Monday, May 15, 2006

President Bush's borders plan - Unacceptable

President Bush unveiled his borders plan today in a speech. The Readers' Digest version is here. From the White House

1. The United States Must Secure Its Borders

Securing Our Borders Is The Basic Responsibility Of A Sovereign Nation And An Urgent Requirement Of Our National Security. President Bush's proposals to better secure our borders include increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, ending the practice of "catch and release" along the southern border, eliminating bureaucratic obstacles to returning illegal immigrants to their home countries, and sending National Guard members to the border for temporary assignment to assist the Border Patrol during the transition as new Border Patrol agents are added and new technology comes online.

Since President Bush Took Office, We Have Increased Funding For Border Security By 66 Percent And Expanded The Border Patrol From About 9,000 To 12,000 Agents. Over the past five years, we have apprehended and sent home more than 6 million people entering America illegally.

By The End Of 2008, We Will Have Increased The Number Of Border Patrol Officers By An Additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we will have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during the President's Administration.

We Launched The Secure Border Initiative, The Most Technologically Advanced Border Enforcement Initiative In American History. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and respond to illegal crossings.

The President's Plan To Increase Border Security Will Take Time To Fully Implement, So The President Is Announcing Several Immediate Steps To Strengthen Border Enforcement During This Transition:

In Coordination With Governors, Up To 6,000 National Guard Members Will Be Sent To Our Southern Border. The Department of Homeland Security, and specifically the Border Patrol, will remain in the lead. The Guard, which will be deployed in shifts, will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol.

This Initial Commitment Of Guard Members Would Last For One Year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents are added and new technologies come online. These 6,000 troops account for less than 2 percent of the total National Guard force of more than 440,000. We have enough National Guard members to secure our border while continuing to respond to natural disasters and to win the War on Terror.

The United States Is Not Going To Militarize The Southern Border. Mexico is our neighbor and friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to improve security on both sides of the border, confront common problems like drug trafficking and crime, and reduce illegal immigration.

We Will Increase Federal Funding For State And Local Authorities Assisting The Border Patrol On Targeted Enforcement Missions, And We Will Give Them The Specialized Training They Need To Help The Border Patrol And Other Federal Officers Apprehend And Detain Illegal Immigrants.
We Will Work To Ensure That Every Illegal Immigrant We Catch Crossing Our Southern Border Is Returned Home By Ending The Practice Of "Catch And Release." For many years, the government did not have enough space in our detention facilities to hold illegal immigrants while the legal process unfolded. Most were released back into society and asked to return for a court date, but did not show up when the date arrived.

To End "Catch And Release," We Will Continue Expanding The Number Of Beds In Our Detention Facilities And Continue Expediting The Removal Process To Cut The Average Deportation Time. We are making it clear to foreign governments that they must accept back their citizens who violate our immigration laws. As a result of these actions, we have ended catch and release for illegal immigrants from some countries. The President will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority to permanently end catch and release at the southern border once and for all.

That's not good enough. What are the National Guard troops going to do? Change the oil of the border patrol as Arizona's governor did? Do they have arrest powers? We need two things. We need a wall on our border. We also need to go after the businesses who hire illegals. Let's stop undercutting the min wage and let's stop the tax evasion. There's one other problem that doesn't get mentioned. A terrorist from Hezbollah came here illegally. He was caught in Dearborn and came here from Nogales, Arizona on the Southern Border. That needs to stop ASAP.

2. To Secure Our Border, We Must Create A Temporary Worker Program

President Bush Supports A Temporary Worker Program That Would Create A Legal Path For Foreign Workers To Enter Our Country In An Orderly Way, For A Limited Period Of Time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks, and temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

A Temporary Worker Program Would Meet The Needs Of Our Economy, Ease The Financial Burden On State And Local Governments, And Add To Our Security. A temporary worker program would give honest immigrants a way to provide for their families while respecting the law, would replace illegal workers with lawful taxpayers, and would enable us to make certain we know who is in our country and why they are here.

This "jobs Americans won't do" is a crock of BS. While I have no problem with LEGAL immigration, Americans will do the jobs. They've done so for years.

3. We Need To Hold Employers To Account For The Workers They Hire

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Include A Tamper-Resistant Identification Card For Every Legal Foreign Worker So Businesses Can Verify The Legal Status Of Their Employees. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof. This would leave employers with no excuse for violating the law, and it would help us enforce the law.

