Floor Speech

Date: June 6, 2013
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Immigration


Mr. KING of Iowa. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I appreciate the privilege to address you here on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. I come to this floor to voice my concerns about the direction some in the executive and legislative bodies seem to be going.

I will start it out this way, Mr. Speaker, in that, yesterday, it finally occurred to me how to describe the political whiplash that has taken place that goes against the logic and history and experience of myself and, I think, of a majority of the American people. I said to them yesterday in an immigration meeting inside the Republican Study Committee, which had a panel there of House and Senate to talk about immigration--some of them experts--that I feel like Rumpelstiltskin.

The story of ``Rumpelstiltskin'' is that he went to sleep under a tree, and he was clean shaven, and when he woke up, he had this long, long beard that had apparently grown over a century or so. The culture shock that he got after having taken a little nap was what the narrative of the story of ``Rumpelstiltskin'' was about.

I went to bed the night of November 6 in having finished the election celebration, in having succeeded in another election, but I watched as Mitt Romney had to concede that he had not won the Presidency from Barack Obama. I understood what that election was about as much as most anybody in this country.

It starts in Iowa. We spent nearly 4 years sorting out and helping to contribute to the knowledge base of the American people as to what the planks in the platform would be, what the platform would look like, how we would select a nominee for the President of the United States. It starts in Iowa with the first-in-the-Nation's caucuses, and of the candidates who come there, many of them will go to all 99 counties. Rick Santorum, for example, had over 380 meetings in Iowa, and he went to all 99 counties. Michele Bachmann went to all 99 counties.

That's an endorsement from the Iowa caucuses that can be earned. You don't have to have millions of dollars to shape a media image and buy a nomination, but it is important to be there and talk. So we do this. We're all politics all the time. I'm engaged in the Republican Presidential nominating process from early on, so I watch this and I contribute to it. I weigh in on the things that I believe in, and I've listened as every Presidential candidate has endorsed--let me just say this--my immigration ideas.

Yet, as I listened to the debate and as Mitt Romney won the nomination and as he and Barack Obama had their multiple debates--three debates, if I remember, and there was much debate that went on throughout the media--I don't think anyone went to the polls on November 6 thinking this election is about immigration. I went to bed the night of November 6 in having realized that Barack Obama would be President for another 4 years. It was a disappointment to me and a crushing disappointment to many of us who had so many big plans on what we were going to do to put this Nation back on the right track with a new Republican majority anticipated in the United States Senate and a President Mitt Romney. It didn't work out that way, but I never believed on that night that the election was decided on immigration, Mr. Speaker. It was not. The debate was almost exclusively about jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy. It was drilled so relentlessly and so often that it put the American people to sleep. I said before the election multiple times that this needs to be more than a race about jobs and the economy. Nevertheless, that seemed to be what the polsters on the Republican side were advising Mitt Romney that needed to be continually coming out.

So the American people went to the polls doing what they do: they make decisions based upon what they hear people talking about. You can track polling, and I have looked at it for years. The polling that is going to have the highest priority of the people's concerns is going to be the one the people are talking about, the one the media is talking about. National conversations are many times driven through the media. These conversations of a Presidential election were about jobs and the economy.

I went to bed disappointed that night on November 6, perhaps even crushed, at the loss of opportunity that this Nation would have. I woke up the next morning--not with a beard that was 100 years long, but just a normal one from a night's sleep--not thinking that there was anything except jobs and the economy and the promise of the President to expand the dependency class and telling people, You're going to have less personal responsibility under Barack Obama, and you'll have more risk under Mitt Romney.

That was part of the argument: jobs in the economy, grow the dependency class. That was the argument.

But when I woke up on the morning of November 7, I began to see some of these things come through the news, this analysis that Mitt Romney would be President-elect on November 7 if he just hadn't said ``self-deport,'' or Mitt Romney would be President-elect on November 7 if he hadn't lost such a large percentage of the Hispanic vote. Then the numbers began to trickle in a little bit, and you get those numbers that show--and I don't dispute them--that Mitt Romney got about 27 percent of the Hispanic vote and Barack Obama got about 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.

