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Angie Morfin

Testimony before Congress of Angie Morfin, June 11, 1999

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Angie Morfin, I am a Latino-American woman from Salinas, California. I have come here today to tell you of a personal cost that I have paid for illegal immigration.

But first I want to describe my community. Salinas is a community of 100,000 in Central California, it is not the big city. That part of California is a big agricultural area and so we have always had migrant farm workers. Years ago they would come and do the harvest and then leave once the work was completed. Now, they don't leave, and each year the number grows.

We have a large community of illegal aliens, mostly Latino, and those numbers are growing, also. I can tell the members of this committee that the Latino-American citizens of our community want the illegals removed. We resent their presence in our community.

At a congressional town hall meeting in Salinas last year, Congressman Sam Farr heard from many people from our community that they wanted more Border Patrol to catch and deport illegal aliens. Two sheriffs from neighboring counties told Congressman Farr that they wanted the Border Patrol to resume the practice of visiting their jails twice a week to remove and deport the illegals.

Illegal immigrant crime is a real problem in my community. Gangs, illegal immigrant gangs, especially. We definitely have a need for increased enforcement. But even though we need it, and citizens have asked for it, the Salinas Border Patrol station has only one agent for a three county area. Just one. That is not the kind of commitment to immigration enforcement that is going to solve the problem in my community.

The price I have paid for non enforcement of our immigration laws, and the presence of illegal aliens in my community was a big one. It is a price that I truly hope that none of you ever has to pay.

I told you that illegal alien gang activity is a problem in my community. Well in 1990 I found out how just how bad it could be when an illegal alien gang member from Mexico killed my thirteen year old son, Ruben. Ruben was not a gang member. He was just a beautiful little boy walking with some friends to his grandmother's house. As he and the others tried to run from the gang members who approached them Ruben was shot in the head and killed. His killer fled the country, running back home to...Mexico. He was an illegal alien.

I was paralyzed with grief. I just wanted to die, I couldn't bear to live without my little boy. I cried and prayed to God for the strength to go on with my life. I prayed for justice for Ruben.

In the years that have passed since Ruben was killed I have met other mothers who have lost sons to gang violence, perpetrated by illegal aliens. I have sadly learned that this can happen to anybody. And while it is too late to protect my Ruben, it is not too late to take the measures necessary to make our communities safer and hopeful save someone else's child. Interior enforcement of our immigration laws will make our communities safer.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the committee. It is not enough to talk about fixing the system. We must act, you must act now. And not just Congress, but all Americans need to get involved to solve the illegal immigration problem. I personally believe that more American Latinos should get involved. Together we can make a difference. The time has come for us as American born Latino, and all American citizens to stand up for our rights as citizens.

Now I identified myself as a Latino-American woman at the beginning of this testimony. Actually, I don't like, or approve of hyphenated-Americans. We're Americans. And whether we are Latino-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans or European-Americans, the common denominator is that we are Americans. And it is our citizenship that we have in common. And as citizens we need to encourage you lawmakers to ensure that the laws you make are enforced, and that includes immigration laws.

I thank God that I was born in this country and lived during a time when people are proud to be Americans. I am proud to say I'm an American. We should not be afraid to say how proud we are, or that we want to enforce our immigration laws and stop illegal immigration.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, if we don't act like we care about this country we're not going to have a country.

And, a nation that cannot control its borders won't be a nation for very long.

I care about America and want to protect my country from illegal immigration.

Thank you very much for inviting me to speak to you today.