Providing for Further Consideration of H.R. 3773, Restore Act of 2007

Date: Nov. 15, 2007
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida. I thank my friend for yielding.

When we see significant changes in law included in the rule as we see this morning, in other words, self-executed in the rule, it's important that these questions be asked during the debate on the rule, because after this rule is passed, changes in the law will already have been made. The changes in the law are included in the rule.

I have some serious questions. Some of them were already brought out by the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee. For example, there is this section, section 18 in the legislation being brought to us today. Basically it says, warrantless surveillance is authorized by this legislation on any undocumented person in the United States. Now, that's in the law. And I would ask any colleague listening to this, it's in the self-executing part of this rule, section 18, "This act shall not be construed to prohibit surveillance of any alien not permitted to be in or remain in the United States.''

Now, how do you know, Mr. Speaker, if they're undocumented or not? Thus, now, this will give the right to surveillance, warrantless surveillance with regard to any household where there may be an undocumented worker? This is extremely serious. The question needs to be asked.

The ranking member of the Intelligence Committee pointed out, that's why this needs to be vetted, to be discussed, and not to be included in a rule where we find out about this the morning that the rule is on the floor and the rule makes it law, because it includes in the rule changes in the law that we hadn't even been able to see before.

Now, other questions. There is a prior section in the legislation, section 3, that creates what they call basket warrants for terrorists throughout the world. But wait a minute. Section 18 says that if you are someone not permitted to be in the United States, it should not be construed to prohibit surveillance. My question is, does that section void the prior basket warrant section? I don't know. What I know is that it's in the rule.

When we vote on the rule in a few minutes, we will be self-executing legislation, because these changes in the law are in the rule to be self-executed, to be made already part of the law. So these are serious questions. I wish that there would have been an opportunity for the gentleman from Michigan, along with the chairman, to be vetting these issues, because they're serious issues, serious questions, like the one I asked before.

Now, unlimited, warrantless surveillance for the undocumented. And those who live with the undocumented, I would ask? Those who share a residence with the undocumented? Those who share a workplace with the undocumented and who are citizens, are legal immigrants in the United States? These are serious questions. And now we can ask them on the morning that the legislation is on the floor. And, by the way, it's being included in the rule, so that as soon as we vote on the rule, we will already have voted on this legislation.

No, this is not the way to run this place, Mr. Speaker. It's another example of an excessively exclusivist process keeping out debate affecting legislation, including extremely serious legislation, like this legislation that should be protecting the American people, and that's why this is most unfortunate, this process today, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Florida that this rule doesn't change the law. Members will still have an opportunity to vote on the base text of this bill. It doesn't change the law of FISA.