I’ve almost written more on the issue of illegal aliens and border insecurity than I can bear.
But President Bush’s deceptive con game needs to be addressed. So here is my point-by-point rebuttal to his speech last night:
Bush: “We must begin by recognizing the problems with our immigration system. For decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders. As a result, many who want to work in our economy have been able to sneak across our border and millions have stayed.”
Farah: Why has it taken you nearly six years in office and the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history to realize the United States is “not in complete control of its borders”? That’s got to be the biggest understatement since Gen. Custer said: “Over that hill I think there are a few friendly Indians.” Also, Bush knows that many – no one knows for sure how many – have sneaked across the border not for work, but specifically to do America harm. Others have come to leech on our public welfare system.
Bush: “Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to verify that the workers they hire are legal. Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities. These are real problems, yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life, but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law.”
Farah: Give me a break. Many of the largest employers in America are actively recruiting illegal aliens knowing just who they are and what they are. Is it possible to hire an illegal alien by accident or mistake? Of course. Is that what Bush’s agribusiness backers are doing? No. Is that what his meatpacking and poultry producing friends are doing? No. Is that what Bush’s other Big Business friends are doing? No. Personally, I am beyond the point at which I can stomach any further morality lessons from a president who himself has broken his oath to uphold the Constitution and his duty to enforce the duly enacted immigration laws of the U.S. Congress. Please don’t lecture the American people, Mr. President. They are the ones who “are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith and lead responsible lives.” It seems, because of your malfeasance, they are also the ones who are beyond the protection of American law.
Bush: “We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will accomplish five clear objectives.”
Farah: Nonsense. Laws are laws. Traditions are traditions. No one is duty bound to uphold traditions. The American people have the right to decide today they don’t want any more immigration in this country – legal or illegal. And the president has the duty to carry out their will and the law of the land. The president is not elected to interpret America’s traditions and ensure they are upheld. He is the head of the executive branch of government and is honor bound to carry out and enforce laws. Period. Stop obfuscating. Stop confusing the issue, Mr. President. The American people are too smart for this. It’s too late to pull the wool over their eyes on a crisis of your own making.
Bush: “First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers and terrorists.”
Farah: This is quite a concession. Do you mean it, Mr. President? A year ago, you told the American people we needed more illegal immigration because U.S. citizens were just too lazy and greedy to do the jobs only the illegals were willing to do. Why the change of mind? Could it have something to do with 30 percent approval ratings? What took you so long to come to this obvious conclusion? And what are you going to do to ensure that you correct your error of the last six years? There are plenty of criminals, drug dealers and terrorists already here – as you well know.
Bush: “I was the governor of a state that has a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. So I know how difficult it is to enforce the border, and how important it is. Since I became president, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. The men and women of our Border Patrol are doing a fine job in difficult circumstances, and over the past five years, we have apprehended and sent home about 6 million people entering America illegally.”
Farah: Why did you forget that experience in Texas for so long? What caused the awakening after six years? You may have permitted a slight increase in Border Patrol hires in your tenure as president, but you actually refused to hire as many as the U.S. Congress mandated you to hire – an additional 2,000 a year. Why? And, by the way, how many of those 6 million deportees were repeat offenders? And how is it fair to apprehend some, while knowingly permitting others to stay? Isn’t it counterproductive to welcome illegals as you have done during your two terms as president, while paying thousands of Border Patrol agents to apprehend a small percentage of those responding to your frequent invitations to flout our laws?
Bush: “Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. 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.”
Farah: Congress has already provided the funding to do what you are suggesting here. Are you attempting to shift blame to the Congress for your refusal to enforce existing immigration laws?
Bush: “At the same time, we are launching the most technologically advanced border security 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 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.”
Farah: Not good enough. This is our country we’re talking about. We want the same kind of protection you demand at the White House – barriers. The day you, Mr. President, are willing to tear down the physical barriers surrounding the White House and rely on cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles for the physical protection of the White House, then maybe the American people will accept this half-measure as the way to protect our border. But as long as you rely on armed guards and barriers to protect your house, why should the rest of the American people be left exposed to the onslaught of this invasion?
Bush: “Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I am announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:”
Farah: Why didn’t you start earlier?
Bush: “One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. 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. It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, respond to natural disasters, and help secure our border.”
Farah: I’m speechless. What took you so long?
Bush: “The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to improve security on both sides of the border, to confront common problems like drug trafficking and crime, and to reduce illegal immigration.”
Farah: How is Mexico our friend?
