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April 26, 2006
Bush Hears The Uproar But Misses The Message

An inside source to the negotiations between George Bush and the Senate on immigration reform report that Bush will not officially endorse the Hagel-Martinez compromise out of fear of the political backlash on the de facto amnesty program:

President Bush generally favors plans to give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at U.S. citizenship without leaving the country, but does not want to be more publicly supportive because of opposition among conservative House Republicans, according to senators who attended a recent White House meeting. ...

At another point, Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other members of his party pressed the president about their concern that any Senate-passed bill would be made unpalatable in final talks with the House.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat, said the lawmaker who would lead House negotiators, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, had been "intractable" in negotiations on other high-profile bills in the past. Bush did not directly respond to the remark, officials said.

It appears that Bush not only passed on defending a conservative in Congress, he took a pass on defending himself. We knew that Bush has always been more of an open-borders politician than any true conservative on immigration. Most of us hoped to get the border fence and truly credible security on the southern border as a minimum once he came to office, and figured we would have to give way on some sort of compromise on the status of those already in the country as a trade-off.

This, however, is disappointing. The nature of legislation is compromise, but this appears to be closer to capitulation. Nowhere in this article does Bush appear to express any support for the House bill that strengthens the border even as a companion to the Hagel-Martinez compromise. Instead, we get this Republican president conspiring with Harry Reid to give him political cover with immigration hard-liners in his own party.

If this is accurate, then Bush owes Sensenbrenner an apology. He owes the rest of us an explanation.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more. And who wants to bet that this will be the subject of tomorrow's Vent?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 26, 2006 9:33 PM

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