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The Immigration Speech
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, May 15, 2006

President Bush gave the much-awaited speech this evening on illegal immigration (full text).

I guess the good was that the president stressed assimilation and English fluency. The bad was that it was probably too little, too late.

What the administration has spent the last couple of years doing is explaining that we need the wogs to do the nasty jobs that lazy Americans won't do, therefore, we need to give them some path to citizenship, so that lazy, fat Americans don't have to pick vegetables. He stayed away from that line of reasoning this evening. But, that seems to me like a politically-motivated conversion, rather than a statement of Mr. Bush's core principles.

His pledge to strengthen border enforcement by adding 6,000 guardsmen, and replacing them over time with 6,000 new Border Patrol agents sounds interesting superficially. But it ignores the fact that, so far, his domestic budgets have made the doubling of the BP a financial impossibility. That says more about the Bush Administration's preferred policy than his speech of this evening.

One passage of the speech stuck me as being literally fantastic:
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. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive 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 tamper-proof. A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law, and leave employers with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place.
The proposed solution here does absolutely nothing to solve the problem of getting employers to "account for the workers they hire". Follow the reasoning here:

1. Currently, there's a booming market in forged social security cards.
2. Social Security cards are childishly easy to forge.
3. Presenting a Social Security card to an employer is prima facie evidence that you are employable.

So, you can create a super-high tech "green card" all you want, but when an employee presents a Social Security card, and says he's an American, an employer won't ask to see the super high-tech green card. He has no reason to. So, the president's "solution" sounds good, but without a major change in employment law, it will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem of either illegal immigrant employment, or the black market in Social Security cards. Otherwise, the illegal, when faced with the difficulty of obtaining the super high-tech green card, or the forged Sociual Security card, will always choose the latter.

I think that John Hinderaker—hardly one of this blog's favorite bloggers—has it pretty close to right:
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.
If this was, as Hinderaker guesses, the president's big push to garner public support and help save his second term...well...he probably didn't do it tonight.

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt, who's usually a reliable pro-administration cheerleader, accepts reality:
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.

It is all about the fence. The real fence.
The bottom line: The American people in general, and the Republican base in particular, simply don't trust the president on this issue. The president's past positioning on this issue, I think, adequately explains why.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Perhaps the fence can be named the "Anti-Faschistischer," er, "Anti-Schreckensherrschaft," er, "Anti-Gastarbeiter Schutzwall"?
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
His points were not bad, and I could live with it, but except for the little thing of; I don’t trust the administration or congress at all, not even a little bit. So I want only enforcement for a while before considering any other things.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I want more protests!!! Rush hour was a breeze on those days!!
 
Written By: Jud Black
URL: http://
We have been down this road too many times to have any faith in our elected leaders to actually do anything about the out of control illegal immigration that is effecting America.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
I cannot wait until the MSM starts running the human interest stories showing families being torn apart and women and children being forced onto buses.

Mind you, I support the deportations and a fence...but I wonder what the numbers will look like once the media begins their campaign. Somehow I suspect it will show less support than right now - otherwise why didn’t this play well for Wilson and others?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I guess the good was that the president stressed assimilation and English fluency. The bad was that it was probably too little, too late.
Why on earth should a self-proclaimed libertarian care if an immigrant, legal or otherwise, be fluent in English?

Shouldn’t the market take care of that?
Shouldn’t it be up to the individual whether or not he/she learns English?
If one’s picking lettuce, do they need to speak English?

If a Spanish speaking immigrant has not the desire, or perhaps the ability, to learn English, then he/she will forever be a migrant farm worker or whatever. Isn’t it the libertarian/conservative position that one needs to pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps and what not?
If a Spanish speaking immigrant decides to better his/herself, then that Spanish speaking immigrant can learn English, go to school, get a diploma, and move up in the world… But tell me again how that is the government’s business to require said knowledge? Isn’t it up to the individual?

It’s not as though anyone’s suggesting a guest worker program for doctors and such. But if a Spanish speaking migrant farm worker wishes to become a doctor, they have all of the opportunity in the world. It’s their choice.
Right?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
If a Spanish speaking immigrant has not the desire, or perhaps the ability, to learn English, then he/she will forever be a migrant farm worker or whatever. Isn’t it the libertarian/conservative position that one needs to pull oneself up by one’s own bootstraps and what not?
If you are referring to paleolibertarians, then, I guess so. You’ll note, however, that we don’t describe ourselves as being in that category.

Unolike the paleolibertarians, I don’t believe man is purely homo economicus. Moreover, I beleive the American people, in their republican majesty, can legitimately place any conditions they desire on the ability of others to enter or stay in this country.

In short, I don’t care what libertarians are supposed to beleive. I care what I believe. Those who imply that I must believe something different can go screw themselves.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I beleive [sic] the American people, in their republican majesty, can legitimately place any conditions they desire on the ability of others to enter or stay in this country.

Even so, we might reasonably ask whether any such policy is morally justifiable and not merely instrumentally sensible. So please forgive the possibly gratuitous cheap shot here, but would anyone like to support the proposition, for example, that immigration could "legitimately" be "White Only"?
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
Why on earth should a self-proclaimed libertarian care if an immigrant, legal or otherwise, be fluent in English?
I just love it when leftists propose "We’ll contruct society in our vision, then seize on one, out of context, principle of yours to require you to like it."

