He does not support amnesty but he does support a clear path to citizenship for the 12-20 million illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. According to the President, there is a difference between "those who just recently arrived and those who have been here a long time, those who have established roots and bought a home."
Yes, the difference is the long-term illegal aliens are better at hiding.
The President did say that "we do not yet have full control of our borders" and therefore we must first secure our borders.
He wants to increase the number of border patrol agents by 6,ooo over the next couple of years. During the transition period (while new agents are being hired and trained) the President wants to send 6,000 members of the National Guard down to the southern border.
At first, I found the idea of having armed soldiers down on the border quite appealing—the problem is, President Bush wants to limit their function to construction and...well, basically just construction.
Great...I'm sure illegal aliens will be deterred by the possibility of an American soldier hammering a nail somewhere near their crossing point.
As the President stressed in his remarks "we are not going to militarize the border—remember, Mexico is our neighbor and Mexico is our friend."
Let me explain something: People who leave garbage in my front yard or steal my property or let their dogs leave "presents" in my driveway...they are not my "friends" and my animosity towards them is not somehow dissipated by the fact we're neighbors.
Should it? Being neighbors just limits the amount of travel involved in my retribution plan...is it wrong to think that way?
(Yeah, in Bryanna's neighborhood, your "lost" cat will never be "found" if it shreds my newspaper or even wanders onto my property. Sure, I don't get a lot of block party invites but nobody bugs me either...it's a lovely arrangement really.)
The rest of the speech included calls for more federal funding for state and local authorites, ending the catch-and-release program, holding employers accountable, a temporary guest worker program...
Yep, pretty much the same old, tired rhetoric.
"Millions are here already...they should not be given an autromatic path to citizenship."
"It is neither wise nor reasonable to round up and deport" these people with "long established roots."
He also spoke directly to Congress:
"All elements of immigration reform must be addressed together or none will work."
It sounded like a threat in a way...you know, support my guest worker garbage and give these illegal aliens a path to citizenship or I'll veto your enforcement-only bill.
Could be wrong on that...
Bottom line: If the President hoped to appease the growing dissent with the Republican Party by appearing "tough" on immigration, he failed miserably. In fact, he would have been better off to have said nothing—tonight's speech probably just convinced most of the "undecided" Republicans that Bush II is never going to take this issue seriously.
Then again, I suppose some people believe the arguments—that amnesty or mass deportation are the only options—that no other options remain.
The fact is we can put 10,000 troops on the border, create a limitless guest worker plan, increase funding here and there—it won't work.
Eliminate the perks of illegal immigration and we will eliminate the illegal aliens.
No access to public education. No access to social services. No birthright citizenship/No anchor babies. No home ownership.
The list goes on...I know, I'm sooo mean.
Full text here.