out the difficulties of legal immigrant families. They 
pointed out that children needed to be reunited with their parents, 
that spouses needed to be reunited with their husbands and wives. I 
said I would try to do something about that.
  We realized there was a problem with the late amnesty class of 1982 
who qualified for residency under the 1986 Act. We said we would try to 
do something about that, and the LIFE Act does. The American people are 
a fair people. The LIFE Act will take care of 1 million people who 
either don't have due process or who need to be reunited with their 
families. It takes care of them first rather than granting amnesty to 
up to 4 million illegal people who haven't played by the rules, which 
is what the President wants to do. Fairness dictates that we not grant 
amnesty to millions of illegal aliens when there are 3.5 million people 
who have played by the rules waiting to come to the United States. The 
President should remember this inequitable proposal and reconsider what 
he wants to do here.
  Let me say a couple of other things. I have even let the White House 
know that to determine if there are further inequities we will hold 
hearings right after we come back at the first of the year, and we will 
find out what needs to be done to restructure INS, if necessary, to 
make sure they treat people with more respect. We will consider these 
people who President Clinton would like to help. But most of them are 
here illegally and without further information, we think they should 
not be jumped above or in front of these people who aren't here legally 
or who have been waiting in line to be reunited with their families.
  We brought both sides together in this LIFE Act and brought a variety 

[[Page S11330]]

different people into this. But there are some people who don't want 
any immigration to our country. They may live in States that are 
overrun with illegal immigrants; at least some of them do. Others don't 
seem to care about any rules, and I suspect the President is in that 
category. But we have brought these people together in the LIFE Act to 
resolve the problems that were mentioned during the H-1B debate. By 
gosh, I think it is time for the President to sign this bill and get 
about doing the Nation's business. He should quit playing wedge 
politics with these issues that are highly inflammable and about which 
he can blame people in illegitimate and wrongful ways.
  I have worked very hard, along with a number of others, to bring this 
about in a way that is equitable, fair, and takes care of those who 
first need to be taken care of, with promises to hold hearings to see 
if there are any others who need the help and fairness that we can 
grant. That is the best we can do this year. That is the best we can do 
at the end of this session. It is the best we can do in bringing people 
  I think we have done a good job getting it done, and I hope the 
President will go along with our proposal so we can continue funding 
the INS, the Border Patrol, the FBI, training and equipment research 
and development programs to combat domestic terrorism, the Federal 
prison system, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. We must enact 
the CJS Appropriations into law because it funds things that are 
absolutely critical to this country. Moreover, it makes it possible for 
1 million people to get permanent residency, people who have been 
waiting in line, have paid the price, and played by the rules.
  This is a front-page issue in the Hispanic media, but most Americans 
don't know what the President is trying to do because the mainstream 
media is not reporting this issue. The American people need to know 
what is going on here. I think it is a crass approach to play wedge 
politics at the end of this session, holding us hostage so we can't get 
home and campaign and do what we need to do. Right now, I would much 
rather be home in Utah than here in Washington. But as long as we have 
to be here, I am going to make these points to try to help all 
immigrants, including Hispanics to receive fair treatment by the INS 
and by our immigration policies.
  I am a cochairman of the Republican Senatorial Hispanic Task Force. I 
started it a number of years ago to make sure Hispanics are treated 
fairly and that Hispanic issues are given the attention they deserve. 
We have done an awful lot in this area, and I think the LIFE Act is a 
very good piece of legislation that will take us far down the road. 
Additionally, we have made a promise to hold hearings next year to see 
if there are any other inequities that need to be remedied. We will be 
glad to do that.
  We have 535 Members of Congress and a wide variety of viewpoints. I 
think we have brought them together in a way that will work and solve 
