(Mr. GALLEGLY asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, the recent World Trade Center bombing and the tragic shootings outside the CIA demonstrate clearly that our borders are a revolving door for international terrorists--and that something needs to be done now to shut it. Our Nation faces the possibility of being held hostage to future acts of terrorism unless something drastic is done soon to tighten our Nation's immigration laws and stop illegal immigration into this country.
Both these tragic events were triggered by a gaping hole in our immigration laws that permitted aliens to enter the United States on a temporary visa and then drop out of sight, with little chance of ever being apprehended.
American Embassy officials interview foreigners applying for temporary visas, asking them why they want to come to the United States and what they intend to do here. Based on those interviews, they try to issue visas only to those who they believe will leave as promised. Incredibly, however, those records are destroyed after only 1 year. The INS issues an entry card to visa holders once they arrive here and they ask foreigners to supply an address where they can be reached, but the agency does not have the manpower to keep an eye on every foreigner who is here temporarily or to track down those who fail to depart on time.
In 1991 alone, some 19 million persons entered this country on these temporary visas. It is not the practice or policy of the U.S. Government to conduct surveillance on every alien who happens to visit this country. Nor should it be in an open democracy like ours. Yet the recent events show the risk facing our citizens if we do not do something to prevent acts of violence and terrorism committed by aliens who are here illegally. And the more that America remains involved in foreign trouble spots, the more likely the risk of harm to our own people.
The prime suspect in the World Trade Center bombing, which killed at least five persons and injured a thousand more, Mohammed Salameh, entered the United States in 1988 with a visitor's visa issued at the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan. The 20-year-old Palestinian, who has a Jordanian passport, claimed he wanted to study here for only 1 year, but he never returned to his homeland. Mir Aimal Kansi, the Pakistani sought in connection with the CIA shootings, entered this country in December 1990, with a visa issued at the American Embassy in Karachi. He said he was on business and would leave within 1 year, but instead he applied for asylum. Armed with his asylum application and a work permit, Kansi was able to obtain a driver's license and purchase the AK-47 assault rifle he allegedly used to kill three innocent persons, before fleeing back to Pakistan.
Mr. Speaker, we already know of the growing economic and social crisis that illegal immigration is bringing to southern California and the communities and governments of the border States.
The number of illegal aliens in America today is not known, but it is estimated that some 3 million can be found in southern California alone, and over 2 million aliens enter this country illegally every year.
The cost of the taxpayers nationwide to provide benefits and services for this illegal alien population is $5.4 billion annually, according to one study.
In Los Angeles County alone, providing for some 700,000 illegal immigrants costs county taxpayers $308.4 million, assuming that the aliens paid some $36.2 million in local taxes and fees for services they used.
According to an official study of Los Angeles County's criminal justice system, during a 12-month period, over 11 percent of the county jail population were deportable aliens--many of them repeat offenders who, once deported, return to the scene of the crime only to become involved once more in criminal activities. The bill for processing, trying, and incarcerating these criminal aliens came to over $75 million a year.
The INS is already overwhelmed. They can only apprehend one out of every three illegal aliens who try to enter our country, and certainly can't keep track of everyone who came here legally but then decided not to return home when their visas expired.
Mr. Speaker, I have offered several proposals to meet this problem. One bill, H.R. 1079, would require all immigrants who are legally in this country for any period of time and are eligible to work here to be issued a new counterfeit-proof card, in place of the green card and similar in format to the California driver's license, obtainable for a $75 user's fee, which they would have to present whenever they applied for a job or unemployment or any other Federal benefit or service. If they could not show this one card, they could not be hired or given benefits. And if they could not get employment or welfare, it is doubtful that an illegal alien would try to come to this country at all or would be able to stay here indefinitely. Another bill, H.R. 1080 would cut off all Federal unemployment and welfare benefits to illegal aliens. And finally, H.R. 1078, would provide the INS and Border Patrol with the additional manpower, training, and resources they need to carry out their job, so that they could round up aliens who have disappeared or outstayed their temporary visas.
Mr. Speaker, obviously these bills are not panaceas. But as recent incidents have shown, our borders are like sieves. For various reasons, aliens are entering this country illegally by the millions each year, and some of these people are here with criminal intent. The Congress must act now to prevent a recurrence of this kind of international terrorism committed by illegal aliens. We must change our immigration laws and commit ourselves to a strong program of defense against the illegal aliens who are invading our country--or risk future acts of terror and violence against our citizens.
My package of bills will give the Federal authorities the resources they need, and will make it harder for illegal aliens to find jobs or obtain welfare. I have been working for years now to regain control over our borders, and I hope these tragic incidents will finally persuade more of my colleagues to join me in this fight.