Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH AND THE BORDER, EVENING EDITION....The immigration speech seemed like it was mostly just the same 'ol same 'ol. Nickel version: Beef up the borders with troops and high tech wizardry but insist that it's not "militarization"; start up a guest worker program that's not called a guest worker program; introduce an amnesty program but insist that it's not an amnesty program (it's not, it's not, it's not!); and crack down on employers who employ illegal immigrants while pretending that they're actually victims of highly sophisticated fraud rather than willing coconspirators aided and abetted by the business wing of the Republican Party.

Actually, I don't really have anything against most of this stuff. Bush's position on immigration seems surprisingly reasonable to me. But it's still kind of fun watching him bob and weave and choose his words with such delicate care in order to avoid the "first fully televised political suicide in history," courtesy of the wingnut base he's spent his life pandering to.

A full transcript of the speech is here.

Kevin Drum 8:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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Comments

Guest worker program, stretched too thin troops at border, failing to seriously admit actual problems (the only way we will be able to deal with them properly) does not really seem "reasonable" to me.

Posted by: Joe on May 15, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe its just me, but that whole biometric ID card really makes me nervous.

Posted by: Kalira on May 15, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Frist-but I didn't watch-disturbs digestion. But we did attend an event for RUSS FEINGOLD-talk about both ends of the evolutionary scale! RUSS ROCKS!

Posted by: beth on May 15, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Kevin?

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_rob_kall_060515_jason_leopold_update.htm

Posted by: ahem... on May 15, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

I strongly second Jason's comment. People will get shot. Since any moron could predict this, and since Bush and Co. will not like the political fallout, I suspect the whole scheme will never be implemented.

Unless they really are incompetent fools......

Posted by: Ethan on May 15, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the guest worker program is a form of indentured servatude. Its basically a way for employers to completely controll workers working for them.

Posted by: Rob on May 15, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Two deal breakers here:

1) the guest worker idea. Look how well it's worked out in Germany.

2) the requirement that in order to be legalized, they'll have to hold a job. This slipped by everybody. Imagine being someone trying to get legal and having this hanging over you. Employers won't *need* to be willing coconspirators; they can just threaten to fire you anytime during the 15 or so years it'll take to get legal. Talk about leverage!

Posted by: Altoid on May 15, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure there are MORE ways to overstretch our military. After all, it's just during election season.

Eventually, the troops can all go on unemployment, get drug-addicted and commit suicide in mass numbers -- preferably during a Democratic administration. The Uniter-Decider will be safe behind corporate gates by then, and will have pardoned himself in advance -- but will be the first ex-president to ever die drunk behind the wheel. So much to look forward to.

Damn, I forgot to be distracted by Mexicans. How about gay Mexican terrorists? Don't hold anything back, boys, the jug is almost up!

Posted by: Kenji on May 15, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Savage is, just as I predicted, rallying the de-base-ed with calls of sellout (listen sometime just to hear him pick on Bush and the Republicans.)

David Sirota reveals that Bush and Co. never fund adequately for border protection in my email update.

The following is is very interesting and some of us simply must get a latest triangulation, making for yet more rollercoaster swings (just received from Truthout in my email):

How Accurate Was the 'Rove Indicted' Story?

On Saturday afternoon, we ran a breaking story titled, "Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators." We assumed that we were well ahead of the mainstream media and that we would be subsequently questioned. Right on both counts.

What everyone is asking right now is how accurate is the story? Has Rove in fact been indicted? The story is accurate, and Karl Rove's attorneys have been served with an indictment. [That makes them liars!]

In short, we had two sources close to the Fitzgerald investigation who were explicit about the information that we published, and a former high-ranking state department official who reported communication with a source who had "direct knowledge" of the meeting at Patton Boggs. In both instances, substantial detail was provided and matched.

