Bush Speaks On Immigration
Sounding more like a moderate, than a hard-nosed conservative, Pres. Bush addressed the nation last night. Although I cannot stand the man, I did find myself nodding to a few key points, notably reforming the current system. I did however, disagree with his idea of not allowing illegal immigrants, who are already here & are productive members of our country a pathway to citizenship.
Missed the speech? Here is the quick & dirty version of Bush's proposed 5-point plan to reform immigration.
We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We're also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will accomplish five clear objectives.
First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.
[hmm...grouping illegals with Bush's favorite buzz word "terrorists"]
Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life.
Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.
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.
Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.
Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border. There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation. That middle ground recognizes that there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record. I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law...to pay their taxes...to learn English...and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.
[Isn't this a pathway to citizenship? I think by reiterating that he isn't agreeing to amnesty, but offering this solution...he is still proposing a pathway to citizenship. Which, I feel, is totally necessary to those immigrants who are already here and contributing to America's growth.]
Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery...from cleaning offices to running offices...from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams...they renew our spirit...and they add to the unity of America.
[and in closing...he says...]
America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone’s fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain.
[Amen to that Bushie. Although I am not a fan of his politics, I do agree that we must continue to debate and work through the issues of immigration. This is just one of many issues that we MUST talk about if we are able to proceed as a unified country. So here we are again. What are your thoughts on this issues, Bush's ideas, or any proposed ideas of your own. Let's talk about it...]
Missed the press confrence. Read it here.
Related Tags: President Bush, Immigration, NY Times, Politics, Guest Worker Program, Pathway to Citizenship, Citizenship, Mexicans, Illegal Immigrants, Borders