President's Immigration Speech Lacks Credibility

If President George W. Bush had given his May 15 speech calling for immigration reform five years earlier, we would have believed him. Now, after five years of doing nothing to protect our borders, he is not credible.

The problems he eloquently expressed didn’t just emerge this year. They existed when he took office and throughout the last five years when he did nothing to correct them.

These problems include:

  • The pitiful number Border Patrol agents.
  • The millions of illegal immigrants smuggled into the United States across the desert or in crowded 18-wheelers.
  •  The dangerous policy called catch-and-release, which Bush piously labels “not acceptable.”
  • The employers permitted to hire illegal immigrants with forged documents.
  • The unconscionable cost of illegal immigrant in schools, hospitals and social agencies borne by taxpayers.
  • The crime associated with illegal immigration and an uncontrolled border.

For five years, Bush and the Republican Party establishment have treated U.S. citizens who demanded action with stony, indeed, arrogant disdain. So why should we believe the president now when he suddenly pretends to discover what we have been telling him for five years?

The president’s speech repeatedly demanded a “comprehensive” immigration bill. He made clear that “comprehensive” includes legalization and the path to citizenship for the 12 million immigrants residing illegally in the United States, plus allowing employers to import an unlimited number of “willing foreign workers” whom he describes as “temporary.”
The American people are smart enough to know that the former is amnesty, and the latter is a fiction. There is no such thing as “temporary” guest workers; history proves they never go home.
Bush seems to think that we will be comforted by 6,000 National Guardsmen sent to the U.S.-Mexico border for one year — not to guard the border, but merely to “assist” our Border Patrol. This has the ring of a political photo op.

We currently have 37,000 troops guarding the 151-mile border between North Korea and South Korea, but we have fewer than 12,000 agents to monitor 2,000 miles of the U.S./Mexico border.

In 1986, Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform: amnesty for 3 million, promises for border security and sanctions on employers who hired illegal immigrants. If we couldn’t trust President Ronald Reagan to see that the law was faithfully executed, we surely are not going to trust Bush’s promises. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

In his speech, Bush bragged, “We have apprehended and sent home about 6 million people entering America illegally.” However, he didn’t say how many of those 6 million were repeats. Maybe a truthful figure would be 1 million people deported six times. After all, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States increased by 5 million since Bush became president.

In November 2005, authorities accused an illegal immigrant identified as Jorge Hernandez of driving at more than 100 mph on the wrong side of Interstate 485 and causing an accident that killed University of North Carolina freshman Min Soon Chang. Hernandez had been returned to Mexico 17 times, authorities say. Did Bush count him 17 times in his 6 million figure?

Bush’s choice of verbs shows that his promises of border barriers, technology and more agents are nothing but pie in the sky. All the good stuff that he proposed was prefaced by the words “we will”; he never said “we are” doing these things.

Bush said, “To secure the border effectively we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.” That’s impossible. The Pew Hispanic Center reports that 46 percent of the population of Mexico would like to live in the United States, and 20 percent would come illegally if they could.

Bush said, “Businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees.” On the contrary, the technology is already in place for employers to verify the legality of Social Security numbers, but only a tiny percentage of employers voluntarily do this, and Bush didn’t say anything about making this practice mandatory.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the only U.S. senator in touch with reality on this issue, says the 614-page so-called “compromise” Senate bill is “breathtakingly unsatisfactory.” The new Heritage Foundation study reports that it would import 103 million legal immigrants over the next 20 years, which would be one-third of our current population.

All Senate bills would vastly increase our tax burden for entitlements. Half of all adult illegal aliens in the United States have less than a high school education, have high levels of out-of-wedlock births, and are heavy users of taxpayer-paid social benefits.

Bush wants to give U.S. jobs to foreigners so they can rise “from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own.” He shows no compassion for the millions of American high school dropouts who need entry-level jobs so they can start building a life.

Bush was correct when he said this is the “time of decision.” Republicans who want to be elected this November should pass the Sensenbrenner House border-security-only bill without any Bush plans to import more foreigners to take jobs from Americans.