We had confirmation. We ran the story.
~~~

Posted by: Neil' on May 15, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

The jig, too.

Posted by: Kenji on May 15, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Well, overall this might be the first time I have agreed with Bush. And I agree with the Dems. No National Guard on the border, beef up the funding of the Border Patrol (is it ICE these days?) a guest worker program with a path towards citizenship (France and Germany have both screwed up big time here) and enforce the existing laws against hiring illegals.

Really nothing new. Personally, I think that we ought to toss the guest worker program and just increase the quota for Mexican and Central American workers and give them all green cards since a guest worker program ties workers to one employer and does nothing to stop empolyer abuse of immigrants. Overall it is decent. Probably the first time I have ever (mostly) agreed with the idiot.

Posted by: John Sully on May 15, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have a two word objection to Bushs newest half-wit proposal - Posse Comitatus.

Further, the Great Wall of China was supposed to stop the ravaging Mongol hordes. The Maginot Line was supposed to stop Hitlers Panzers. Neither strategy worked. Illegal immigration from Mexico will not be stopped by a smattering of National Guardsmen. Illegal immigration is best addressed as a demand-side problem. Punish, and punish severely, American employers or private individuals who hire illegal aliens. As conservatives love to say, enforcement of current laws is all that is needed. In this case, I agree. The best way to combat illegal immigration is to enforce the labor laws that are already on the books. If there are few or no jobs available for those who come over illegally, they will stop coming eventually.

The other thing is to have Bush pressure his butthole buddy, Vincente Fox, for true democratic reform, including free and fair elections, allowing private ownership of land and agrarian reform, and government sponsorship of a source of real estate lending liquidity, similar to GNMA, FNMA, or FHLMC, for example. If the Mexican economy was more open to middle class involvement and people were free to own their own land, you would have less people coming to the U.S. Period. You could augment these demand-based reforms with high technology, such as Predators or other robot drones flying the borders tirelessly, with downward-facing radar. Of course, these are all deployed in Iraq, killing Iraqi civilians who dont want the U.S. there, so too bad there. Granted, you wouldnt catch every illegal on the border this way. But it would make a hell of a lot more sense than building a wall.

Republicans are always offering 17th Century solutions to 21st Century problems.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on May 15, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

BTW Jason Leopold will be (by inference) on Ed Schultz radio tomorrow, as well as commentary on the immigration speech.

Posted by: Neil' on May 15, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't agree with all the details of Bush's program, but the overall theme seems pretty reasonable. It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse.

As for guest worker programs, I'm against them if they have no path to citizenship. However, I believe that Bush's proposal includes that, which makes it OK. I'm open to correction on this, however.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 15, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a partisan Rep., the Bush Administration is basically over. By failing to take the bull by the horns on securing the border, he's done nothing to excite to the base to vote in November. On O'Reilly, liberal Rep. Peter King was in complete agreement with the "racist" Tom Tancredo (sp?) that securing the border is the top priority and that the Senate bill is DOA in the House. I have a feeling that Congressmen are more in tune with the voters that they count on to keep them in office. Tonight's speech does nothing to lessen the pressure on them. Hopefully, it will be enough to stop anything that doesn't include fully securing the border.

Short of getting another vacancy on the SC, the only argument that Bush has decided to offer is "don't let the Dems win."

Posted by: Chicounsel on May 15, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

The vast majority of Americans oppose what Bush, the GOP leadership, the Democratic Party leadership, the Mexican government, and Kevin Drum all support.

And, it's not just the "business wing of the Republican Party" that helps those corrupt employers, it's also those Democratic Party leaders and "liberals" who provide cover for illegal immigration by trying to smear anyone who simply supports our laws and political structure.

Here's my roundup of Bush's immigration speech, and unless you're familiar with this topic please see my illegal immigration introduction.

Posted by: TLB on May 15, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the full quote and it is delicious:

"A political-junkie friend who I can always count on to find the political silver lining if there is one just said to me: "Tonight could be the first fully televised political suicide in history. I don't even want to watch."

Posted by: fred on May 15, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see Bush not resorting to fear-mongering. He sounded sane. I can see that you'll are experts on immigration so I'll let you sort out the merits of the plan.

I do have a question. Do we have enough guard forces to patrol the border? And if we are serious about curbibg illegal innigrants worjing illegally, shouldn't the stick for businesses taking advantage of this illicit labor be blunter?

Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bush budget scraps 9,790 border patrol agents
President uses law's escape clause to drop funding for new homeland security force
Michael Hedges, Houston Chronicle
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
Washington -- The law signed by President Bush less than two months ago to add thousands of border patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border has crashed into the reality of Bush's austere federal budget proposal, officials said Tuesday.
