Thank you Mr. Chairman.
First of all you know I've spoken to different forums dealing with immigration and I'm a proud immigrant. I came as an immigrant to this country when I was 12 years. old. I was fortunate my Dad came, decided to go study at Georgia Tech in the late 50's. Back then you could actually walk into Immigration and fill out a from and become a resident. There was no waiting period. So, he was a resident. By the time I was born he was a U.S. citizen.
You know I'll try to give you a little different perspective. I've been an immigrant advocate and I'll tell you why I was an immigration advocate because from the moment I was born till the day I got to the U.S., my Dad told me that this was the greatest country on earth. I believe that to my very core. And I get emotional about this cause it's important for all of you to see what immigrants see. You know I'm an American by choice, most of you, all of you are probably Americans just because you were born here. You are lucky. You are lucky to live in a country where people are dying to get in, not dying to get out. And I think that's important as we head into this debate because I think what you heard from folks who advocate for immigrants is that, you know the issues we talk about, felons and people breaking the law, I think there is no dispute, no argument from anybody that people need to abide by the law. That if you are committed a felony, a violent act, you should be in jail and incarcerated.
But, let's also look at the issue of illegal immigration or as I call it, undocumented immigrants. You know greed is not a motivator. Greed is not a motivator. They come in because we have done as a country a great job of selling America to the rest of the world. We go around saying that we are the greatest nation on earth. Because we are. And you know what people around the world have bought into that. So as the second that they want to have a better life and there is nothing - I mean it is human nature for all of us to want a better life for ourselves, for our families.
So they hear of this great place called America and if somebody over here says look, you know you come here and you can find a job. They'll take it. You know, so this whole immigration debate really wasn't started by immigrants. This really was started by people here in the U.S. offering these immigrants opportunities. Those were the people who started violating the law.
Understand that there was a demand and not, there was a demand for jobs and these people filled that supply.
So let me just, you know and I will try to wrap this up Chairman because I know you are under time constraints but, real quick, a couple of things.
Number one. This immigration debate something has made me very uncomfortable, sometimes this has a very anti-Hispanic undertone and I think that needs to end. If we are going to have a serious debate about immigration let's talk about our immigration reform in this country and it should be comprehensive.
Number two, I'm insulted that the word terrorism has been dragged into this debate. I mean we - we - one of the gentlemen, I believe from FDLE testified that one of the pilots was on a tourist visa. I don't know the number of people who come to this great state with tourist visas but, I don't think we should treat all of them the same way that we would treat this terrorist. These are immigrants, not terrorists, and I am offended that by the very fact that we somehow dragged that into this debate.
So, I hope as we move forward on this issue that we are very clear that what we need to do is to do what is right for us. Something that twenty years from now we don't look back and say - you know what - there was an embarrassing point in our history.
Let's act up to the what we really are. We are the greatest country on earth and we need to live up to that spirit.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.