April 9, 2007

Bush To Launch Immigration Campaign Today

George Bush will start working on the one issue where he finds sympathy from the Democratic majority Congress -- immigration. The new campaign starts in Yuma, Arizona, where Bush will speak near the Mexican border about the need to both secure the frontier between Mexico and the US, as well as resolve the status of millions of illegal immigrants:

In his speech in Yuma, Bush will stress four elements that he has to see in an immigration bill: more border security; better enforcement of immigration laws in the interior, especially laws against the hiring of undocumented workers; a temporary-worker program to address labor shortages; and "resolving without amnesty and without animosity the status of the millions of illegal immigrants that are here right now," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

A recently leaked White House presentation, devised after weeks of closed-door meetings with Republican senators, suggests some hardening of Bush's positions, however.

As spelled out in the presentation, which White House aides describe as ideas for debate, undocumented workers could apply for three-year work visas, renewable indefinitely at a cost of $3,500 each time. To get a green card that would make them legal permanent residents, they would have to return to their home countries, apply for reentry at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and pay a $10,000 fine.

In a new twist, more green cards would be made available to skilled workers by limiting visas for parents, children and siblings of U.S. citizens. Temporary workers could not bring their families into the country.

Democrats may not provide as much help as Bush thinks, however. The freshman class has a strong conservative streak, as I have noted before. Many of them had to become more conservative than the Republicans they replaced on immigration, and they understand that their districts will send them packing in 2008 if they approve anything that even sounds like amnesty.

House Democrats want to replace the McCain-Kennedy bill of the last session, the one that most closely represented the White House's policy preferences, with another bill co-sponsored by porkbusting Republican Jeff Flake. That would include a "touchback" requirement for illegals -- a brief return to their home country, with re-entry under legal processes. It cuts off illegals who entered the US after June 1, 2006, and those who meet that qualification would have to pass a security check and pay a two-staged fine to get permanent residency, and eventually the opportunity for citizenship.

Pelosi wants the Senate to go first, in order to provide some cover for the conservative Democrats and crossover Republicans who support Flake's STRIVE Act. Ted Kennedy and John McCain had started working on the Senate version at the beginning of this session of Congress. However, McCain dropped out of the effort recently, as his presidential campaign had suffered some blowback for his partnership with Kennedy last session on the issue. McCain shifted the effort to his protege, Lindsay Graham, but thus far the partnership has not produced a bill. Graham, who has his own credibility issues with conservatives on this issue and the judiciary after following McCain onto the Gang of 14, will not be any more likely to sell STRIVE to the GOP base.

Bush may want to get rolling on immigration reform, but at the moment, neither the House nor the Senate have any wheels on which to ride. Until both the White House and Congress focus on border security first -- on which the Blue Dog Democrats insist, reminiscent of last year's House Republicans -- the campaign will stall in the Yuma desert.


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Comments (20)

Posted by M. Simon [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 5:59 AM

I think a decent solution would be to turn illegals into guest workers without charging them super high fees. Guest worker amnesty.

I'd also like to see more enforcement against illegals who break our laws. However, that is a local issue.

Posted by PersonFromPorlock [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 6:36 AM

Is there anyone by now who doesn't think that immigration 'reform' is to the Republicans as tax 'reform' is to the Democrats?

Posted by superdestroyer [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 6:43 AM

President Bush, not having realized that he has almost single handedly destroyed the Republican Party, is now campaigning to finish off whatever is left of the Republicans. Anything that encourages immigration to the U.S. will just speed along the destruction of the Republican Party and the two party system with it.

Why encourage more Mexican immigrants to come to America when the Democrats are proposing huge new entitlement programs for them and when Hispanics vote overwhelmingly Democratic?

I guess what every middle class non-Hispanic native born American should be asking themselves is what country they should immigrate to after their neighborhhod, city, county, state, and country become another third world hell hole like most of Mexico?

Posted by syn [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 6:45 AM

I am stuck by the association between the anti-corporatists and international corporations. Do those marching on behalf of amnesty for illegal immigrants of all race, nationally, and religion realize that they are marching on behalf of attaining cheap labor for international corporations.

No matter how humane one attempts to be in this debate, all that this guest worker program will do is create a permanent underclass system of cheap labor for global corporations. It bothers me that our government has assisted in creating what is essencially open border slave trading. We have an immigration system already in place so why then is our government immigrating human beings under the table and in an illegal fashion?

America is designed as an upwardly moble system but with this intrusion of having guests come to this country only to work 'those jobs Americans won't do" means they are denied any opportunity to move up the ladder of success.

Further, over the past several decades Americans have become so financially successful that they consider themselves above having to clean their own homes or wash their own dirty laundry, what I would like to see is a lttle humility.

Posted by Harleycon5 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 7:24 AM

I would like to say that I trust the Bush Admin on the whole immigration issue, but lets face it, they have flipped us the bird more than once. Further, I wonder what hidden language there is in this bill? We will see.