Officially approved by Bush on Dec. 17 after extensive bickering in Congress, the National Intelligence Reform Act included the requirement to add 10,000 border patrol agents in the five years beginning with 2006. Roughly 80 percent of the agents were to patrol the southern U.S. border from Texas to California, along which thousands of people cross into the United States illegally every year.
But Bush's proposed 2006 budget, revealed Monday, funds only 210 new border agents.
The shrunken increase reflects the lack of money for an army of border guards and the capacity to train them, officials said.

George W. Bush: Talkin' da talk.

Posted by: Mike on May 15, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: As for guest worker programs, I'm against them if they have no path to citizenship. However, I believe that Bush's proposal includes that, which makes it OK.

In other words, you're ok with guest worker programs that aren't guest worker programs. Me too, but I prefer to call them green cards. It's worked well throughout the history of American immigration.

Why have a "guest worker" phase though, so employers can have more leverage? So we can pretend that these folks are here temporarily? (not that that's ever worked anywhere). To the extent that we want legal immigrants just give them green cards.

Posted by: alex on May 15, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

My people tell me aWol repeatedly noted that we cannot control our borders. An easy fix for this would be to invade Mexico and push all the brown folks way down into the Yucatan. This would make our southern border where the skinny part of Mexico is, and make it much easier to control.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on May 15, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hedley Lamarr: An easy fix for this would be to invade Mexico and push all the brown folks way down into the Yucatan.

That would make Cancun too crowded. Besides, we had US troops in Mexico City at one time, and foolishly pulled back to the Rio Grande.

Posted by: alex on May 15, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Smirky forgot a key selling point: We'll be funding all the facilities, equipment and technology he mentioned through a brand-new tax cut! It's magic!

Kevin Drum: As for guest worker programs, I'm against them if they have no path to citizenship. However, I believe that Bush's proposal includes that, which makes it OK. I'm open to correction on this, however.

I don't believe this is the case, but like you I'd like to have that confirmed or corrected.

Chicounsel: Speaking as a partisan Rep., the Bush Administration is basically over.

Honey, it's been over for a long time ago. Bush finally did something that made y'all admit it.

Posted by: shortstop on May 15, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Me: Honey, it's been over for a long time ago.

Gee, the snark's fairly ineffective when the message is this illiterate.

Posted by: shortstop on May 15, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

If they had been fully funding the border patrol, this would not be an issue.

Good point. Isn't the border patrol doing a sufficiently good job? If not, why not and what could the guard do better than the border patrol? Could be just the increased numbers that would help or the increase in fire power (and I don't see that as a plus either)?

Seems like the guard idea might be a hat tip the the folks who sympathize with the likes of the minutemen.


Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Leszek: Seems like the guard idea might be a hat tip the the folks who sympathize with the likes of the minutemen.

Would someone please link to some awful thing that the Minutemen have done? I'm undecided on these folks, but it seems that everyone criticizing them just assumes that "everybody knows" they're awful. Where's the evidence?

Posted by: alex on May 15, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why have a "guest worker" phase though,...So we can pretend that these folks are here temporarily? (not that that's ever worked anywhere). To the extent that we want legal immigrants just give them green cards.

I agree. But Georgie thought (wrongly) that sugarcoating an increase in legal immigration by calling the new immigrants "guest workers" would appease the nativist base of the GOP, and in general would be less controversial than simply asking for an honest to goodness increase in the issuance of green cards. My guess is the legislation -- should something eventually make it to his desk -- will allow some sort of path to permanent residence/citizenship for guest workers. Time will tell.

Posted by: 99 on May 15, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Why are people discussing this like anything's going to happen. It's political maneuvering, plain and simple-minded, nothing more. And hopefully, the grandstand and the gallows will be one and the same this time. By the way, where are the Bush-kissers on this one?

Posted by: Kenji on May 15, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know of the minutemen killing anyone, but I "just know" that jigoistic gun yielding bands who are singularly focused on illegal immigrants and have a burning need to imagine these folks as a dire threat to their deeply held version of the American identity is frightening.

So you are right, I have a prejudice against the minutemen: they smell, walk, and talk like jigoistic yokels. I have little sympathty. I don't think they could even consider the notion that cheap illegal labor could be a net plus for the States despite all the attended problems of public funding.

Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Honey, it's been over for a long time ago. Bush finally did something that made y'all admit it.
Posted by: shortstop on May 15, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

LOL. I did say "basically." He's still better than the alternative. The argument "don't let the Dems win" is enough for me since i know that Dems control of either house would be a disaster. ;-)

Posted by: Chicounsel on May 15, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

alex--
I don't know about anything "awful" like murder, but my friend hung out with the local Minutemen and wrote an article about the experience for the "Austin Chronicle". These people certainly don't seem like the kind of people you'd want driving any kind of policy.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-10-28/pols_feature.html

