GWB: Still not paying attention on immigration (Updated, bumped)
[Spanish to English, bastante adj.: 1.
We’re with you, George, through thick and thin
We support you still in the mess you’re in,
But enough’s enough and as they say
Bastante! down old Mexico way.
We’re sick of our laws being totally ignored
As our torero, George, you’re getting gored,
Sly foxes laired south of our border
Have reversed the natural feeding order.
This lawlessness on the Rio Grande,
Now threatens us throughout our land,
From President Bush's speech in Tucson this afternoon:
... America has always been a compassionate nation that values the newcomer and takes great pride in our immigrant heritage; yet we're also a nation built on the rule of law, and those who enter the country illegally violate the law. The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society. We can have both at the same time. And to keep the promise of America, we will enforce the laws of our country. ...
... Illegal immigration puts pressure on our schools and hospitals -- I understand that. I understand it strains the resources needed for law enforcement and emergency services. And the vicious human strugglers -- smugglers and gangs that bring illegal immigrants across the border also bring crime to our neighborhoods and danger to the highways. Illegal immigration is a serious challenge. And our responsibility is clear: We are going to protect the border. ...
... We have a comprehensive strategy to reform our immigration system. We're going to secure the border by catching those who enter illegally, and hardening the border to prevent illegal crossings. We're going to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws within our country. And together with Congress, we're going to create a temporary worker program that will take pressure off the border, bring workers from out of the shadows, and reject amnesty.
George, ol' buddy, I was with you till that point. Any "temporary worker program" that allows those who entered this country illegally to stay is amnesty. First you'll say they can stick around "for a little while," then after they have kids on U.S. soil you'll say we can't send them back because their kids are U.S. citizens. Seriously, George, sometimes I wonder if you aren't really as stupid as the democrats say you are. Here's hoping Congress is smarter.
... Our strategy for comprehensive immigration reforms begins by securing the border. Now, let me talk to you about a three-part plan. The first part of the plan is to promptly return every illegal entrant we catch at the border, with no exceptions. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch are from Mexico, and most of them are escorted back across the border within 24 hours.
To prevent them from trying to cross again, we've launched an interesting program, an innovative approach called interior repatriation. Under this program, many Mexicans caught at the border illegally are flown back to Mexico and then bused to their hometowns in the interior part of the country. By returning these illegal immigrants to their home towns far from the border, we make it more difficult for them to attempt to cross again. Interior repatriation is showing promise in breaking the cycle of illegal immigration. ...
.... We're going to expand interior repatriation. We want to make it clear that when people violate immigration laws, they're going to be sent home, and they need to stay at home.
What they need, George, is jail sentences long enough to make them glad to stay home when the finally get there. Not enough jail space? Put up some tents and string some razor wire somewhere out in the desert.
We face a different set of challenges with non-Mexicans that we -- who we catch crossing the border illegally. When non-Mexican illegal immigrants are apprehended, they are initially detained. The problem is that our detention facilities don't have enough beds. And so, about four of every five non-Mexican illegal immigrants we catch are released in society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrives, about 75 percent of those released don't show up to the court. As a result, last year, only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our southwest border were sent home.
This practice of catch and release has been the government's policy for decades. It is an unwise policy and we're going to end it. To help end catch and release, we need to increase the capacity in our detention facilities. Last month at the White House I signed legislation supported by the members of the Arizona delegation that will increase the number of beds in our detention facilities. We're also working to process illegal immigrants through the system more quickly, so we can return them home faster and free up bed space for others.
One of the most effective tools we have in this effort is a process called expedited removal. Under expedited removal, non-Mexicans are detained and placed into streamlined proceedings. It allows us to deport them at an average of 32 days, almost three times faster than usual. In other words, we're cutting through the bureaucracy. Last year we used expedited removal to deport more than 20,000 non-Mexicans caught entering this country illegally between Tucson and Laredo. This program is so successful that the Secretary has expanded it all up and down the border. This is a straightforward idea. It says, when an illegal immigrant knows they'll be caught and sent home, they're less likely to come to the country. That's the message we're trying to send with expedited removal.
We're also pursuing other common-sense steps to accelerate the deportation process. We're pressing foreign governments to take their citizens back promptly. ...
George, did they ask our permission to send their people here to begin with? What to we care if they want them back?
With all these steps, we're delivering justice more effectively, and we're changing the policy from catch and release to the policy of catch and return.
The second part of our plan is to strengthen border -- to strengthen border enforcement is to correct weak and unnecessary provisions in our immigration laws. Under current law, the federal government is required to release people caught crossing our border illegally if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of time. That law doesn't work when it comes time to enforcing the border and it needs to be changed. Those we we're forced to release have included murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals. This undermines our border security. It undermines the work these good folks are doing. And the United States Congress needs to pass legislation to end these senseless rules.
I'm with you there, George. Why are we just now getting around to it?
... We need to address the cycle of endless litigation that clogs our immigration courts and delays justice for immigrants. Some federal courts are now burdened with more than six times as many immigration appeals as they had just a few years ago. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared that illegal immigrants have a right to relitigate before an immigration court as many times as they want. This decision obviously would encourage illegal immigrants who have been deported to sneak back into the country and to re-argue their case. Congress needs to put an end to this cycle of needless litigation and deliver reforms necessary to help us secure this border.
Gee, do ya think?
