Editor’s note: Each week, WorldNetDaily White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asks the tough questions almost no one else will ask. And each week, WorldNetDaily brings you the transcripts of those dialogues with the president and his spokesman. If you’d like to suggest a question for the White House, submit it to WorldNetDaily’s exclusive interactive forum MR. PRESIDENT!
At today’s White House news briefing, WND asked presidential press secretary Scott McClellan about the president’s view that those involved in the Minuteman Project on the U.S.-Mexican border are vigilantes and confronted the spokesman with Border Patrol comments about agents’ dissatisfaction with Bush.
WND: Scott, WorldNet Daily quotes the largest local union of U.S. Border Patrol agents, Local 2544 in Tucson section, as saying this: “We have not had one single complaint from a rank-and-file agent in this sector about the Minutemen, many of whom are retired firefighters, cops and other professionals. Sensors have been set off by the ACLU sneaking around. If only President Bush were supportive of the rank-and-file agents.” And my question, first question, has the president given any reconsideration to his reference to the Minutemen as vigilantes?
McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, we have great appreciation for the job that our Border Patrol does day in and day out. They work very hard to enforce our borders and to protect the American people and make sure that our borders are secure. So we greatly appreciate the job that they are doing.
And second of all, I mean, I think that we’ve been over this now two or three times, Les, and I think the president’s views were made known, and I’ve expressed what our views are, as well.
WND: Republican Sen. Wayne Allard says we should consider deputizing the Minutemen to help secure our borders. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger clarified his statement as meaning we need to secure our borders. And the Republican-controlled Senate voted down amnesty. Question: Why won’t the president reconsider his vigilante remark and do what is necessary to secure our borders?
McCLELLAN: Well, actually, we are, Les. We have taken a number of steps to improve our border security. We also believe – well, we’ve increased the number of Border Patrol agents along –
WND: Two-hundred instead of 2,000.
McCLELLAN: – along our borders. We’re making use of new technology to help secure our borders. We have taken a number of steps in recent years to achieve that important objective.
The president also believes it’s important – you bring up one – you mentioned amnesty, and the president does not believe we should have a blanket amnesty. He’s made that clear, as well. But the president does believe we should have a more orderly, secure and safe migration system.
And one of the issues before us is immigration reform. There are a number of members that are committed to immigration reform. The president has outlined his approach for moving forward on a temporary worker program that will address two important priorities when it comes to our border. It will – well, address an economic need, and it will address the security challenges that we face, because if we move forward on that plan, it will allow those who are enforcing our borders to focus their efforts on those who are coming here for the wrong reasons, and help us better secure the borders.