So the people who had promised that Mitt Romney was going to win the Presidency, including pundits who hung in until the polls were closed until the last minute, still insisting that there were precincts coming in in Ohio that were going to turn the election needed a scapegoat. They needed a scapegoat to blame the election loss on because they had predicted that victory and contributed to the engineering of the campaign and had pushed the jobs and the economy argument to the detriment of some of the other topics that would have been useful to get a better turnout among conservatives.

So in looking for a scapegoat, they began to say on November 7, Mitt Romney would be President if he hadn't said these two words: self-deport. He would be President if he had a larger percentage of the Hispanic vote. He lost too much of it. This is the mantra that we saw that came out of George W. Bush's campaign when he began to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

I remember a document that was produced by the Republican National Committee chairman. It was referred to as an autopsy or postmortem report. It said again that Mitt Romney would be President if he had gotten a larger percentage of the Hispanic vote and that George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

That number has floated out there since the day after that election in 2004; but it's not true, Mr. Speaker. George W. Bush never got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. That number is someplace between 38 percent and 40 percent. It was a stronger percentage than Mitt Romney got, but Mitt Romney was competitive with John McCain's vote on the Hispanic side, and it was clear that John McCain has been an open-borders Senator all of his life. The only time he ever really was for border security and border control was when he had to save himself from a primary, and that's when he said build the ``blank'' fence.

So what we have here is an irrational conclusion drawn on the morning of November 7 of last year that turns out to be a handy little scapegoat, excuse, change the subject matter for people who made predictions that didn't match what the professional opinion was. Another thing that takes place is if you repeat something often enough in the news media, you can convince people that that is the topic, that was the subject.

So I will just tell you in this conference, people are now starting to understand the election wasn't about immigration, and there is no mandate for Barack Obama to sign an amnesty bill. There is a strong desire on the part of people that are for open borders to pass one. I understand why Democrats are for open borders and amnesty. They're the political beneficiaries of open borders and amnesty.

Republicans are paying the price for this wedge that's being driven between the Republican Party, Mr. Speaker. And in political tactics, as well as warfare and military tactics, if you can split the line of your enemy, your opposition, your competition, if you can divide them, especially if you can pit them against each other, you have a much greater chance of success.

This is a classical example of Republicans accepting an argument and, in fact, creating the argument, some of them joining with Democrats who gleefully drive the wedge in between the Republican Party to separate the rule of law, border security, pillar of American exceptionalism, constitutional conservative Republicans away from the establishment wing of the party that sees this world a little bit different.

Conventional wisdom here is Romney would be President if Republicans had done a better job reaching out to the Hispanic community. I'm saying, Mr. Speaker, that's not true. There's no data that supports that theory. Even still, they insist on adhering to this. And when I ask them what is in this Gang of Eight's bill in the United States Senate that has passed out of committee now to be considered on the floor of the United States Senate, what's in that bill for Americans, the answer is: nothing. There is nothing in that bill for Americans.

What's in that bill, then, for, let's say, Republicans? Well, political disaster is in it. There's nothing on the upside of it for Republicans.

What's in it for Democrats? Millions of new voters, more political power, a continued expanding of the dependency class, an erosion of the individual responsibility and the God-given liberty and freedom that this country has; and that's the benefit to the Democratic side of this thing, Mr. Speaker.

Then what is the effect? The effect is pretty clear. You have a study done by the stellar Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation who does multiple studies. He is the most accomplished analyst that I know on this Hill, and his work has been subject to public scrutiny for more than two decades and his work has been unassailable.

When it was announced that he was doing an analysis of the economic impact of a Senate version of the bill, the amnesty bill, immediately his political opposition began to attack him personally and to attack a study they had never read. I know they never read it, Mr. Speaker, because it wasn't out and it wasn't released. And I got a verbal preview of that when Robert Rector came to speak before the Conservative Opportunity Society, which I've chaired for some years. And I knew they hadn't read the report because it wasn't released. I would get access to one of the first copies.

