Update 11/29: Welcome, Instapundit readers! See also Bush Admin. now redefines Reagan Amnesty.
President Bush's immigration speech today was not altogether truthful.
While there were some welcome, if belated, highlights in Bush's most recent effort to get some credibility on the subject of illegal aliens, it was once again his inability to grapple honestly with the facts about his new and improved Bush Amnesty that stood out this afternoon.
After outlining some common sense proposals that he should have raised four or five years ago, the President moved to the subject of illegal aliens:
We're confronting the problem of document fraud, as well.
Does this mean the President intends to confront the matricula consular problem, which only became widespread after President Bush took office, and after the attacks o September 11? Instead of cutting off Mexico's illegal alien ID cards off at the start, the Bush Administration came up with guidelines allowing illegals to use the matriculas to open bank accounts. The only reason an illegal needs a bank account is to facilitate his lawbreaking. That's true whether he's working illegally, trafficking in drugs, or just an out and out gangster.
Are we to understand the President has reconsidered his previously lax attitude toward the matriculas and all of the benefits they afford illegals?
When illegal workers try to pass off sophisticated forgeries as employment documents, even the most diligent businesses find it difficult to tell what's real and what's fake. Business owners shouldn't have to act like detectives to verify the legal status of their workers. So my administration has expanded a program called Basic Pilot. This program gives businesses access to an automated system that rapidly screens the employment eligibility of new hire against federal records. Basic Pilot was available in only six states fives years ago; now this program is available nationwide. We'll continue to work to stop document fraud, to make it easier for America's businesses to comply with our immigration laws. (Applause.)
Nice applause line, and to be fair, the expansion of the Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2003 has been one of the few modest accomplishments of the Bush Administration against illegals.
I wonder why President Bush neglected to mention that his big accomplishment in preventing employers from hiring illegals is only voluntary?
For the Workplace Verification program to have any teeth, we need to get Congressman David Dreier's "Bonner Plan" (HR 98) passed.
As we enforce our immigration laws, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve those laws by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. Workers would be able to register for legal status for a fixed period of time, and then be required to go home. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy, and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.
Ah--- Bushspeak! "Willing workers/willing employers" blah, blah, blah... "jobs Americans won't do," raa-AWWWK!
The illegals who would qualify for the Bush amnesty are the illegals who've taken illegal employment. How does breaking our immigration and employment laws, while very often also committing document fraud, create the impression that these are "honest workers?"
How are illegals remotely as honest as the potential guest workers who haven't broken our laws?
This plan would also help us relieve pressure on the border. By creating a legal channel for those who enter America to do an honest day's labor, we would reduce the number of workers trying to sneak across the border. This would free up law enforcement officials to focus on criminals, drug dealers, terrorists and others that mean to harm us. Our plan would create a tamper-proof identification card for the temporary legal worker, which, of course, would improve work site enforcement.
Listen, there's a lot of opinions on this proposal -- I understand that. But people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary worker program. The program that I proposed would not create an automatic path to citizenship, it wouldn't provide for amnesty -- I oppose amnesty. Rewarding those who have broken the law would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border. (Applause.)
This from a President who's diligently resisted a vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws since he took office? Every good proposal of his today is a proposal that was obviously needed on January 20, 2001.
Bush has proven that we can't adequately enforce our immigration laws when he spends more more of his energies trying to legalize illegals than he does getting them our of the country.
Legalization is most definitely a reward for illegals.
With regard to the President's phony promise that because his plan doesn't provide "an automatic path to citizenship," keep in mind that the Reagan Amnesty didn't either. Then take a look at the President's next sentence:
A temporary worker program, by contrast, would decrease pressure on the border. I support the number of -- increasing the number of annual green cards that can lead to citizenship.
OK, the President wants to legalize millions of illegals, and also increase the number of green cards. If you don't think those illegals are going to get a chance at the more plentiful green cards, then you haven't been been listening.
On January 7, 2004, the last time the President tried a big push to legalize illegals, Bush said:
" Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship. Those who make this choice will be allowed to apply in the normal way."
"Temporarily" legalized illegals would be able to apply for green cards, and eventually, citizenship. That's exactly how the Reagan Amnesty worked. There was no automatic path to citizenship then, either, but the President continues to make this phony distinction.
But for the sake of justice and for the sake of border security, I'm not going to sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty. (Applause.)
He wants to legalize millions of illegals, many of who came here on his watch, after September 11, 2001. He was proposing amnesty before we were attacked, and he's proposing amnesty now. Of course he'd sign.
Other Tar Pit posts on this subject:
WH 'joke sheet' -- "President opposes amnesty"
Bush Admin. now redefines Reagan Amnesty
Fred Barnes pimps the Bush Amnesty
Bush Amnesty smoking gun: Found. Again.
Deconstructing Alberto: Gonzalez' Amnesty Code
The Gigot Prophecies: Divining the Bush Amnesty down
Around the blogosphere:
...Bush should be taken with a big grain of salt today, given that his intention clearly is to seem just tough enough on the border to make conservatives swallow a guest worker program and some sort of amnesty.
Lowery points to this cynical observation in Time:
"Bush decided to give these guys"--the immigration hard-liners--"their rhetorical pound of flesh," says a Republican official close to the White House. "In return, he wants a comprehensive bill, which is what he has always wanted. He's just going to lead with a lot of noise about border security."
A Certain Slant of Light:
I found the president's speech to be nervy at best. There was no admission of culpability for what has already occurred on the border since his first term began, nor any light shed on what an under-manned U.S. Border Patrol has been facing. After all, American citizens are not ignorant. We know, for example, that budgeted funding for border security has increased dramatically under Bush '43 -- most spending has; but, we also know that additional Border Patrol agents earmarked in that funding were never hired and trained under Bush '43. The president didn't come clean on that.
Small Town Veteran:
Any "temporary worker program" that allows those who entered this country illegally is amnesty. First you'll say they can stick around "for a little while," then after they have kids on U.S. soil you'll say we can't send them back because their kids are U.S. citizens.
Are those here today illegally going to step to the front of the line for the Temporary Guest Worker slots? If so, isn't that injurious to those who wish to get into the program?
Narcissistic views on News/Politics:
I support a guest worker program, but first you stop the illegal immigration, crackdown on illegals already here and then get the worker program going. Trying to have it both ways with water downed proposals is not going to cut it.
Bush Talks Immigration, Now We Need Action!
The Political Teen:
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Some Common Sense:
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Blogs 4 Bush:
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Immigration News Daily:
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The Discerning Texan:
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Capital Region People: