Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to the issue of illegal immigration that is perhaps the most important concern to my Texas constituents.

I want to address just one matter, the cost. Government and academic estimates indicate there are 9 to 11 million illegal people living in the United States. Immigration officials estimate that the illegal population grows by as many as 500,000 a year; some say 4,000 a day cross into Texas from their southern border.

Someone pays for this illegal activity, and that somebody is the American public, not the illegal immigrants. There is a tremendous strain on local and State communities because of unrestricted illegal immigration throughout Texas and the entire United States.

While it is the Federal Government's responsibility to control immigration, it is the people of the States and local communities that pay the cost. They are the victims of illegal immigration. Those Americans spend millions of tax dollars on education, health care, and criminal justice for those that are here illegally.

Donald Huddle, a Rice University economics professor, has done a study that estimated the cost that we pay for illegals in this country. This chart here shows that the American public pays approximately $32 billion a year for the cost of illegal immigrants, such as public education. It is about $5 billion Americans pay.

Social security, $3 billion. Medicaid, $3 billion. Total cost to American taxpayers, about $32 billion a year we pay the cost of illegal immigration. When this study was done, the population of illegals in the United States was about 5 million. Now the population has doubled, and the costs have more than doubled.

Besides these stunning costs, Americans have to pay for their own health care and their own education of their own kids. Many Americans cannot afford these costs for their own families, but they are made to pay the same costs for illegals.

Mr. Speaker, education, public safety and basic health care are the roles provided primarily by our States and local communities. U.S. taxpayer dollars on the local level are used to pay for these services. Yet these communities are continuing to absorb more and more demand for these services while the resources to provide them cannot keep up.

I would like to specifically point out some of the costs that citizens must provide: one, health care. Emergency rooms, the most expensive health care system, are used by illegal immigrants because of the compassion of Americans. We do not turn people down at these hospitals. If the immigrants do not pay, Americans pay.

Some trauma centers in urban areas have closed because they cannot absorb the costs to pay. People are in the system who do not contribute to it financially.

In Michigan, 23 criminal cases were filed alleging that pregnant women from Syria, Lebanon and Yemen flew into the United States, falsified information on Medicaid forms to cover those costs of delivering their babies, and then returned to their native countries within a few months. Americans paid for all of this criminal activity. Also, the quality of health care will diminish because those in the system are not paying their way.

Second, education. The Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that all kids in the United States would be provided a free education. This cost continues to rise due to the fact that Americans are paying for and educating kids illegally in the United States.

Local property taxes continue to rise. And the quality of education will suffer. Why? Because there are people receiving from the education system, but are not contributing to it financially. Those are people that are here illegally.

Just last year, California spent over $7 billion a year educating illegal immigrant children. Once again, our compassion for others is to the detriment of our own kids.

In the criminal justice system, where I was a judge in Harris County, over 20 percent of the people in jail were illegally in the United States. Americans provided those individuals a defense attorney, a court system, a trial, and they paid for the incarceration if those individuals were convicted.

Who pays for this? Americans. Americans always pay. Mr. Speaker, everybody wants to live in the United States, but not everybody can live here. We need rules that are fair, and people must respect our rule of law and our borders.

American taxpayers cannot afford to pay for those here illegally who use our health care facilities, our education systems, and go through the criminal justice system.

The failure of this Congress to act on correcting our broken immigration system trickles down to the communities which we all represent, especially those of us who represent border States. The American taxpayer is funding illegals, and we must put a stop to the problem sooner rather than later.

If we continue to offer free education, health care services and provide a criminal justice system, are we not encouraging more illegals to come to the United States?

This just ought not to be.