What is missing from this is that under that same principle, there is no requirement to accomodate them, up to the point that if the foreigner comes ino the ER, speaking their foreign laguage, and dies because he can neither understand or answer the questions put to him, like, "Where does it hurt?" then it is his problem; and the lawsuit that arises would be summarily dismissed.

Once you do away with the laws that force accomodation in both the public and private sphere for all those who choose not to assimilate and learn the national language, please feel free to come back and ask that question again. It will actually be germaine to the discussion then.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
"but would anyone like to support the proposition, for example, that immigration could "legitimately" be "White Only"?"

And the relevance of this proposition is...?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"but would anyone like to support the proposition, for example, that immigration could "legitimately" be "White Only"?"

And the relevance of this proposition is...?
I think you may have the wrong website.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The relevance of the proposition is that there are significant differences between what is acceptable in the private sphere and the public sphere, even to libertarians of the nonpaleo- variety. As such, the proposition that the people, "in their republican majesty," should be permitted to enact any sort of immigration restrictions their majestic little hearts desire is not only anathema to any sense of libertarianism, its reductio ad absurdum in such examples as "White Only" is facially immoral.

I did not for a second mean to suggest that Mr. Franks was taking a position that intentionally sanctioned state sponsored racism even implicitly, but I do believe that what he wrote conflates what is acceptable as a matter of private choice (if you want to associate only with Lutherans over 6’ tall, that’s your business) with what is acceptable as a matter of public policy. I was therefore pointing out that his statement as he wrote it seems unduly broad and sweeping to me and gave a reason why.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
that immigration could "legitimately" be "White Only"?"
The characteristic of sharing a language is under everyone’s control. Your argument is based on physical characteristics. I can choose to learn a language. I can not choose to change my skin color, height, weight, etc...
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
meagain, I would have hoped that the point of my argument was clear, but it was decidedly not to argue for such a policy.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
DA - I did not mean to say i thought you were arguing for such a policy. I meant only to state that there is a distinct difference between requiring a common language and requiring common DNA or some such thing as that. ’White only’ and ’english only’ are not eaual statememts.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
As such, the proposition that the people, "in their republican majesty," should be permitted to enact any sort of immigration restrictions their majestic little hearts desire is not only anathema to any sense of libertarianism, its reductio ad absurdum in such examples as "White Only" is facially immoral.

And the idea that Libertarians would allow to emigrate to this country people who’s political bent is anti-libertarian is dumb as a sack of hammers. It’s a strident and utopianist posturing, lacking any practicality.

The argument is consistently put forward that illegal aliens want nothing but the most libertarian of goals - to live free, to work hard, yadda, yadda, yadda; but when the cold reality is examined this proposition is clearly laughable, with pro-illegal activists and lobbyists demanding "free" this, and "free" that, and forced (read: Government mandated at gunpoint) accomodation on language, etc.

Like it or not, the most polite term that could be applied to Mexico - and the fifth-columnists Vincente Fox is sending north - is "socialist;" and even if this were a Libertarian Majority Country such an influx would be nothing less than a malignancy that should not be encouraged. It is bad enough to deal with such native jackassery, to import it is beyond stupid.

While I am sure that many might object tio the elitist sound of this, it is truth: Our country should be regarded as an elite club. And we should not, under any circumstances, permit the immigration of those whose interests are anathema to our own national principles.

Yes, by all means. Liberty is the birthright of every human being. It is not, however, an innate human state of being. We often say "We should not export it by the sword. Very true. If people wish to live under a totalitarian regime, it is their right. And it is their right to resist another form of government being placed over them. It would be right for them to say to libertarian immigrants "Go back! You’re nothing but trouble, we regard our native libertarians as a pain in the tuchis, and we don’t want any more of your kind in from the outside!"

We have that right too.
 
Written By: Pete Jensen
URL: http://
Biometrics Security and Illegal Immigration

The speech was very clear: from now on, any foreigner willing to go legally in the United States in order to work there will have to communicate his fingerprints while entering the country.They will have to subject themselves to these procedures, formerly only imposed to criminals and to spies, not to immigrants and visitors, and even less to citizens.

Indeed, Bush said in his addresses on Immigration Reform:

“A key part of that system [for verifying documents and work eligibility of aliens] should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof.”

The proposal launched by president Bush to deploy the National Guard at the Mexican border and to introduce sophisticated electronic devices is only part of a brilliant communication strategy. Its actual function is not to protect the border, but to direct public attention far from the true reform set in motion by the Bush Administration: biometric security.

http://www.magmareport.net/biometrics.html
 
Written By: Magma Report
URL: http://magmareport.net
When we are talking about the requirements for someone to enter the country, aren’t we in the same breath asking "what is an American?"

Is it "one who consumes?" Or "makers of debt?" Or "someone who speaks English?"

I don’t personally feel it’s as imperative to learn English as it is to be able to demonstrate basic understanding of our country’s primary documents. And by that I, of course, mean the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It seems to me we should make that an intrinsic part of what it means to be "American" in the first place, even if that means casting light on ourselves and exposing a few (or more) weak areas in this regard.

To be a bit more specific, I’d like to see an immigrant be able recite to, say, a 75% passing level the protections afforded us in the Bill of Rights. They should be able to demonstrate that they understand this document in at least a rudimentary way. If they couldn’t at least do that, would they really be "Americans"?

Of course, immigrants becoming proficient on this point would probably embarrass every other Simpsons-watching member of our fine country, probably even me. But that doesn’t make it any less true as an initial measurement and I think it should be a risk we’re willing to take.
 
Written By: Hans Eisenman
URL: http://www.hanseisenman.com

 
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