I have read every page of the Rector report. I believe it's 102 pages. There' a 5-page executive summary. This report boils down this, Mr. Speaker: if you pass the Senate Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform/amnesty act, the net cost of the people who would be legalized in America, even if you use the 11.3 million, which I think is a very low estimate, the net cost to the taxpayer when you calculate the drawdown from the welfare systems and the health care and the education and the infrastructure--he's got it all broken down in detail--the net cost--and then you subtract from that the net tax contributions made by this group of people, you end up with a $6.3 trillion price tag to the Senate's amnesty bill.

And still, Republican members of the Gangs of Eight, House and Senate, posture themselves as conservatives. They posture themselves as conservatives, and they advocate for a $6.3 trillion net cost, and their best argument against the Rector report is that it's not dynamically scored.

I heard that yesterday from the gentleman from Idaho: the Rector report is not dynamically scored. If you dynamically score it, then presumably you could get around to a purist libertarian view that anytime--and that's this: anytime anybody does an hour's worth of work and contributes a dollar to the gross domestic product, they contribute to the economy. That's their theory. That's a very narrow view of what goes on in any country.

If you're going to call it economic growth because the GDP goes up by a dollar, but it costs you $2 or $3 on the other end out of tax recipients to fund the stimulation to get that extra dollar, that's not economic growth. But
they argue that it is. If you dynamically score the Rector report, it gets more costly, not less costly. The number of $6.3 trillion in cost goes up, not down.

I would suggest that these people who are attacking Robert Rector or the Heritage Foundation or the people that are making allegations that the Rector report is not dynamically scored go in there and dynamically score the Rector report then. Tell me, what is your number? It's not good enough just to criticize somebody else's data without actually addressing the data. What's your number, Gang of Eight? How much do you think the Gang of Eight bills are going to cost the taxpayers for the people who would be legalized instantly? How much?

Then they say, I want more legal immigration, more legal immigration. You could ask them, How many are coming in here legally now? Most of them who make such a statement would be stumped, Mr. Speaker. They don't know.

If you don't know how many people are coming in here legally, say, over the last decade, how can you assert whether there should be more or less? And if they do know the number, then I would say to them: you think there should be more legal immigration? How many is enough? How many is too many? There are two more stumping questions I've just asked.

They don't know how many is enough. They don't know how many is too many. They're making a political calculation, not a policy analysis. It's not good enough to change the destiny of the United States of America simply by wetting your finger and putting it into the air, or checking your political barometer and making a decision whether it's a plus or a minus for you politically. Can you get reelected if you're for amnesty or not? That's some of the questioning that's going on around this body. I suggest we have a higher charge and a higher challenge and a bigger responsibility.

This is a constitutional Republic, and one of the essential pillars of American exceptionalism is the rule of law. This shining city on the hill sits on these pillars of American exceptionalism. And among them, many of them are in the Bill of Rights--freedom of speech, religion, the press, peaceably assemble, and petition the government for regress grievance. Second Amendment rights--the right to be secure in our persons, the property rights that used to exist before the Kelo decision. That is a little editorial, Mr. Speaker. I'll take that up in another Special Order sometime--the rights that devolve to the States or the people respectively under the 9th and 10th Amendments; no double jeopardy. All of those things.

If you take any piece that I've mentioned out of the history of this country, you don't get the United States of America. You can't be the United States of America without the law, without the rule of law.

Millions of people come to this country to escape lawlessness, and we owe it to them as well as the heritage of all Americans to ensure that we do not have lawlessness institutionalized in this country.

Amnesty is. To grant amnesty is to pardon immigration law breakers and reward them with the objective of their crime. That's what's advocated by the Gangs of Eight, no matter how they want to spin it. If they do that, they will have provided an amnesty plan that can never be reversed, and they will have destroyed the rule of law at least with regard to immigration so that it can never be restored, destroyed so it could never be restored. There is no going back to this, going back to what was if this legislation passes.

And, I'll take us back to 1986. Ronald Reagan signed--he was honest with us, he signed the Amnesty Act, Mr. Speaker. He was pressured, no doubt. I'll just say I know that. He was pressured by a lot of people who have good judgment almost all of the time, good advisers, but the pressure that came was this: there are a million people in America. It started out at about 750,000; but by the time the decision was made by Ronald Reagan, they said there are a million people in America who are here illegally, and we can't deal with all of them so we want to get a fresh start. We can make this deal with the Democrats in Congress that if you just sign, Mr. President Reagan, the Amnesty Act, we will ensure also in that bill that there will be border security. Shut off the bleeding at the border, and the trade-off will be that we'll give amnesty to a million people.