Bush: “Another way to help during this period of transition is through state and local law enforcement in our border communities. So we will increase federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol on targeted enforcement missions. And we will give state and local authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers apprehend and detain illegal immigrants. State and local law enforcement officials are an important resource and they are part of our strategy to secure our border communities.”
Farah: Why “targeted enforcement missions”? Why not turn loose our local and state law enforcement agencies to round up illegals whenever and wherever they are found? Why not provide incentives and support to do just that? The answer: Because you are not serious about your proposal. For whatever reason, you want to legalize millions of law-breaking aliens. Admit it.
Bush: “The steps I have outlined will improve our ability to catch people entering our country illegally. At the same time, we must ensure that every illegal immigrant we catch crossing our southern border is returned home. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch crossing the southern border are Mexicans, and most are sent back home within 24 hours. But when we catch illegal immigrants from other countries, it is not as easy to send them home. For many years, the government did not have enough space in our detention facilities to hold them while the legal process unfolded. So most were released back into our society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrived, the vast majority did not show up. This practice, called ‘catch and release,’ is unacceptable and we will end it.”
Farah: So, let me get this straight. Now that the horse is loose, we’re closing the barn door.
Bush: “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. When people know that they will be caught and sent home if they enter our country illegally, they will be less likely to try to sneak in.”
Farah: Wow! What a revelation. Why did it take 9-11, plus five years of infiltrations into our country to come to such a startling conclusion?
Bush: “Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary-worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.”
Farah: Here it is – the amnesty card being played once again. He’s like a broken record.
Bush: “Therefore, 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.”
Farah: In other words, 12 million to 15 million illegal aliens already here are not enough? We need more? I say let businesses that need workers raise wages and hire willing AMERICANS!
Bush: “A temporary-worker program would meet the needs of our economy, and it would give honest immigrants a way to provide for their families while respecting the law. A temporary-worker program would reduce the appeal of human smugglers and make it less likely that people would risk their lives to cross the border. It would ease the financial burden on state and local governments, by replacing illegal workers with lawful taxpayers. And above all, a temporary-worker program would add to our security by making certain we know who is in our country and why they are here.”
Farah: I smell a new bureaucracy that will soon dwarf the size and scope and budget of the Border Patrol. Why is it impossible to deport illegal aliens already here, but feasible to create a new bureaucracy to manage millions more?
Bush: “Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof. A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law and leave employers with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place.”
Farah: If we can put these things in the hands of millions of illegal aliens, why can’t we just deport them?
Bush: “Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.”
Farah: How do you promote amnesty while denouncing it at the same time? You simply change its definition. Amnesty has nothing to do with “putting anyone on an automatic path to citizenship.” This is an invention of the Bush administration – one used deliberately to obfuscate, confuse the issue. Just for the record – and to spare you the time of looking it up – Webster’s New World defines amnesty as follows: 1. a pardon, especially for political offenses against a government; 2. a deliberate overlooking, as of an offense. That, just for the record, is exactly what Bush is proposing here.
Bush: “Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation. That middle ground recognizes 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. 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. What I have just described is not amnesty – it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.”
Farah: Again, amnesty has nothing to do with citizenship. But it seems Bush is not only preparing to give millions of illegal aliens amnesty, but citizenship, too.
Bush: “Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. 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. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery [store], from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit and they add to the unity of America.”
Farah: Respect for the melting pot? It is Bush who has disrespected it for too long. Please, don’t lecture me on the American tradition after betraying the American tradition.
Bush: “Tonight, I want to speak directly to members of the House and the Senate: An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together or none of them will be solved at all. The House has passed an immigration bill. The Senate should act by the end of this month so we can work out the differences between the two bills, and Congress can pass a comprehensive bill for me to sign into law.”
Farah: Translation? “I need an amnesty bill.”
Bush: “America needs to conduct this debate on immigration 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.”
Farah: Who was it, again, who called the Minutemen heroes “vigilantes”?
Bush: “I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came here from another country with dreams of a better life. You know what freedom meant to them, and you know that America is a more hopeful country because of their hard work and sacrifice. As president, I have had the opportunity to meet people of many backgrounds, and hear what America means to them. On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able. During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean was seriously injured. When asked if he had any requests, he made two – a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him, and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.”
Farah: Yes, my grandparents came here – LEGALLY!
Bush: “We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they have always been – people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. And America remains what she has always been – the great hope on the horizon, an open door to the future, a blessed and promised land. We honor the heritage of all who come here, no matter where they are from, because we trust in our country’s genius for making us all Americans, one nation under God. Thank you, and good night.”
Farah: America will not remain a blessed and promised land much longer with leadership like that provided by you, Mr. President.