I am strongly anti-illegal immigration, but I also fear that the burgeoning US economy will consume all available work resources and stifle our economy. Consider the fact that a strong economy generally has about 5.9% unemployment, if you go much lower you begin to have problems with rising costs/inflation. This is not to say that it is not great to have unemployment at something like 4.9%, but that if it keeps going down at some point an economy cannot grow unless efficiency/productivity increases. The American worker is the most productive worker in the world, but even we have our limit above which there is a stone wall.
My point is that it is very possible to have a well regulated guest worker program w/o any chance of amnesty, and we need to consider that. If the economy decreases it hurts us all.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 7:38 AM

i give bush some credit for stirring the waters with these new proposals. of course they won't fly but they do have entertainment value. in the end however his and the dems ideas are just more of the same chair moving on the titanic. without this:


it's the same failed policies of the last 40 years. now they throw in the canard that we need tens of millions of 8th grade dropouts to make our economy run. let me give you the bad news---if we need tens of millions of 8th grade dropouts to save the day, stick a fork in us--we are done. if our future rests in the hands of jose from mexico city--we are forked!
just trotting out this nonsense tells you every thing you need to know. this video will says it all.


if tomorrow we sealed the border shut the economy would adjust within a couple of years. sure there would be some dislocations but the benefits in terms of wages for blue collar workers and breakthroughs in mechanization would more than offset any dislocations. lastly, please save the social security argument for the economically challenged. this ponzi scheme can't be saved by anyone. in fact adding more people to the existing problem just makes the day or reckoning that much worse.

Posted by ajacksonian [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 8:38 AM

Given what is known about Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda working in Middle Eastern Muslim ex-pat communities in S. America and their attempts to spread beyond that... just how is one supposed to know if an individual is coming here *just* for work without a deep background check? And as one of the more local terrorists organizations believes that it can intimidate Congress into letting their organization have freer reign, then how can *any* amnesty program that does *not* include background checks be seen as helping National Security?

Why do we continue to pay large agribusiness subsidies to those firms that are both large and international, many of them also being a cause of the illegal labor problem? Or big business for that matter... why do any businesses in the US need perks and subsidies? If you want to 'balance the playing field' then use this thing known as tariffs. That would, obviously, hurt some businesses and they do have lobbyists, so better to lift money from the taxpayer to pay for inefficient businesses rather than to 'even the playing field' and have US businesses have to compete on same. Of course that would mean a *lesser* role for government, which is so entrenched now that it cannot even find common cause to help the warfighter in wartime.

Just for what the US wastes in subsidies and paying farmers *not* to grow things, we could turn around the agricultural sector of Afghanistan, remove opium by having other good and sellable crops introduced and spend some time raising that sector until they become self-sufficient and capable. And we wouldn't even have to touch the emergency preparedness funds and such which are the smallest part of the budget! But, no, I guess a few hundred bucks in food cost per year is worth saving so that narcotics traffickers can continue supporting Islamic Extremism. And continue having folks come over to work illegally at wages that are not economically sustainable and not bother to check out and see if any of *those* have been recruited by said extremists.

That doesn't even get you to the folks wanting to shred the Constitution to show their compassion. Best not go there as it would remind people that there are limits to their rights because of that which we hold in common. And soon there will be nothing in common to hold, and there will go the rights...

Posted by runawayyyy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 8:59 AM

What possible benefit could any kind of immigration "reform" possibly provide? I keep hearing people say that this is the "one" issue where bush and the democrats can work together. Hmmmm....remember no child left behind? How about Medicare prescription drugs? Oh, and let's not forget that little matter of a war in Iraq. On all these things, the dems were said to be "behind" bush. Are there ANY democrats (remember, leiberman's an independant now) who have given bush ANY credit for ANY of these things? Keep in mind that we freed millions in iraq, the prescription drugs are alot less expensive (for now) than predicted, and test scores in the schools are actually improving for the first time in decades. Immigration "reform" is just another way for democrats to get what they want from bush while vilifying him to death when they "claim" it didn't work either.

Posted by Don Singleton [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 10:32 AM

As I indicated here I much prefer this draft plan as outlined by Fox News. It is much closer to what I would have proposed, had I been President, than I was afraid George Bush would propose. My fear is what the Dems will do to it.

Posted by conservative democrat [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 10:44 AM

Like the gop would give any credit to the dems? Please don't trot out the "big, mean ole democrats bunk".Rove set the bar for partisan hackery, we're just playing by his rules. Both sides cater to get the Hispanic vote.The big corporations want the cheap labor pool,neither side will enforce the borders,politics as usual. As far as "freeing" millions in Iraq, how about the millions we've displaced into other countries? Thats what I thought.

Posted by BoWowBoy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 11:36 AM

Guest workers .............are NOT .........border control.

Posted by james23 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 11:57 AM

Immigration battle in 07 = GOP defeat in 08. Mark it down. No matter how good our candidate is, he will not be able to overcome the damage to the electoral coalition that will be caused by another Bush-Democrat inspired immigration and borders donnybrook.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 12:28 PM

A guest worker program, attractive enough to get most illegal workers to apply for it, and at the same time, high-tech enough to eliminate forged documents (don't laugh--it can be done) is the MOST important part of increasing our security. The fence does nothing to reduce the size of the haystack that's already here. The difficulty of finding the "needles," hiding in the haystack, is related to the number of unknowns. "Guest worker" helps eliminate the unknowns and stops the people that apply from working "under the table."