some of these problems.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois is recognized.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I wonder if the Senator from Utah would 
stay on the floor for a moment. It is my understanding that, as 
chairman of the Senate Committee, the Senator from Utah has 
jurisdiction over immigration issues. I am trying to recall. In the 
last 2 years, the only major immigration bill that I can recall was the 
H-1B visa bill that we considered. Is my memory accurate on that?
  Mr. HATCH. I don't think it is. We have held a number of hearings. 
The Subcommittee on Immigration holds hearings, which is chaired by 
Senator Abraham and the ranking member, Senator Kennedy. We have been 
trying to do an agricultural bill, H-1B, H-1A. There are a whole raft 
of things we have been trying to do. We have also worked consistently 
on the committee with the INS, the administration, and the Justice 
Department to resolve problems. I work on them all the time.
  Mr. DURBIN. Was there a bill brought to the floor from the 
Subcommittee on Immigration that dealt with the larger issues that the 
Senator is now addressing other than H-1B during the last 2 years?
  Mr. HATCH. The visa waiver bill was brought to the floor. As I 
understands, we have had 8 years of this administration and they 
haven't brought anything to the floor either, nor have they asked us to 
do anything here.
  Mr. DURBIN. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, Senator Kennedy, and I have 
each introduced bills relative to the three elements the administration 
is urging and they have been pending for months now.
  Frankly, I understand the good faith of the Senator from Utah, but 
when we literally have hundreds of thousands of people across America 
whose fate is hanging in the balance here on a decision to be made by 
the Senate and we have not seen on the Senate floor--other than the H-
1B visa bill--frankly, some bills of smaller consequence, I think 
perhaps the Senator from Utah can understand the anxiety and concern of 
these families.
  I deal with these families all the time, and I am sure the Senator 
does, too. Two out of three of my constituent cases coming into the 
Chicago office deal with immigration. I hear these heartbreaking 
stories about families that are torn apart because of some of the laws 
we have passed, the failure of this Congress to respond to this. And I, 
frankly, have urged the President to take the position he has taken--
don't go home and leave these poor families out there, frankly, 
languishing because we failed to address three basic things. We failed 
to say we are going to give those refugees who have come to this 
country and have faced the same kind of political persecution as 
refugees from Nicaragua and Cuba--we believe they should receive equal 
and fair treatment. I don't think that is a radical idea. Secondly, 
245(i) says if you are going to get a chance to finally get your green 
card and become a naturalized citizen, go through the process, we think 
it is an unreasonable hardship to force you to go back to your country 
of origin and apply for a visa, which is an economic hardship and, in 
many cases, a danger that families should not go through.
  I can't imagine why that is a radical idea. The idea of updating the 
registry in this country that we have used to affect immigrants has 
been updated regularly since 1929. We are not bringing a radical notion 
to the Senate. In fact, we are following the tradition of Democratic 
and Republican administrations, and we have not had a bill come to the 
  We have hundreds of thousands of people whose lives hang in the 
balance. Frankly, I can understand the position of the President, and I 
agree with him. I am sorry we have not had hearings on this issue nor 
brought it to the floor; but to say that it is something we might look 
at next year is cold comfort to these people who, frankly, face the 
fear of being extradited or somehow removed from this country in a 
situation that could be a great hardship to their families.
  I say to the Senator from Utah, there is another side to the story. I 
deal with it every day in my Chicago office and all across Illinois.
  Mr. HATCH. If the Senator will allow me to respond, yes, there is 
another side of the story. I work on it all the time. A high percentage 
of people who come to my office have immigration problems. I work very 
hard to try to resolve them. But for 7\1/2\ years the administration 
has not raised this. We have had hearings on restructuring INS and 
straightening out some of the problems. But for 7\1/2\ years, the INS 
has fought against the 1982 people who we resolved in this bill called 
the LIFE Act that is in this bill.