Posted by: kokblok on May 15, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

My manifest destiny likes Hedley's idea.

Take over all of Me-hee-co, annex it, enforce US labor and business laws on Mexicans. They will soon realize that they don't need to come North of the Rio Grande to escape the criminal hegemony, and can stay where they are.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 15, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel--

Why are you "winking" at us? Seriously.

Posted by: kokblok on May 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

To really curb illegal immigration shouldn't the U.S. pressure or help Mexico become more hospitable to their own natives? The underlying problems seems to be of a poorer country sharing a (long) border with one of the wealthiest.

I guess I want to know why Mexico isn't wealthier. What happened in the U.S. that didn't happen in Mexico? And what would have to change in Mexico in order to alleviate their poverty? This seems the key long term question that we might want to answer.

Any historians out there?

Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

what would have to change in Mexico in order to alleviate their poverty?

Mexico isn't a poor country. They have a corrupt system with a small number of very rich people and a very large number of poor people.

And, we're importing that same system of both corruption and a two-tier economy.

And, those "humanitarians" who support illegal immigration make things even worse by giving the corrupt Mexican government a safety valve: they can export those who would otherwise make demands (such as by marching in the streets) to the U.S.

Jorge Castaneda has as much as admitted that, BTW.

And, once again, both the GOP leadership and the Dem leadership - together with this site - support that.

Posted by: TLB on May 15, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

TLB--

Why would they need to "march in the streets" when they could vote? And they could also vote for Mexican politicians in the US, if they wanted to.

I just don't see how so many people that comment on this issue can get away with talking about a thoroughly democratic and moderately corrupt nation like Mexico like it was North Korea or Burma.

In a way I kind of agree with you: the "humanitarian" argument for continued acceptance of high level of immigration is absurd. If we cared about that, we'd be letting in hundreds of thousands of Congolese, not Mexicans.

On the other hand, I think the "humanitarian" argument does make more sense when you are talking about what should be done with the illegal immigrants that have already been in this country for a long time.

Posted by: kokblok on May 15, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

TLB, thanks for the distinction between "poor country" and "large underclass." I admit that's one thing that does irritate me about our immigration policy: it seems to bolster a very uneven class structure in Mexico and possibly corruption (i'll make a point of learning more about Mexico's economic system).

Don't you think that the U.S. always had a two-tiered economy with immigrants filling low paid and undesirable jobs? Are we "importing" anything new? Isn't cheap labor a net gain for the States and the immigrants?

Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Get Mexico working and you will:
1) stop the flood of illegals into this country and
2) get an economic partner who can BUY stuff from us, rather than sell us things.

That's two ways to get the US economy going.

Posted by: BlogMouth on May 15, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok: the "humanitarian" argument for continued acceptance of high level of immigration is absurd. If we cared about that, we'd be letting in hundreds of thousands of Congolese, not Mexicans.

How true.

On the other hand, I think the "humanitarian" argument does make more sense when you are talking about what should be done with the illegal immigrants that have already been in this country for a long time.

I note that you put "humanitarian" in quotes. That's about right. Anyway, as a practical matter, we're not going to have mass deportations. Heck, give them all green cards, but only after it's been demonstrated that the US will seriously deter future illegal immigration. Bit once in '86, and been twice shy ever since.

Posted by: alex on May 15, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

ehh

Posted by: Leszek on May 15, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

"However, I believe that Bush's proposal includes that, which makes it OK. I'm open to correction on this, however."

The way I heard the Decider tonight was that after the guest-worker time is up, they're back to where they came from.

It's a bracero program, folks. Remember the Woody Guthrie song, Deportees? That's what we're talking about.

Posted by: Altoid on May 15, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the quote, near the end of item two:

"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."

Posted by: Altoid on May 15, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

BlogMouth: Get Mexico working and you will

Great idea, but their being a sovereign country and all, it requires some effort by Mexico.

Posted by: alex on May 15, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't see how so many people that comment on this issue can get away with talking about a thoroughly democratic and moderately corrupt nation like Mexico like it was North Korea or Burma.

I'm sure there are North Korean spies in the U.S., and I'm sure there's a very small NK Fifth Column.

Meanwhile, the Mexican government actively interferes in our internal politics. That ranges from convincing the city council of Napa CA to accept Mexican IDs to Fox calling Bush and making sure he was going to say what Fox wanted him to say. And, the Mexican government has links to several "immigrant rights" groups. Those groups then push for changes to our laws and are thus in effect Mexican proxies. (Just like the U.S. has done in many countries). On the propaganda front, they paid 3/4 mil to a Bush-linked PR person to spread their line in the U.S. And, they give away "free" schoolbooks to the LAUSD and other school districts. Needless to say, those books represent the Mexican and not the American viewpoint.