All talk and no action. Where has the crackdown been the last eight years?

4. We Must Deal With The Millions Of Illegal Immigrants Already Here

The President Opposes Amnesty. President Bush opposes giving illegal immigrants an automatic path to citizenship because it would be unfair to those who are here lawfully, would compromise the rule of law, and would invite further waves of illegal immigration. The President supports increasing the annual number of green cards that can lead to citizenship, but for the sake of justice and security, the President is firmly opposed to amnesty.

President Bush Believes That Deporting Every Illegal Immigrant Is Neither Wise Nor Realistic. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation.

President Bush Believes Illegal Immigrants Who Want To Stay Should Have To Pay A Meaningful Penalty For Breaking The Law, Pay Their Taxes, Learn English, And Work In A Job For A Number Of Years. The President also believes that there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record. Those who meet our conditions should be able to apply for citizenship but approval will not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.

This IS amnesty. As Mr Clinton says - "It depends on the definition of IS". None illegal here should be allowed to become citizens unless they return to their home country and apply from there. This is a slap in the face to all of those who came here legally.

5. We Must Honor The Great American Tradition Of The Melting Pot

The Success Of Our Country Depends Upon Helping Newcomers Assimilate Into Our Society And Embrace Our Common Identity As Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language.

This is about the only thing I agree with.

The House And Senate Must Pass A Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

All Elements Of This Problem Must Be Addressed Together. The House has passed an immigration bill. The Senate should act by the end of this month so that the House and Senate can work out their differences and send the President a comprehensive bill to sign.

America Needs To Conduct This Debate In A Reasoned And Respectful Tone. Feelings run deep on this issue and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.

What needs to be done is for the house and senate and president to stop worrying about political correctness, stop worrying about being called racists, and to do the RIGHT thing. We tried amnesty before. It failed then, and this "amnesty lite" with a slap on the wrist will fail again and reward illegals for coming here.

Lastly, kudo's to Mike Rogers for doing the right thing on this issue.


Anonymous said...

I missed the speech because of another commitment. In my opinion any successful plan MUST include a crackdown on companies that hire illegals combined with a ban on government aid. It does not matter how many people we have patroling the border, with thousands of miles of border to protect we are going to have problems as long as thousands of people per day try to sneak in. On the other hand, illegals will be much easier to deal with if we can reduce the flood to a trickle. To cut the flood we HAVE to eliminate the financial incentives for them to sneak into the U.S. As long as the finanancial incentives exist they WILL find a way to sneak in.

I'm not happy with the way President Bush has handled it so far but I was not happy with the way Clinton handled the issue either. At least the majority of Republicans are trying to do something about this issue, unlike the Democrats that keep trying to block reform.

Anonymous said...

Yes excellent speech. Now lets hope the new presidential candidate in Mexico understands what is going on and improves conditions over there. I heard a new party called Accion Por La Justicia is soon to be launched.

Wholihan Fan said...

Dan: Do you think Zandstra will get on the ballot? I hear he's short on signatures and desperately scrambling right now. Only a few hours left!

Anonymous said...

Without a secure border they rest of it is a waste.

Anonymous said...

What really upsets me about all of this is that we have been down this road before. In 1986 we granted amnesty to illegal aliens and all it did was encourage lots more to make the same trip. So my question is, if we were to grant illegals amnesty this time around what are we going to do to stop this problem from happening yet again?

One absolute thing about this issue is that we must secure the border now and put measures into place to stop future illegals from coming here. Then we can talk about what to do with the current batch of illegals. Essentially:

1) We must secure the borders. Period. No negotiations.
2) We need to seriously persue and prosecute employers of illegal aliens.
3) We need to outlaw government benefits to illegal aliens except for emergency medical aid and a one way bus ticket home.
4)Children born on U.S. soil to illegal aliens SHOULD NOT be granted U.S. citizenship automatically. This is a privilage granted to U.S. citizens and to visitors that entered our country legally.

Beyond that I would be willing to work out some kind of deal to allow some of the illegals currently here to gain legal permission to work but necessarily get U.S. citizenship. If they want to become U.S. citizens the clock starts ticking on the 7 year waiting period the moment they become legal and not before.

I hate the idea of going too soft on illegals but there are practical considerations that 1) How do you kick out up to 20 million people? Nobody has ever done anything like this before and I don't see how it can realistically be done, and 2) Many of these people are working and evicting them all at once would cause enormous economic dislocation in the U.S.