Alright, now. The President has given his speech on the Illegal Immigration problem facing this country. The networks had their talking heads to give an instant (they had the speech for, what, a day or two? Instant, huh?) analysis, the newspapers had the evening (they had the speech, too, so they’ve been sharpening their quills for awhile!) to fashion their response, and the blogs have had all night and day (and they, too, have had the speech for a day or two, and have been screaming about it that long.) to formulate their thoughts and post them on the Net.
So, what exactly did GW have to say last night? ‘Cause, Lord Knows, you won’t figure that out from most of the reactions (more on that in a bit). Well, thanks to Flopping Aces I have a handy list of the Man’s words as points:
"1. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border. By the end of 2008, we will increase 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 my Presidency.
2. 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 prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world - and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border.
3. So in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard 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 a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online.
4. This practice, called “catch and release,” is unacceptable — and we will end it. We are taking several important steps to meet this goal. We have expanded the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add more. We have expedited the legal process to cut the average deportation time. And 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. And I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end “catch and release” at the southern border once and for all.
5. I support 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.
6. I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law … to pay their taxes … to learn English … and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship — but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law."
Okay, this is definitely middle-of-the-road. Not as hard-nosed as I wanted, but not as surrender-to-the-Left as I had feared.
1 - The funding for increased BP agents is a good start, but only a start. 6000 more men and women will hardly be sufficient to cover the entire border. But, again, it’s a start and a good one.
2 - High-tech fences? Okay, that’s more like what I wanted. Not that they will cover the entire border – they won’t. But acknowledging that this is a good way to protect the borders to the south is also a start. How well the high-tech parts work, and whether they will be easily sabotaged by those seeking illegal entry, will have to wait, too, for time. We cannot tell what works and what doesn’t until they’ve had time.
3 - The idea of training new BP while covering the border is something that has worked. As long as the funding remains the BP will get the job done. ‘Vietnamization’ didn’t work, because we were too eager to pull out, and did so before the job was done and the troops ready. Congress added insult to injury by stopping funds that we had promised to the Saigon government. (Thanks, Dems!) If de-funding occurs after this, and the BP gets downsized, we ought to march on Washington, D.C. and string up the traitors from the nearest lampposts! And, no, I’m not kidding. Enough is enough! If it quacks like a traitor, waddles like a traitor, and craps like a traitor, it’s a Traitor.
4 - I don’t believe ‘catch and release’ is over. Not for a moment. If the officials in places like San Francisco can refuse to follow and enforce the Law, then catch and release remains the order of the day. Time to arrest those who continue to return illegals to the streets. But I don’t see that happening. ACLU, and all that, you know.
5 - I don’t like the ‘temporary worker’ idea. It smacks of Amnesty, which Presidential supporters insist it isn’t. But it sort of is. Americans won’t do the work because it pays lousy wages. If the growers, construction companies, etc have to raise their wages to attract American citizens to the jobs, then they’d better do so. If the prices rise because of that, good! That’s a free economy at work. But don’t blame lazy Americans for the cheap pay policies of some employers. Time to jail them when they break the law! Temporary workers? I don’t support, but I will suspend judgement until I see the results.
6 - Who decides how long is long enough within our borders? Who decides which illegals are deserving of remaining here, and which must return to their home countries? I predict this goes nowhere. Why? The ACLU will tie up the courts for decades over this, the Libs will, too. What sort of punishment is the President proposing as a ‘payment’ for their crime of illegally entering this country? There are too many questions I have over this.
In fact the biggest sticking point I have over the entire plan is the mistaken notion that mass deportations are wrong, or mean, or hurtful, or … whatever! Deportations are simple. And they are the accepted action in response to illegal entry. To say that it’s too hard to do is stupidity, and simply a lie. To say it’s too draconian to do to people who have lived here, worked here, and paid their taxes for years is simply a lie.
Look, any man, or woman, who sneaks into the USA is a criminal. Everything he does here while here illegally compounds the offense. And most of these people do not pay taxes, they suck up the taxes in emergency room visits, and crime. Not to mention the large number of them who vote!
Voting is a right of Citizenship! It is not a right allotted to the entire world, to all of humanity. Every single individual who has voted illegally should be arrested, charged, and tried. They are criminals! And a frightening lot of illegal aliens are voting. We need to put a stop to that. By leaving these illegals inside our borders, we are leaving illegal voters in place.
Not to mention the huge number who are receiving education monies they do not deserve. American taxes meant to pay for American students are being spent on South American children of illegals. If Liberals want those children paid for, then they need to open their own bulging wallets and fork over the bucks.
So, I have problems with GW’s plans on Illegal Immigration. But I will wait and watch to see how things work.
As for the all those folks red-faced in fury, screaming about Bush’s betrayal of his base, yada, yada, yada, well … they need to grow up. They are beginning to sound exactly like the Leftist Fringies they so abhor. Give the plan a chance! This isn’t Bush’s problem alone, you know. As others have noted, this has been a problem for a very long time. Reagan did nothing positive, Carter was laughable, Clinton was a vast joke, GHWB did nada, so why is this suddenly the hot-button issue for George W. Bush? He may be too slow to the table, but at least he’s actually at the table. Something our previous Presidents have not been.
Close your mouths, sit back, and give your keyboards a rest. If you claim to be nothing like the screaming Meemies on the Left, then show it by showing some restraint. Give the Man a chance here, okay?
For a reaoned response by a tired-of-the-political blogger, see The Anchoress. She's still on top of the blogging world, in my estimation.