So, perhaps it has something to do with some people actually being familiar with what Mexico does.

On the other hand, I think the "humanitarian" argument does make more sense when you are talking about what should be done with the illegal immigrants that have already been in this country for a long time.

Unfortunately, one has to look at everything involved. Being "humanitarian" to those who've been here for a long time will result in two things: a) massive fraud, and b) even more people coming. While China might refuse to take some of their people back, we have - or should have - a bit more sway with our "friends" to the south.

Bush is truly a wimp when it comes to Mexico, and he might be that way for completely personal and corrupt reasons, such as wanting to get his family's hands on their oil or because he wants to make it easier for "P." to become president.

Instead of opposing him on this, the Dems fully support him.

Posted by: TLB on May 15, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum on May 15, 2006 at 9:14 PM

I agree.

Sometimes the only workable deals are those that leave everyone pretty disappointed. No provision has really solid support.

The border will not be hermetically sealed. The rate of illegal immigration through the border will, however, probably be cut in half(substitute your guess of the fraction here ______ .) Next time there is an amnesty it will only involve about 5 million illegal aliens instead of 11 million. The lobby for illegal aliens to have drivers' licenses will be reduced. The NG units on border deployment will save and deport a lot of the people who now die from thirst and starvation. the imbalance between Chinese illegal aliens and Mexican illegal aliens will be reduced. Coyotes will be less successful, and their fees will be increased.

Half-measures all around, and everyone will be relieved, thinking "It could have been worse."

It won't be a determinative issue in the Congressional elections.

Posted by: republicrat on May 15, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Leszek: To really curb illegal immigration shouldn't the U.S. pressure or help Mexico become more hospitable to their own natives?

There isn't much the US can do. Mexico has a more aristocratic history; it has more restrictions on foreign investment; it has laws against foreign ownership; it has more government-owned industries.

Mexico has some of everything: well-trained doctors, highly skilled workers at high-tech industries (we get news of this regularly in San Diego.) I don't mean to suggest that Mexico is hopeless. the middle class of Mexico outnumbers all of Canada. But the things that I mentioned are a drag on the economy.

Posted by: republicrat on May 15, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

What will prevent the business wing of the Republican Party from holding out skimpy wages, then saying no American will take the job so send in the guest workers? Is it really necessary for Americans to have cheaper houses, fruits and vegatables, gardeners, maids, etc. so that wages remain depressed? The long slow process of killing the middle class moves inexorably on.

Posted by: Jim on May 15, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Leszek: Don't you think that the U.S. always had a two-tiered economy with immigrants filling low paid and undesirable jobs? Are we "importing" anything new? Isn't cheap labor a net gain for the States and the immigrants?

It's easier to be upwardly mobile here in the US. That's a comparative, you'll note, not an absolute. There are probably more farm property owners in California who have worked their way out of poverty since immigrating from Mexico than there are in Mexico. Families that picked lettuce and saved their money have risen to own the farmland that they used to work on. These are people who, in their own telling, had no opportunity for upward mobility in Mexico.

Posted by: republicrat on May 15, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jim: Bingo, you've got it!

Guest workers with the new fool-proof ID cards who can be tracked down and will be deported when their time is up.

Couple that with those-on-the-road-to-legal-status who have to have jobs in order to stay on the track, and you have Walmart's dream: a labor force with no alternative but to do what it's told and shut the hell up.

Sweet.

You watch, Kevin, the moneybags and the small contractors in the GOP will smile about this proposal.

Whether bush has fooled the real voting base of the party or whether they'll see that he's only thrown them a small sop remains to be seen.

Posted by: Altoid on May 15, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bush/Cheney is a sleazeball business pair with no patriotism who regard the American people as adversary labor whose wages are much too high and must be brought way down through legal and illegal immigration for the benefit of the business/investor elite.

Posted by: Myron on May 15, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

How's about Bush and the Republic Party
majorities on the Hill cut-off taxpayer
subsidies to U.S. agribusiness operations
that are in turn driving Mexicans off the
land (and north across the U.S. border).

Posted by: C. P. Zilliacus on May 15, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

As the border patrol stands up, the national guard will stand down.

We've eliminated most due process for aliens to cut deportation time and costs.

To pay for the additional costs, I'm requesting an additional 5% tax cut.

Cynical? Me?

Posted by: has407 on May 16, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Mexico has 100 million people, about a quarter still do substinance farming. The economy is 1 trillion and the government consumes 25%, but that includes some large state industries. Wages are still around 2 or dollars a day. 43% want to come here. And worse, the Chinese are undercutting them in the price of goods. It is a very two tiered economic system.

The top income tax rate is 30%, they likely are forced to follow our economic policy to compete. They are gonna be hit by global warming quite severely for a tropical nation already over populated. A long term issue.

The conservative uproar, no doubt, is that illegal crossings are probably increasing.

Somehow we have to get more of us down there by means other than military. The more of us that become interested in their economy, the better integrated the two economies become.

