This is Fred Barnes.
This is Fred Barnes on peyote:
WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNED THE Homeland Security Appropriations Act six weeks ago, he did it in the East Room of the White House in a glossy ceremony befitting an occasion of Republican unity. Which is what it was, right up to the moment when Bush started talking about illegal immigrants. "They want to provide for their families," he said sympathetically. "Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to put food on the table." He went on to plug his proposal for a "guest worker" program to allow illegals, in the United States or abroad, to work here and even stay permanently. A number of Republicans at the event were furious. They want to secure America's southern border tightly. But Bush's ideas about turning unlawful immigrants into American citizens are anathema to them.
So the Republican rift on immigration endures. Ten days before the ceremony, 82 House Republicans had written the president, urging him to push for immigration legislation to beef up border security--but nothing more. Bush's comments at the signing ceremony amounted to a flat rejection of their appeal. Indeed, the president begins a public campaign this week to take on the entire immigration issue--the border, the need for foreign workers, the 11 million illegal immigrants already living here--all at once.
It's an ambitious undertaking, especially for a president suffering from a dip in popularity and influence. And there are many obstacles to success in the House and the Senate. Still, achieving comprehensive immigration reform is possible.
Bush will need a few breaks and a few new allies. But the good news is that he has a strategy.
Imagine what finally dealing boldly with America's immigration problem could do.
"Finally dealing boldly with America's immigration problem?" Check the man's blood for intoxicants.
Who does Barnes think he's kidding? Maybe Michael Barone or Dick Morris, but not anyone who's been paying attention to President Bush's ongoing efforts to legalize millions of illegal aliens. There is nothing in the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005 that didn't obviously need to be implemented in mid-September of 2001. President Bush has a reputation as a slacker on border security because he gets hives anytime he thinks about the least hangnail of inconvenience for illegal aliens. Barnes is as loopy in this column as Michael Barone was in his misleading piece "Getting immigration right."
Bush's "strategy" isn't news at all; he's been sloganeering his "family values do not stop at the Rio Grande" schtick for years: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. There's no sign he'll stop anytime soon; he thinks it's a cute thing to say.
Is it the President's position that those who don't break our immigration laws don't have strong family values? I dare him to say so, and you and I both know that he wouldn't. Of course he'd concede that there are tens of millions of potential guest workers with great family values who've never broken our laws.
So why does President Bush prattle on on and about family values whenever he's discussing illegals? Because he's compassionate? He'd probably like to think so, but it ain't so. The Bush Amnesty would grant vast preferences to illegals who've also worked illegally, over potential guest workers who haven't broken our laws. The only objective criterion for this injustice would be that the illegal has broken several laws and other potential guest workers haven't.
The Bush Amnesty would match willing workers with willing employers. Illegals, however would already have their willing employers because they've cheated to get them. Law abiding guest worker applicants with good family values would never have a chance at those jobs, nor for the guest worker status those particular jobs would confer, because the illegals have stolen their way to the front of the line.
Let's take two men, one illegal working here illegally at a meat packing plant, and one foreign national who would like to be a meat packer but hasn't broken our laws. Let's assume they both work hard and have great family values. Under a Bush Amnesty, who would get to be a guest worker matched with the willing employer at the meat packing plant? The illegal would be rewarded, not because of his family values, not because he's a hard worker, but only because he's a cheater and has already taken the job illegally. If family values or a good work ethic were really the qualities rewarded by a Bush Amnesty, then the illegal and the law abiding applicant would be at a draw on those qualities, since both have them. Most people would then give preference to the man who hasn't broken our laws, but not President Bush or any of the the other self-deluded politicians and pundits who can't imagine a future that doesn't legalize at least two or three times as many illegals as the Reagan Amnesty did.
How many illegals would have their status changed to guest worker under a Bush Amnesty? Five million? Ten million? Then that's five or ten million potential guest workers who've respected our laws who would be told by President Bush, "tough luck, chump, maybe next year." Meantime, the illegals who were amnestied by Bush and his allies would get the government seal of approval on their trespassing.
It's actually possible to have guest workers without giving preference to illegals. In fact, by requiring that guest workers apply for the program from their own countries, we give illegals a positive incentive to leave on their own, instead of giving the law-abiding applicants the message that they've been fools to obey our laws.
Fred Barnes tells us that that soon President Bush will trot out his tired, dishonest bag of pro-illegal alien rhetoric once again, and both apparently hope that you and I don't understand the facts. Maybe they think we're the ones on peyote.
(Hat tip: Lonewacko.) Hello, Michelle Malkin readers!
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