Did President Bush just make the second most unpopular proposal of his presidency…. sending the national guard to the borders to help the border patrol deter illegal immigration? A transcript of his remarks tonight is here.
Sen. Wayne Allard favors the proposal even though he states we may not have enough National Guard.
Allard acknowledged the Guard already is stretched thin with deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere. Adding new long-term missions, such as border security, could make it more difficult for the National Guard to respond to emergencies, Allard said in the statement.
Tom Tancredo had this comment:
If the president thinks by taking one step forward with enforcement the House will follow him two steps backwards with amnesty, he’s confusing us with the Senate. The American people understand that blanket amnesty is not a pre-requisite for border security.”
What about Sen. Ken Salazar, who likely will play a major role in any House-Senate negotiations?
“I am deeply concerned that the militarization of our borders, both to the north and to the south, is a shortsighted strategy which has far reaching repercussions on our relationships with nations throughout the Western hemisphere,” he said in a statement prior to the president’s speech. “We do not need another short-term fix to the immigration problem, but a long-term, comprehensive solution to securing our borders, enforcing our laws and dealing with the human and economic reality of the millions of undocumented workers currently living in the U.S.”
The only Colorado congressional candidate from whom I received a response to the speech so far is Peggy Lamm, who issued a campaign release:
“… it’s hard to see the president’s speech as anything more than just an election year photo-op for Republicans who are desperate to change the subject from their failures on Iraq, the budget, Katrina and prescription drugs.
“A real plan to address illegal immigration would start with the basics â€“ enforcing the laws that are already on the books by cracking down on corporations that hire undocumented workers. Right now, businesses are illegally hiring workers with no consequences. That must stop.
….All that was missing from President Bush’s performance tonight was the flight suit.”
Back to the speech. The ACLU is calling on President Bush not to send military troops to the border.
“Turning immigration enforcement policy into another military operation is not the answer. The president’s proposed deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from getting into the business of civilian law enforcement.
“In addition, the president’s proposal for a so-called tamper-proof employment ID card is both unworkable and unwise. It is unworkable because any card can be forged, stolen or counterfeited. And it is unwise because it will not deter people from working illegally and it will certainly put us on the path to a national ID card system, which will inevitably be used to control the activities of every American.
President Bush clearly signaled tonight that criminalization of undocumented presence in the U.S. will be a big component of any immigration plan. Families will be separated by his proposal that the undocumented presently in the country must return to their home countries before seeking citizenship. Sen. Salazar also believes a bill must emphasize enforcement.
I wonder Sen. Salazar feels about the component of the President’s plan that those applying for citizenship must be able to speak English?
This bill is not going to satisfy those on either side of the debate. What do you think, is a bad immigration bill better than no bill at all?