The third part of our plan to strengthen border enforcement is to stop people from crossing the border illegally in the first place. And we're increasing manpower. We're increasing technology and infrastructure across this border. We're integrating these resources in ways we have never done before.
Since 2001, we've hired 1,900 new Border Patrol agents. I just signed a bill last month that will enable us to add another thousand Border Patrol agents. When we complete these hires, we will have enlarged the Border Patrol by about 3,000 agents from 9,500 the year I took office to 12,500 next year. This is an increase of more than 30 percent, and most of the new agents will be assigned right here in the state of Arizona.
George, we have an Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps available to protect this country from invasion. Why don't we use them?
And to help the agents, we're deploying technologies. Listen, technology can help an individual agent have broader reach and more effectiveness. When agents can take advantage of cutting-edge equipment like overhead surveillance drones and infrared cameras, they can do a better job for all of us.
In Tucson, agents on the ground are directing unmanned aerial technology in the sky, and they're acting rapidly on illegal immigration or illegal activities they may see from the drones. In the months since these unmanned flights began, agents have intercepted a lot of drugs on the border that otherwise -- and people -- that otherwise might have made it through. ....
... In some places, the most effective way to secure the border is to construct physical barriers to entry. The legislation I signed last month includes $70 million to install and improve protective infrastructure across this border. In rural areas, we're funding the construction of new patrol roads to give our agents better access to the border, and new vehicle barriers to keep illegal immigrants from driving across the border.
In urban areas, we're expanding fencing to shut down access to human smuggling corridors. Secretary Chertoff recently used authority granted by the Congress to order the completion of a 14-mile barrier near San Diego that had been held up because of lawsuits. By overcoming endless litigation to finish this vital project we're helping our border agents do their job, and making people who live close to the border more secure.
Our actions to integrate manpower, technology and infrastructure are getting results. And one of the best examples of success is the Arizona Border Control Initiative, which the government launched in 2004. In the first year of this initiative -- now, listen to this, listen how hard these people are working here -- agents in Arizona apprehended nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants, a 42-percent increase over the previous year. We've captured a half-million pounds of marijuana, prosecuted more than 400 people suspected of human smuggling, and seized more than $7 million in cash. You've got some good folks here working hard to do their job, and I appreciate it very much.
George, you just admitted how serious the problem really is. Now when are you really going to get serious about fixing it?
As we work to secure the border, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve enforcement of our laws in the interior of the country. Catching and deporting illegal immigrants along the border is only part of the responsibility. America's immigration laws apply across all of America, and we will enforce those laws throughout our land. Better interior enforcement begins with better work site enforcement. American businesses have an obligation to abide by the law, and our government has the responsibility to help them do so. ...
Help them do so, George? How about making them do so? How about jail sentences and stiff fines for anyone caught employing illegal labor. Dry up the jobs and the illegal will deport themselves.
... As we enforce our immigration laws, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve those laws by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. Workers would be able to register for legal status for a fixed period of time, and then be required to go home. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy, and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.
This plan would also help us relieve pressure on the border. By creating a legal channel for those who enter America to do an honest day's labor, we would reduce the number of workers trying to sneak across the border. This would free up law enforcement officials to focus on criminals, drug dealers, terrorists and others that mean to harm us. Our plan would create a tamper-proof identification card for the temporary legal worker, which, of course, would improve work site enforcement.
Listen, there's a lot of opinions on this proposal -- I understand that. But people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary worker program. The program that I proposed would not create an automatic path to citizenship, it wouldn't provide for amnesty -- I oppose amnesty. Rewarding those who have broken the law would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border.
A temporary worker program, by contrast, would decrease pressure on the border. I support the number of -- increasing the number of annual green cards that can lead to citizenship. But for the sake of justice and for the sake of border security, I'm not going to sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty. ...
OK, George, now I understand. We're going to cut down the number of people entering the country illegally by giving them a legal way in. Duh, that sounds logical!
Our nation has been strengthened by generations of immigrants who became Americans through patience and hard work and assimilation. In this new century, we must continue to welcome immigrants, and to set high standards for those who follow the laws to become a part of our country. Every new citizen of the United States has an obligation to learn our customs and values, including liberty and civic responsibility, equality under God and tolerance for others, and the English language. We will continue to pursue policies that encourage ownership, excellence in education, and give all our citizens a chance to realize the American Dream.
George, you're doing a better job of making the right noises than you were earlier, but you just don't get it, do you? One of the best things you can do to solve our illegal immigration problem is to make life in this country very unpleasant for anyone who isn't supposed to be here. That means strict enforcement of the laws against employing illegals, no welfare checks, and no public schooling for their kids. We need to make them want to go home. After we've done that, we can set up voluntary deportation centers in all the major cities where the illegals can walk in and catch a free ride home. Is it really that complicated?
Michelle Malkin has a great related post here, and don't miss Debbie Schlussel' s posts here and here.
Technorati tag: immigration.
Michelle Malkin live-blogged part of W's speech. Check out her post here.
The Political Teen has video of Bush's speech here.
Sabertooth has an excellent analysis of the "fact sheet" the White House released today here. (Hint: It's still an amnesty.)
Take the NRSC National Survey on Immigration Policy here. (Hat tip: California Conservative)
Don't miss Sabertooth's take on the speech itself here.
Katie's Dad and Michael Cutler have more reactions to Bush's speech here and here.
Also, don't miss Juan Mann's Bush's Expedited Removal" Hypocrisy post.