Editor’s note: Joseph Farah is on vacation until July 3.
Many of President Bush’s supporters continue to write to me saying I am not being fair to him on the border issue.
But here are some facts – many of which may be deemed “inconvenient” by the White House, and, if Tony Snow or President Bush himself would like to address them, they are more than welcome.
Until recently, Bush’s rhetoric and actions on the border and illegal immigration meshed. Essentially, he told the American people they were too lazy to work, and the country needed cheap labor from Mexico. This was his rationalization for five or six years of border-security neglect.
Now, however, Bush is sounding a different tune. Last month, in outlining his “comprehensive immigration reform plan,” he said: “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.”
There’s just one problem. He’s not sincerely working toward that goal. Even if the president’s current border security proposals are implemented, the U.S. will still not have secure borders because neither his plan nor the Senate bill he supports includes enough Border Patrol agents, enough fencing, enough equipment and new technology to secure the border.
Earlier this month, Bush made reference to “doubling the size of the Border Patrol during my administration.”
There’s just one problem. Not only has the Border Patrol not been doubled during his administration, the White House has fought against significant increases in its budget every year since 2001. Actually, the Border Patrol was growing faster during the Clinton administration – before Sept. 11, 2001 – than it has since 9-11. The Clinton administration increased the Border Patrol from 4,026 in 1993 to 9,078 when they left office in 2001, an increase of 5,052 agents or 125 percent. Bush has increased the manpower from 9,078 to the 11,800 we have today, an increase of 2,722 agents or 30 percent.
Just last year, four full years after 9-11, the White House’s 2006 budget included funds for only 210 new Border Patrol agents, not the 2,000 new agents authorized by Congress in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004. He still has not adopted the congressional plan to add 2,000 new agents per year for five years.
To sell his neglect of the border and the immigration laws of the land, Bush has purposely redefined the word “amnesty.” He did this once again earlier this month: “Amnesty is: OK, everybody who is here, you’re a citizen. That’s amnesty.”
As I have explained before, “amnesty” has never meant a grant of “automatic citizenship.” Amnesty is, instead, any plan that allows people who entered the country illegally to profit from that lawbreaking.
Once again, earlier this month, Bush reiterated the defamatory statement that illegal aliens are sneaking across the border to “do work Americans aren’t doing.”
There’s just one problem. Of 473 job categories studied by the Center for Immigration Studies for the year 2004, only four – plasters and stucco masons, dressmakers and sewers, agricultural graders and sorters, and miscellaneous personal appearance workers – had a majority of immigrant workers, and only 23 out of 473 job categories (less than 5 percent) had 33 percent or more. More to the point, every single kind of work done by illegal aliens in this country is also performed by Americans.
One of the reasons some jobs are increasingly being taken over by illegals is because they will accept jobs for lower pay. When a construction worker loses a $15 an hour job to an illegal worker who will do it for $8.50, that is not an example of a poor work ethic by Americans.
Bush also recently told Americans: “Since 2001, we have apprehended and sent back 6 million people trying to get in the country.”
There’s just one problem. Since 2001, the U.S. government apprehended 6 million people out of at least 18 million who tried to get into our country, but those 6 million were not sent home. Mexican nationals apprehended are merely put back through the gate to try again the next night or the next week.
Bush also said just last month: “We need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire.”
There’s just one problem. During the eight years of the Clinton administration, 5,587 employers were fined for violating the laws against employing illegal workers, an average of 698 per year. During the first four years of the Bush administration, a total of 218 fines were issued – less than 55 per year. In 2004 only four fines were issued.
Again, last month, Bush claimed: “We have ended the policy of catch-and-release.”
There’s just one problem. Six months after announcing this policy change, thousands of non-Mexicans are still being released for lack of detention space. Worse yet, some of them are from Middle Eastern countries.
Again, just last month, Bush claimed about his amnesty program: “Every worker who applies for the [guest worker] program would be required to pass a criminal background check.”
There’s just one problem. The U.S. government does not have the capability of doing this. The U.S. can only check criminal records within the U.S, not crimes illegal aliens may have committed in their home countries. Mexico does not even have a centralized database of criminal warrants. Tens of thousands of child molesters, car thieves and violent criminals who entered our country illegally would be eligible for a legal work permit under both the president’s plan and the Senate bill passed May 25.
Bush has also stated that under his plan “temporary workers” will go home when their employment term is up: “We’ve got to have a comprehensive approach that includes a temporary worker plan that says you can come and do a job … and then once you finish that time, you go home.”
There’s just one problem. There is no requirement in Bush’s plan or the Senate bill that “temporary” guest workers actually go home after three or six years when their temporary work permit ends. They can then apply for permanent resident alien status (a “green card”) at any time and gain eventual citizenship.
That’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the border and the illegal alien invasion. What do you have to say about that, Tony?
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