As the problem festers there will be a peasant's revolt across central America, which will spill over into this country and possibly drag us into a needless military intervention. The two governments need to cooperate more closely on how to fix things.

The Mexican peso value is tied to dollar reserves, like most nations, and they have messed up their reserve situation, notably in 1994. Hopefully that nonsense is behnd them.

They are prone to sudden eficit spending, out of proportion, for political purposes which makes it hard to keep a middle class.

If I were President Hillary, I would stay real close to central America, keep my arm around their shoulder, help them along, encourage trade with the US, encourage the oligarchs to stay away from govenrment (with higher taxes), and even, if necessary, offer them a slightly negative import tax when a crisis is on the way.

The fact that we have to put military on the border is bad news, the real solution is to focus out attention more closely on economic efficiency down there and up here.

Posted by: Matt on May 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK


Massive immigration will, roughly speaking, make the US more like New Mexico. You might want to take a look at the state statistics. Then again, maybe you wouldn't.

Posted by: gcochran on May 16, 2006 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Here we go, our President going soft, courtesy of you guys, liberals and peaceniks. Our country is at war. We must establish camps along the border for all immigrants. We must criminalize their behavior and incarcerate them to labor camps forever so that they will no longer do no harm to this god loving country. It's the only Christian thing to do.

Posted by: Mini Al on May 16, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

"first fully televised political suicide in history"

The National Review has evidently forgotten R. Budd Dwyer.

Some of Bush's ideas in the speech sounded surprisingly moderate, almost reasonable. However, it is going to be fun over the next few weeks to see him dodge the attacks from the Minutemen and other Know-Nothings of the 21st century.

And "President Hillary"? No thanks. I have nothing against a woman in the White House, but I do detest phonies.

Posted by: Vincent on May 16, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Probably a reason why it sounded like the same ol', same ol'.

Chris Muir noted that Bush practiced that private virtue, recycling, when it came to speechifying.

http://tapscottscopydesk.blogspot.com/2006/05/if-bush-speech-tonight-sounded.html

So why weren't all our immigration problems solved after Bush's hairy-chested, patriotic proposals of Jan. 7, 2004? Maybe because he didn't fund the programs he said he was going to implement? Nevermind, that was just to get votes. This time he's serious. It's not just to get votes in November of 2006. Honestly. This time he means it.

Posted by: cowalker on May 16, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

An unfortunate war rages on, much of the media is eerily quiet about "the war on terror" and those who aren't are being bugged by the FBI, NSA is tracking everyone's phone records, DC is awash in corruption, all Hillary has to talk about is whether teens truly work or not, Cheney initiated a new cold war, Central and South America are turning away from U.S. involvement, Mexico will soon follow, the U.N. has been rendered impotent, genocide thrives in Sudan, Islamic extremists are breeding like a contagion, and so, if you're Karl Rove what would you do to distract the country's attention? Pull an old unresolved problem, but certainly not a crisis off the shelf called, Immigration, and get the country passionately involved. Those Republicans, man, they're good. Gotta give 'em credit. If this one doesn't successfully divert attention from the Administration's meltdown, then what's next?

Posted by: Jim Lande on May 16, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I do have plenty against "this stuff," Kev.

First, I am in favor of "militarizing" the border, or whatever you want to call it. 2,000 new BP agents? I'd say let's shoot for 10,000. A wall plus concertina on top and both sides. Denude the border of vegetation to make guard dog and infrared tracking easier. More drone planes. More spotter towners.

No amnesty.

A guest worker program, if any, to be under tighter controls than he would have.

Stepped-up OSHA enforcement in agriculture, meat-packing, etc., to make these jobs more work-friendly to American citizens and resident who expect such things.

An increase in the minimum wage, inflation-pegged.

C'mon, Kevin, everything he said is wrong, and it has no progressive sidebars to it.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 16, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Funny that the three things I've found myself in basic, kinda-sorta agreement with the President on this year, 1)Harriet Miers.....as I suspected what we ended up with was much, much worse......2)Dubai port deal....much ado about nothing and 3) his new immigration plan....taking a lot of reasonable routes.....are all things that were or will be undone by the President's base.
If this was the George Bush we had gotten the past 5 years, the Bush who was so warm & personable during the 2000 campaign, I think we'd still had fundamental differences of opinions & policy but it would be that....differences of opinion....not life & death struggles to see how much of our country they can divide down the middle in an endless shrill rattle of partisan rhetoric.
For the most part the President came off well and sounded, dare I think it, Presidential? There has been far too much scorched earth tactics out of the Rove machine to made all those ill feelings and fear over what has been done to this country in a mad grab for consolidated power but it was nice to listen to our President and cringe every time he made a proposal. I could live with a kinder, gentler Bush that looked & sounded a lot more like his old man with Karl Rove elsewhere. Just me. I like it when two sides are able to calm down and discus things that matter to all of us. Still sad knowing the Michael Savages, Ann Coulters, Bill O'Reillys and Michelle Malkins would let us have that civil discusion becaise civil & discussion are words they can use to inflame the passions of those people ready to have their buttons pushed.