  The Clinton administration INS has fought the 1982 class' efforts to 
get due process every year since I have been here. It is one of the 
things that I wanted resolved, we have resolved it with the LIFE Act.
  With regard to 245(i), I would like to do more, to be honest with 
you. But that is a minor problem compared to bringing in before them 
people who basically are illegal and who haven't played by the rules.
  Mr. DURBIN. May I ask the Senator----
  Mr. HATCH. If you would let me finish my thought.
  Mr. DURBIN. I want to ask you a question specifically on that point.
  Mr. HATCH. Here is the problem. This was never faced by the 
administration until the spring of last year.
  Mr. DURBIN. I have to say to the Senator that I sent a letter along 

[[Page S11331]]

Senator Kennedy and Senator Reid asking, I think almost a year ago, for 
this matter to be considered.
  Mr. HATCH. You may have done that. The administration has fought us 
on these issues, and frankly----
  Mr. DURBIN. The administration supports our position.
  Mr. HATCH. They do now and they didn't then. They support it now for 
crass political purposes.
  Let me say one other thing. The Senator has been on the Judiciary 
Committee. He knows these are hot-button issues, and hot-button issues 
are very difficult issues to handle. He knows I want to solve these 
problems. But he also knows that there is a wide disparity of belief in 
both bodies, and it is almost impossible to bring everybody together 
and solve every problem, just like that. We have done our best.
  Mr. DURBIN. We have not had a vote on this floor on this, have we?
  Mr. HATCH. We have on the LIFE Act. It is part of the bill.
  Mr. DURBIN. In terms of what we have proposed--the three bills we 
have proposed--I don't believe we have had a vote on the floor on them.
  Mr. HATCH. I don't think we have.
  Mr. DURBIN. There are a number of people who have criticized Congress 
because we can't act in a bipartisan fashion. Frankly, we don't get a 
chance to act, if we can't bring a bill to the floor--and if we can't 
have amendments and if we can't have debates and votes.
  Mr. HATCH. One reason why it is difficult to do so is because of the 
wide disparity of different beliefs, and if one House or the other 
won't let it come to the floor.
  Mr. DURBIN. If the only matters that we can consider are matter of 
consensus, what in the world has this Chamber turned into? Why are we 
afraid of debate and amendments?
  Mr. HATCH. That is not my point. In this climate, any single Senator 
can stop anything. In the House of Representatives, any block of 
Members can stop anything. These are hot-button issues, and I think it 
is pretty amazing what we have been able to get done.
  Mr. DURBIN. Let me reclaim my time.
  Mr. HATCH. Can I make one last comment with the indulgence of my 
  Mr. DURBIN. I am happy to yield.
  Mr. HATCH. President Clinton properly signed the 1996 immigration 
bill. But now weeks before election day he seeks to turn the 1996 act 
on its head.
  I, too, want to help constituents. But putting several million people 
who violated the immigration laws ahead of the line of the 3.5 million 
people who are legitimately waiting and have waited for years to come 
here legally, it seems to me, is wrong.
  Mr. DURBIN. I was happy to yield to the Senator from Utah.
  Mr. HATCH. Especially under these circumstances.
  Mr. DURBIN. But I certainly want to add a few things.
  Mr. HATCH. I yield the floor.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, this image is being created under this 
immigration act that we are talking about people who managed to sneak 
into the United States illegally and who have lived their lives in 
violation of the law and are now trying to sneak into citizenship. 
There are people like that, I am sure, but they are an extremely small 
  The vast majority of people we are concerned about are people such as 
Sarah. Sarah is a 19-year-old girl in southern California. She was born 
in Mexico and adopted at the age of 4. English is her primary language. 
She lives at home with her family. She is adored by her parents and her 
five older siblings. She is also an illegal immigrant. Why is she an 
illegal immigrant? It turns out that Sarah's parents made a crucial 
mistake at the time of adoption. They didn't apply for citizenship. The 
family wrongly assumed that she automatically became a citizen when 
they completed the formal adoption procedures in the California 
courtroom. No one told them they had to file separately for 
citizenship. It was only last year when they decided to take a trip to 
Mexico and asked for a passport that they realized Sarah is here 
  Is this someone who managed to sneak across the border and is living 
in violation of the law?
  There are thousands of Sarahs who are, frankly, looking for relief in 
Congress and who can make a contribution to the United States.
  But the fact that we have not brought a serious immigration bill--but 
for one H-1B visa bill--before Congress is the reason this President 
has put his foot down and said: Congress, don't go home until you 
address this problem.
  There are people such as Sarah across America who deserve fair 
treatment. Frankly, they have been ignored.
  I count the Senator from Utah as my friend. But I have to say that 
the Senate Judiciary Committee has not taken up this issue. They have 
ignored it. He identified the reason: It is controversial.
  When you talk about immigrants, there are a lot of people who say I 
know how to exploit that issue. Let me tell you something. I know that 
is the case in my home State of Illinois. But I happen to be the son of 
an immigrant. I am very proud of the fact that I serve in this Senate 
as the son of immigrants. And many of us in this country look to our 
parents and grandparents as immigrants with great pride.
  We should look at immigration fairly and honestly and in a legal way. 
You can't do it if you run away from a debate on immigration law the 
way we have in the Senate for the last two years.
  President Clinton, hold your ground. For those across America who are 
waiting for us to do the fair and right and equitable thing for 
immigrants, hold your ground. Insist that this Senate, before it goes 
home, and this Congress, before it leaves to go back to campaign, are 
fair to those across America who are looking to be treated equitably 
and justly under our immigration system.
  I am responding, of course, to what the Senator from Utah raised as 
an issue. It wasn't the reason I came to the floor, but I feel 
passionately about it.
  Senator Kennedy, Senator Reid, and myself are the three major 
sponsors of the measure on which President Clinton is insisting. They 
can add, I am sure, during the course of this debate their strong 
feelings as well.