Monday, May 15, 2006

The Speech: Overall, a Disappointment

The President's immigration speech had some positives, such as a pledge to end "catch and release" programs with more facilities, and there was passing mention of fencing in some areas.

But...the National Guard would not be used for law enforcement, apparently because that would be "militarizing" our border, and "Mexico is our friend." (No, Mexico uses us as an economic and social release valve while refusing to clean its own house.)

Much of the speech focused once again on a guest worker program and amnesty. The President somehow thinks that those illegal aliens who have successfully hidden here for a few years and thus have "deep roots" should have a different status than someone who just came over the border, so those with "deep roots" should have more rights. This was the single most baffling section of the speech. The longer you've been breaking the law, the better off you are. How could this not encourage other illegal aliens to come here now and start the clock running?

We once again heard about illegals doing jobs Americans won't do...well, Americans won't do those jobs at those low wages, which are being paid under the table, without income taxes.

The President advocates cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. I'm all for this if he can accomplish it...but if it hasn't happened in the last two decades, I need some solid assurance that it's really going to happen this time around.

Much of the speech was simply patronizing, miscasting the issue in a "human rights" vein rather than as a law enforcement or national security issue. I strongly disliked this part of the speech: "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." I would venture to say that most Americans are descended from immigrants. None of us needed to be reminded of the value of every human being or of the importance of immigrants -- legal immigrants -- in our society.

The President also suggested that "some in this country want to deport every illegal immigrant." As mentioned at The Corner, is anyone really suggesting this?

I would have liked to hear a suggestion that we put the provisions of California's Proposition 187 into play. That initiative, struck down by the courts as "unconstitutional," would have prevented those here illegally from using taxpayer-funded services such as schools, welfare, and other services. Take those services away, and much of the attraction to move -- or stay -- here in the first place disappears. No deportations necessary.

If the President and Congress actually follow through on his proposals, it's a start. But just that.

I consider myself a Bush supporter and an optimist, but color me skeptical.

Commentary from Captain's Quarters linked above. Ed predicts "a very mixed reaction" to the speech.

The "Live Thread" reacting to the speech at Free Republic is here.

Hugh Hewitt is optimistic.

Michelle Malkin wasn't impressed.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News was very unhappy with the speech.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: "We have an emergency—our borders are out of control and during a time of war. You don't get that sense. Get me Jack Bauer."


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