Too long a post. Closing just to say, nice job Mr. President. Not perfect but a good starting point for a issue that deserves serious debate & discussion.

Posted by: Nathan on May 16, 2006 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Too too funny

Bush is the greatest champion of Democratic policy regarding illegal immigration, the policy of de-facto open borders.

The funny thing is, Bush Derangement Syndrome is so strong that the protesters-for-amnesty and the Democratic Leadership can't seem to understand that on the issue of illegal immigration Bush is on their side. So they will torpedo Bush, even though Bush is trying to give them what they want! The final outcome will defeat the very bill Democrats want the most.

Thanks guys!

Posted by: Brad on May 16, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Whoop, time to book my flight to Mexico.

I'll be voting by 2012!

Posted by: McA on May 16, 2006 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Nathan, the president seemed Presidential? How then, my good man, do you define Presidential? Having neglected the issue of immigration all these years until it's convenient to tackle in order to solidify the Republican base going into the fall? Or was it out of a deep reflective understanding of how to lead the country?

These sterile speeches, once honed by Reagan to perfection, mentioning those one or two examples of great American heros to exemplify a complex issue are bereft of wisdom and true leadership. This issue was run through the focus-group mill until an appealing compromise was struck that offended as few Republicans as possible. It wasn't principled in any way. Putting overworked Guardsmen on the border will work only until the 1st hurricane strikes and then they'll quietly depart for ravaged areas. But, you know, if saluting and rank nationalism is your cup of tea, then I guess he was more than Presidential; he was Imperial.

Posted by: sickofitall on May 16, 2006 at 6:06 AM | PERMALINK

Did you notice Bush had a nice blue suit and a nice blue tie?

Posted by: Bob M on May 16, 2006 at 7:03 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: bellxone on May 16, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

After 5 years, it's suddenly important? I mean more important? Why? He's been ignoring the borders for five years. And what about our ports?
Seattle is a sieve, they catch Chinese illegals every week.

Posted by: gus on May 16, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

You know how, if you really suck at pool, the best you can hope for is to set things up so that your opponent is stuck with a really crappy shot? I often get the feeling that's what Bushco's doing. They can't govern, and they're doing everything they can to make damn sure no one can govern after them. A militarized border, overstretched military, shaky economy, populace stoked to a nationalistic, xenophobic pitch...I really, really hope the Democratic president elected in 08 is good at pool.

Posted by: moderleft on May 16, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

- The Guard is spread too thin as it is, but the administration keeps lying about this, just like they've lied about troop levels since Day 1 of the invasion of Iraq

- Law enforcement execution of persons suspected of illegally entering the country is an unnecessary response to illegal immigration

- This is a waste of resources better used to protect our ports

- Many illegal immigrants are visa holdovers so why isn't the Guard being deployed throughout the country to look for these . . . racism

- We're building our own Berlin Wall . . . how free is that

- There is no threat from illegal immigration that justifies the use of military force . . . what are we trying to do, keep wealthy Californians from getting maid and lawn service through the use of deadly force

- Where are the Guards along the Canadian border where most of the attempts at illegal entry by terrorists have occurred . . . oh, yeah, this is a racist policy against brown people . . . nevermind

- Bush is wagging the dog by making a mountain out of an illegal immigration mole hill

Posted by: Advocate for God on May 16, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, under pressure from Islamists to curb reforms, has warned local media against showing pictures of Saudi women, local newspapers reported on Tuesday.

Bush's good buddies, spreading democracy and freedom throughout the Middle East.

Not.

Once again we see Bush failing to obtain freedom and democracy in so-called allies in the Middle East, while desperately trying to do so in Iraq in order to justify all the lies and deceits that supported the invasion.

Shameful, shameful failures everywhere:

Global Whine on Terror

Roadmap To Nowhere

Every Child Left Behind (aka, Minority Children Left Behind)

Prescription Dung Bill

Social Security Deform

Homeland Insecurity Agency

Plan to Establish Demagoguery Throughout the Middle East

War on Integrity in Government

War on Scientific Reality

Plan to Extra-Judicially Execute Brown People Looking for a Better Life in America

Woooohooooo!

Now we're talking.

You must be very, very proud, rdw!

Posted by: Advocate for God on May 16, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Bush allies which are not democracies, but totalitarian regimes that have and do sponsor terrorism:

Pakistan

Saudi Arabia

Libya

Dubai

Just like Daddy befriended Saddam and just like Nixon befriended the Shah, Bush 43 picks vicious dictators as his closest allies, while belittling and defaming traditional, democratic countries like Germany and France.

Clearly proving that Bush's alleged belief in promoting democracy is a lie.

Shameful, shameful, failures everywhere.

Posted by: Advocate for God on May 16, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

A few thoughts I had watching Bush's speech:

-GWBush has a really punchable face :)

-much of what he said wasn't new or innovative by any means; for example, there was a huge amnesty in 1986 and all the Congressmen swore that this was IT, there would NEVER, EVER, be another amnesty. same thing in 1994-98 under Clinton, when they all paid $1000 fines but there would never EVER be a need for future amnesties. Also, there are work visa programs and employment-based green card processes already available. In fact, they are so popular, the visas run out in record time the beginning of every fiscal year. Gotta wonder why he hasn't considered raising the available numbers (especially considering that there's only 5000 green cards slotted per year for unskilled workers-you know, the ones who "do jobs Americans are not doing")