Posted by BoWowBoy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 1:23 PM

Then how did they do it .... in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea .......??

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 2:55 PM

" The fence does nothing to reduce the size of the haystack that's already here. "

that is not the purpose of the fence. that's one of the strawmen trotted out to keep it from being built. the sole purpose of a 2000 mile fence is to keep new people out and prevent the problem from getting bigger. secondly it is a barrier that we throw people over as we evict the unwanted ie., criminals--past, present and future.

every immigration reform package of the last forty years has called for a fence. why? because it is the only thing that will keep out 95% of the border jumpers.

as for the people that are here--knock yourself out.

at least do yourself a favor and watch this 14 minute video before you start touting "guest worker" programs, another of the canards of the open border crowd.


Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 4:36 PM

Re: patrick neid at April 9, 2007 02:55 PM

Who said don't build a fence? Not me. It's just not the only piece of the solution, or even the most effective part.

The "fence" that works is the forge-proof ID, that employers can't PRETEND is real when it's not. Without forge-proof documents, you can't make the prosecution of bad employers stick, because you can't prove the employers were acting in bad faith when hiring illegals. "The card looked okay to me...." Being able make the criminal case against employers is the key. Because, you can't force employers to be forensic document experts, you instead force them to authenticate a document that can't be forged. Then the employer has no excuses left for accepting it, and the illegal alien has no job. That's an even higher fence.

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 5:49 PM


i have to disagree with some of what you said. the fence is the only guarantee the problem won't get any bigger. millions of illegals work in the underground economy and that is where they are going to stay. illegals now work for other illegals. your card, while it will regulate the big corporations it will do nothing for the faster growing underground.

without a fence nothing is possible as the last forty years have proven.

Posted by tnmartin [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 9, 2007 7:07 PM

The most important part of the solution is to admit that there is a problem and to acquire the determination to solve that problem.
W either hasn't done that, or has dreadfully mis-analyzed the matter. In any event, his persistent and, in my opinion, near-criminal refusal to enforce the law and to persecute those who wish to do so, has made a bad problem much worse.
Simply, NOBODY who is not a citizen of this country has any ''right' to come here. Nobody is entitled to entry. Those who invade the nation - and that is exactly what it is - should expect to be treated as non-uniformed members of an invading army and treated accordingly.
And, to wrap the package up, anyone found to be deliberately, recklessly, or negligently employing illegals should expect severe criminal penalties and forfeiture of assets. Say, for example, a carpet manufacturer located near Dalton, Georgia. Or a fence maker near Bulls Gap, Tennessee. Or poultry processors near Waldron, Arkansas. And say, hypothetically, that they were found to be systematically hiring illegals. Seems to me only fair that the company officers should be in prison and the company seized under RICO statutes. Wouldn't such things be legitimate deterrents to others? Hypothetically, of course, and these are only imaginary examples. Of course.

Posted by tony [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 10, 2007 2:05 AM

Illegal immigration will be the downfall of America. I have worked in the home building industry for over 30 years, and have never seen such a crisis. There are builders that wire nothing but illegals and pocket the difference between what Americans were making and what they are paying the illegals. And yet they have the nerve to say they need these people to make a living!

I can honestly say I have never hired an illegal, because I refuse to hire anyone who doesn't speak English, that doesn't own a car to get to work in, and that doesn't have a verifiable work history. I am willing to pay more for the workers, thus making less for my company. This is what being an American is about.

This is one of the main issues I have with the dems at this point. I have written and e-mailed every member of my state delegation and declared my stance of fighting to remove any member that supports any type of program that does not require all illegals to go back to their country of origin and start the legal process of coming into America. I have also asked for a change in the law stating that the right of citizenship by birth be denied for all illegals. They should not be rewarded for committing a crime.

I have seen my entire industry go downhill because of this problem. And even worse, the quality of the homes have fallen to the worse I have seen in 30 years. I would not build a dog house to the standards some builders are using. If your help doesn't speak English, how can you tell them their work sucks? The only good thing about it is that I have started an entirely new company repairing the screwed up houses being built to such poor standards. But the home buyers don't see what is under the sheetrock when they buy these houses. They don't realize what a piece of junk they are paying $300,000 for. That is what makes this even worse.

Everyone should contact their Congress persons and demand an immigration policy that will set the limits at levels far lower then the are today. Stop paying for their illegal children. Stop allowing them to bring their entire families over here. Require that they learn English in order to both attend public schools, and become citizens. Deport every single one of them that has any type of criminal record. Require that they take drug tests. Make it very hard for them to come here and take over our country. And this means Asians, Latinos, islanders, English, Canadian , and every other nationality on Earth. No free rides.

Free Tibet

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 10, 2007 7:47 AM

you had me til you said "free tibet" !