And Ronald Reagan, with his compassionate heart and his good principles and good judgment, didn't see what was coming. What was coming was the intentional undermining of the enforcement. Democrats never intended to enforce immigration law in 1986. Ronald Reagan accepted their word. His word was good. He didn't have a reason to believe theirs was not. It was not. It was intentionally not good. But President Reagan signed the Amnesty Act for the purposes of the one sole and only Amnesty Act that was ever going to take place in the history of the United States. That was the promise.

And in exchange, we all had to fill out the I-9 forms with precision and fear that the Federal Government would come in and catch us in a technicality and lock us up in jail or fine us a great deal. I still have I-9 forms that are in the dusty files from back then. I was sure the INS was going to show up and take enforcement against me. It didn't happen in my company, or in thousands of companies across the country. They didn't enforce it the way it was promised to be enforced. We got the amnesty all right, but we didn't get the border security.

Now we have people that seem to have the wisdom as if they have been born since then and denied access to the history books, and they seem to think that they can write laws that are immigration laws today that will put this thing away and finish adapting to immigration law for all time. They're saying, just listen to us, pass our Gang of Eight amnesty bill, and we will fix the immigration problem for all time.

It's clear to me that the lesson from 1986 didn't soak into them. They don't have a lot of gray hair. You don't have to pull out a history book and read it. In fact, just down the street just about any respectful Member of Congress could, I believe, get a meeting with Attorney General Ed Meese, who was Ronald Reagan's Attorney General in 1986, whom I believe advised Ronald Reagan to sign the Amnesty Act. But Attorney General Meese, whom I greatly respect for his intellect, for his character, for his judgment, for his work ethic, he's still in the game, wrote an op-ed in 2006 to deal with George W. Bush's amnesty proposal, and that op-ed say Reagan would not make this mistake again. And then now some 2 weeks ago or so, he released another statement that mirrors the 2006 statement.

So they could have the benefit of Attorney General Ed Meese and listen to what happened in 1986, if these Members were sincere about making an objective decision. They are not. They are salivating over putting their imprimatur on history and changing the character and the culture and the direction of the civilization of America.

Now, America has always been about assimilation. And we are, yes, a Nation of immigrants. So is every other nation on the planet, by the way, so we should not overemphasize that. We're a Nation of people that come together, that have assimilated different cultures and civilizations, and we have something I call American vigor.

American vigor comes from, these pillars of American exceptionalism that I listed, most of them in the Bill of Rights. You add to that free enterprise capitalism, you add to that the faith of Judeo-Christianity and Western Civilization all wrapped up together on this continent with essentially unlimited natural resources, the rule of law, manifest destiny. All of that was a magnet that attracted the vigor of every civilization here.

We didn't just get a cross-section of people that came from Asia or Europe or South America that came to America. We got the dreamers, the doers, the vigorous people from every donor civilization on the planet. The people that came to work and contributed that had ideas. They wanted to be unfettered by the ropes and chains and the restraints that their own home country had and came to America to embrace the American Dream. That's why we are America. That's why we have a can-do spirit. We got the best of the spirits of every single country on the planet. We must preserve these pillars of American exceptionalism, including the rule of law, or this Nation will never reach its God-given and intended destiny.

That's why I stand so strongly on preserving respect and adherence to the rule of law. That's why I reject the President's lawless activities to suspend immigration law that he doesn't like and advance his political foundation in doing so.

The President has suspended immigration law by executive amnesty, is what he has done. That's what the debate was about last night with the King amendment. That's what the vote was about this morning with the King amendment that passed with strong support in a bipartisan way. Some people I think took a walk. But in any case, my amendment said they'll not use any of the funds appropriated in the bill to enforce the Morton memos, which are the memos commonly referred to that come from the President's wish to grant amnesty by executive edict.