-Congress has authorized 10,000 new border patrol agents over the next 5 years. Bush has funded 250. But somehow the obvious solution is to send military troops in. Is it me, or is this as much of a Bush knee-jerk response as cutting taxes?

-the most obvious guestworker programs that come to mind are Germany (Turks) and Saudi Arabia (Filipinos). Neither is good advertising to start such a program here.

Posted by: Jonathan on May 16, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, 10,000 to unskilled workers, not 5000. Even so.

Posted by: Jonathan on May 16, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

For a unique take on the border issue, check out my blog.

Posted by: jt on May 16, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

The argument "don't let the Dems win" is enough for me since i know that Dems control of either house would be a disaster

A disaster for Bush you mean. There might actually be some *gasp* oversight.

Posted by: ckelly on May 16, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen anyone mention this, but if they did, forgive the repetition:

The reason countries like France and Germany have such huge immigrant problems is because they have guest worker programs. They lead to a two tiered society where people never integrate into the country, and are always seen as foreigners.

Guest Worker programs are exploitive, and they do not serve either the worker or the country.

If we are going to ask someone to come here and work and contribute, because we need their labor, that invitation should also include a clear, fair path to citizenship. If we are not willing to offer that, than we should learn to do without the labor these people provide.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on May 16, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"first fully televised political suicide in history,"

Just FYI, this is a paraphrase of the great old UK Labour politician, Denis Healey, who called the 1983 Labour manifesto "the longest suicide note in history".

Posted by: Urinated State of America on May 16, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kevin Drum: Bush immigration policy is a pack of lies. I'm all for it, but I still like to make jokes about it.

WTF? Is there something about having a journalism degree that requires you to periodically engage in the same type of proud dismissiveness of substance in favor of style that the talking airheads in the major commercial media engage in, breezy by the main substantive point without discussion (the supposed "suprisingly reasonable" character of Bush's immigration smoke & mirrors game) in favor of cheap comments about style?

Posted by: cmdicely on May 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK
I strongly second Jason's comment. People will get shot. Since any moron could predict this, and since Bush and Co. will not like the political fallout, I suspect the whole scheme will never be implemented.

Maybe their hoping for a shooting incident that they can blame on either the Mexican government or violent immigrants, and thus use to retroactively justify the policy, the same way that the eruption in Islamist terrorism in Iraq has been used to retroactively justify the invasion.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 16, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

From editorial in todays NYT:

It is still possible that a good bill will emerge this year, but only if Democrats and moderate Republicans hold firm to protect the fragile flame of good sense against the deter-and-deport crowd. ... It means overcoming this latest contribution from the ever-unhelpful president, who could have pointed the nation toward serious immigration reform last night, but instead struck a pose as Minuteman in chief.

Posted by: obscure on May 16, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives again try to derail a thread with a long spam-like post.

Why do conservatives want to disrupt the public debate?

For the same reason they pursue their non-democratic governmental policies: fear is their master.

Posted by: Advocate for God on May 16, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe their hoping for a shooting incident that they can blame on either the Mexican government or violent immigrants, and thus use to retroactively justify the policy, the same way that the eruption in Islamist terrorism in Iraq has been used to retroactively justify the invasion.

Yeah, I get the very uncomfortable feeling that shooting incident(s) are not only inevitable, but even desired, with this whole border militarization plan.

Maybe next we can have the guard "assist" the police with crowd control at political demonstrations.

Posted by: moderleft on May 16, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head:

Against it before they were for it. Six months ago Secy. Chertoff said using National Guard on the border would be "horribly over-expensive and very difficult."

Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop . . .

The little patter of Bush reversals and hypocrisy goes on and on and on . . .

Posted by: Advocate for God on May 16, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sickofitall....sorry for not drinking the every-thing-Bush-does-must-be-evil kool-aid and what part of serious debate & discussion on the issue don't you get? I've written enough around here for anyone who does a search to know I am no fan of George Bush as President. For the most part he is total trainwreck of a President but his speech last night was a pleasant change of pace. He laid out ideas that I both agreed with in part and disagreed with but it was civil speech missing a lot of the petulant partisanship we've come to expect from him and his administration. I'm just not such an idealogue to see it for what it was and say so. And yeah, I thought he sounded like a leader for a change. Your mileage varies.

Posted by: Nathan on May 16, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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