Bush speaks on immigration

News & Politics

In what was the first ever speech on domestic policy from the Oval Office in his entire presidency, President Bush laid out his plan for immigration reform by giving us a history lesson--"We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a nation of immigrants…"--and by offering a five-point plan.

1. Secure the borders. He'll be asking Congress for funding for 6,000 new border agents by 2008 and plans to launch "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." He'll also be deploying the National Guard to "assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training." But fear not; we're definitely not militarizing the border. Nope. No sir.

2. Create a temporary worker program. "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." In other words, one of those nifty guest worker programs which has done so well in Europe and hasn't at all led to a disenfranchized immigrant population. Come give us your labor, and when we're done with you, you can fuck off. Meanwhile, it will allow employers to continue to pay wages that ensure no American could possibly afford to do those jobs.

3. Tamper-proof identification. "[C]omprehensive 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 tamperproof." Very Big Brother.

4. Opposition to amnesty. Yeah, that's a part of the five-point plan. "[W]e 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." Well, all right then--although this seems like a cheat. I'm not sure stating opposition to a popular idea is technically worth its own point in a multi-point plan.

5. Honor the melting pot. A little Orwellian, that. It's really more like dishonoring the melting pot and demanding conformity, but tomato tomahto. "[W]e 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." Common identity as Americans? Don't get me started.

So that's about it. Oh, wait--there was some stuff about "detention facilities," too.

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