And in one of those memos, the most famous of which, which established Dream Act Light, the President of the United States went out and did a press conference within 2 hours of the issuing of the memo that came from Janet Napolitano's office. And it says in that memo seven different times that we'll apply this on an individual basis only, on an individual basis only. I can repeat that five more times. That gives you a sense of what they put in the memo.

They know that when you litigate something like this, the individual basis only is the reference to prosecutorial discretion. The executive branch has the prosecutorial discretion. It's well established. I agree with it. They can't enforce every single law, but the law also requires that when ICE encounters an individual that they believe to be unlawfully in the United States, they are obligated to place them into deportation proceedings. That's the law.

The President suspended this specific law. He created four classes of people under the Morton memos and then has suspended the law as being applied against these four classes of people.

He's not doing it on an individual basis, only it's lip service on an individual basis only.

And of 450,000 people that had already been adjudicated for deportation, they have now waived that on 300,000 and they're grinding through the rest. It looks like they're on their way to nearly half a million people that get administrative amnesty, and this is before the ``Dream Act Lite'' memo came out. That's another chunk of this.

So the President has, time after time, through the actions of his executives, defied his oath of office, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That's the President's obligation. It's his oath to the Constitution. He had his hand on the Bible when he gave that oath. And he gave an oath to our Constitution.

He gave a lecture to some students out here at a high school on March 28, year before last I believe it was. And they asked him, why don't you just pass an executive order, sign an executive order to grant lawful status to the Dream Act kids?

And the President said, as a former adjunct constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, accurately, he said, I don't have the authority to do that. The legislature passes the laws. My job is to carry them out. And the judicial branch is to pass judgment on the meaning of the technicality of the law. Pretty good response for a constitutional law adjunct professor.

And about a year later, the President decided he wasn't bound by his oath of the Constitution. Neither was he bound by the analysis or the opinion that he gave the high school kids; defied his oath, and he defied his own judgment, publicly stated, and granted administrative amnesty through a whole series of six different memos known as the Morton memos.

We cannot be a civilized country if we're going to have a President who legislates by executive edict, or by press conference, by the way.

Mr. Speaker, you'll remember that ObamaCare was not supposed to fund abortion, nor was it supposed to fund contraceptives or sterilizations. There was an accommodation that was made in an amendment here and some negotiations with the President.

But they do it anyway. They impose this on our faith communities as well. And our churches filed multiple lawsuits, more than I can actually quote into this Record today, to object on the grounds of religious liberty.

This country shall not impose a violation of religious liberty on our faith people, and it shall not draw a distinction between an individual's faith, a private sector business' faith, or a church itself. It's all the same. No one is exempt from the protection of our First Amendment rights.

Yet, this administration goes after them. And when he heard the heat that came back from the churches and, particularly, the Roman Catholic Church, the President did a press conference at noon on a Friday, and he said, I'm going to make an accommodation to the religious institution, an accommodation. Now I'm going to require the insurance companies to provide these things for free, abortifacients, contraceptives, sterilizations, and he repeated himself, ``for free.''

The President can't do that. Even if the rule further defines the ObamaCare law that passed, that rule's got to be published. It's got to go through the administrative procedures course of action.

The President cannot just simply, with impunity and utter arrogance, step up to a podium with the Great Seal of the President of the United States on it and say, now I'm changing things. Hugo Chavez does that. Barack Obama did that. He legislated by press conference.

And now we have more lawlessness coming to undermine the rule of law: grant an amnesty to 11 million people that, if history shows us right, will be 33 million people. If you score that dynamically, you take $6.3 trillion times 3 and you get better into the zone on what this could cost.

This House is going to stand and oppose amnesty. It's going to defend the rule of law. It's going to protect the dignity of every human person, God's gift to this planet. But this country is also God's gift to this planet.

And I urge, Mr. Speaker, all of those that are listening to this discussion that we're having, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, let's stick with our oath of office. Let's stick with our oath to uphold the Constitution. Let's defend the rule of law.

Let's have a smart, legal immigration policy that rewards people that follow the law and can come here and contribute to this country. We cannot be the lifeboat for all of the poverty in the world. But we can be the inspiration for all of God's creatures on this planet.

I yield back the balance of my time.