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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Reaction to the Bush Speech 

As I've previously stated, there are (at least) three views on illegal immigration:
  • Those who want to deport all the illegal immigrants and not offer any amnesty.

  • Those who want to legalize all the illegal immigrants and not impose any penalties.

  • The Bush plan of securing the border (or pretending to do so) and letting selected people pay penalties and work their way to citizenship.

Here's a sampling of comments on Bush's speech, starting with Blogs for Bush. They think Bush did just fine:

"In a CNN snap poll of 461 people who watched Monday's speech, 42 percent said they had a positive opinion of the president's immigration policies before they heard him speak. Afterward, 67 percent said they had a positive view, a jump of 25 percentage points."

Granted, a majority of those polled were Republican, immigration is a particularly heated issue with Republicans, and Bush certainly needs to win them over. Still, the numbers are good... Nearly 80% had a positive reaction to the speech itself. 75% support the National Guard protecting the border, 69% support the "temporary guest worker" program...

The Portland "Independent" Media Center quotes from the Socialist Equality Party, which is less enthused:

The Socialist Equality Party unequivocally condemns the vicious anti-immigrant policy put forward by President George W. Bush in his speech from the White House Oval Office Monday night. We condemn as well the craven response of the Democratic Party, which embraced in all essentials the administration's attacks on millions of immigrant workers living and working in the US.

Bush's speech was ignorant, short-sighted and reactionary. While crafted with the short-term goal of satisfying both the prejudices of the Republican Party's extreme right-wing base and the profit interests of the American Manufacturers Association, the proposals outlined by the US president have far-reaching and ominous implications.

The plan unveiled by Bush—the deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops on the Mexican border, the drafting of state and local police to hunt down undocumented immigrants, the issuance of new national ID cards and the setting up of massive detention camps for those caught crossing the border—goes a long way in accelerating the drive to create a police state in America.

And you can guess how Lonewacko felt while live-bloging the speech:

Is he insane? This is the same speech he's delivered countless times. Does he expect a different result? Is he intentionally trying to drive his popularity down to 20%?...

Bush has had over five years to secure the border, and it's been well within his ability all that time. It's a matter of will and nothing more. In this speech, he's admitted that he's violated his oath of office....

And Hugh Hewitt changed his mind:

My interview with Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Julie Myers staggered me, undoing in a handful of minutes my confidence in the president's commitment to border security first. Either the president's team had not communicated effectively with sub-cabinet appointees about the fence, or the president doesn't really believe in the fence, because Assistant Secretary Myers is clearly not a proponent of the fence.

Memo to Tony Snow: The blogosphere/talk radio callers/e-mailers are turning against this speech in a decisive fashion. They simply do not believe the Administration is really committed to border enforcement, and the spokespeople sent out to back up the president's message aren't doing that job. Period.

But Hugh forgot to mention Bush's statements during his speech about employer sanctions for hiring illegal aliens. Here is the President's thoughts on the matter:

Maxim Eremine noticed the disconnect between the beginning of Bush's third point ("Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally.") and the end (but these poor employers can't do this because we don't have permanent ID cards):

I almost thought he was going to say that we will punish the businesses and put a few CEOs in jail... but that would be too logical. Of course, those poor CEOs just don’t know that they hire illegal immigrants... So instead of trying to actually resolve this problem, we instead will waste taxpayers’ money on a creation of the “supercard.” Does Halliburton make IDs? Oh yeah, I forgot... diversified portfolio... yep.

But really punishing employers (instead of just pretending to do so) would anger significant opponents of the House version of the legislation:

With immigration reform in the national spotlight, a host of businesses has spoken out against the House bill....Groups opposing the bill include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Associated General Contractors of America, the National Restaurant Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association and organizations representing agricultural sectors.

But remember how this whole immigration thing would be solved if Mexico had a robust economy? According to a statement in early May from the Economy Minister of Mexico, it's happening:

Mexico is working hard to create jobs so that its people do not have to emigrate to find work and expects to add up to 1 million new jobs this year, Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia said Thursday.

He said employment growth and ebbing population growth in Mexico should ease immigration into the United States....

Garcia said the government had undertaken many new efforts to create jobs during the administration of President Vicente Fox, whose six-year term ends this fall.

“They are working intensely in the creation of jobs” by encouraging growth of small and medium-size businesses and improving education and infrastructure, Garcia said.

And Fox has also raised the minimum wage to almost six dollars...a day. That will help.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Thank God they can still take bullets for us defending a country that despises them so much.
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