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May 15, 2006

The Bush Border Speech - Too Little Too Late

Topics: Immigration and Border Issues

I listened to President Bush's "seventeen minutes and change" speech tonight, and although it was good to hear him finally lay out a brief point by point plan for resolving the immigration crisis, he lost me seconds after I heard the parts about a guest worker program, the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegals, and especially Mexico being our friend and emphasizing, for the benefit of Vincente Fox, that we were not militarizing our borders.

He's right of course, we're not militarizing our borders - we're not doing a damned thing! We're still putting lipstick on a pig, and calling it a hotty.

The problem is, it's still a pig and the speech basically supports the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) which, if enacted, would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years, allowing an estimated 103 million persons to legally immigrate to the U.S. over the next 20 years - fully one-third of the current population of the United States (Human Events Online) .

[...] Much attention has been given to the fact that the bill grants amnesty to some 10 million illegal immigrants. Little or no attention has been given to the fact that the bill would quintuple the rate of legal immigration into the United States, raising, over time, the inflow of legal immigrants from around one million per year to over five million per year. The impact of this increase in legal immigration dwarfs the magnitude of the amnesty provisions.

In contrast to the 103 million immigrants permitted under CIRA, current law allows 19 million legal immigrants over the next twenty years. Relative to current law, then, CIRA would add an extra 84 million legal immigrants to the nation's population.

The figure of 103 million legal immigrants is a reasonable estimate of the actual immigration inflow under the bill and not the maximum number that would be legally permitted to enter. The maximum number that could legally enter would be almost 200 million over twenty years--over 180 million more legal immigrants than current law permits.

Unless we as a nation have lost our collective minds, none of this is acceptable. Our best chance at true and effective immigration reform is absolute closure of the border with at least 15,000 troops and increased technology while we build a fence, as in the kind successfully employed by the Israelis. At the same time we have to begin no-exception strict enforcement of existing laws with the use of foolproof identification cards. Then and only then can we begin to address the problem of what to do with those that have built a life illegally while in our country.

However, my grade for the speech's overall political affect = C. He's already lost his base and will gain nothing from the Left. Call the speech an opportunity lost.

Other coverage:
John Hinderaker at Powerline says "He had his chance" - ...and he blew it. He should have given the speech I told him to. As soon as he started talking about guest worker programs and the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegals, it was all over. President Bush keeps trying to find the middle ground, on this and many other issues. But sometimes, there isn't a viable middle ground. This is one of those instances.

Michelle Malkin is less than impressed.

John Hawkins will have a blogger round-up on the speech up later tonight, but from what he can see, the early reactions range from "so-so" to "complete failure".

Posted by Richard at May 15, 2006 8:37 PM

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