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BUSH: GIVE US THE CHANCE TO FIX THE PROBLEM

President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Glynco, Georgia.

President George Bush has framed the argument over immigration in a speech given at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Glynco, Georgia. It should be noticed that the speech was given in a friendly government-run facility and the venue did not lend itself to any type of questioning or comment. Let us look at some of the things the President said… and some of the questions that should be asked. 

GIVE US A CHANCE…

“A lot of Americans are skeptical about immigration reform primarily because they don't think the government can fix the problems. And my answer to the skeptics is, give us a chance to fix the problems in a comprehensive way that enforces our border and treats people with decency and respect. Give us a chance to fix this problem. Don't try to kill this bill before it gets moving. Give us a chance to make it easier for the folks who wear the uniform along our borders to do their job.”

Mr. President, with all due respect, can you point to any large government projects that produce the intended results, are well managed, are fiscally sound, are auditable and which have minimal waste and loss of funds? The government seems inept at managing large complex programs — the Hurricane Katrina recovery is a good example that only involves a limited number of states. This program involves all states and all levels of government. A piecemeal step-by-step approach is necessary. Start small and integrate the parts when they are showing signs of completion. The stakes are too high to just give the government a chance. I, personally, would need more assurances and certainty before I would sign-off on this legislation. 

WE HAVE LEARNED FROM OUR PAST MISTAKES…

"I believe the bill before Congress learns from the mistakes of the past. It is the best hope for lasting reform. If people are interested in fixing a system that's broken, this bill is the best hope to do so. It answers the longstanding concerns of the American people. It deserves widespread support. And I strongly back it."

Mr. President, with all due respect, there was very little learned from the previous amnesty attempt. That is because many provisions of that legislation were either never implemented or enforced. Even the President of the United States cannot guarantee what this or a subsequent Congress may do to alter the legislation once it is passed.

FIRST STEP… ENFORCE THE IMMIGRATION LAWS AT THE BORDERS AND AT WORK SITES ACROSS AMERICA…

"The first step to comprehensive reform must be to enforce immigration laws at the borders and at work sites across America. And this is what this bill does. For the skeptics who say that we're not concerned about border security or workplace enforcement, they need to read the bill. The bill prioritizes enforcing our laws at the border, and saying to employers, we'll hold you to account for employing somebody who's here illegally -- knowingly employing somebody who's here illegally."

Mr. President, this is a great idea. Why not propose a bill that funds and enforces current laws and when that appears to be working… then take the next step toward additional immigration reform? Any project manager will tell you that a well-managed phased approach is better than a single large program implementation. Forget the project managers in Homeland Security, look to project planning advice from NASA — they have proven that they can manage a large phased project implementation and still produce results. 

TAMPER RESISTANT IDENTITY CARDS…

"And that's why we're going to promote tamper-resistant identification cards. In other words, if you're here working, you're going to have a card that you can't tamper with, that some document forger can't foist off as a document for somebody to come and pick peaches here in Georgia."

Mr. President, with all due respect, please ask Mr. Chertoff how he plans to implement these cards when your administration cannot even agree on the specifications and infrastructure of the tamper-resistant driver’s license and the national database to track the cards. And speaking of tracking: we track those in-bound visitors to the United States who are traveling on visas, but cannot track out-bound visa holders who are leaving this country. Therefore, we do not even know who has over-stayed their visa. And yet, you speak of the infrastructure changes like it is something that can be implemented immediately instead of taking a few years.

IT’S NOT AMNESTY…

"Amnesty is forgiveness for being here without any penalties -- that's what amnesty is. I oppose it. The authors -- many of the authors of this bill oppose it. This bill is not an amnesty bill. If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. It's not an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our fellow citizens. People in Congress need the courage to go back to their districts and explain exactly what this bill is all about, in order to put comprehensive immigration reform in place."

Mr. President, there is no current or proposed methodology for assessing fines, collecting fines or even if the fines would be sufficient to pay for more than a small portion of the infrastructure needed to implement this legislation. Already people are talking about waving any fines and/or penalties for hardship cases involving those earning minimal wages.

Mr. President, with all due respect, can you refute the assertion that this legislation will provide a shelter from charges of illegal border crossing, felony document and identification theft, felony tax fraud and felony identity theft in exchange for a minor fine? Something that is NOT available to ordinary law-abiding citizens of the United States.

HELP ASSIMILATION…

"This legislation is also going to help newcomers assimilate into our society. One of the great aspects of American society is people have been able to assimilate."

Mr. President, there have been many studies showing that illegal aliens do not plan to assimilate. They want to work here, live well while they work, and then return to their native country to retire in better circumstances than their fellow citizens.

SETTING TRIGGERS…

"This bill sets enforcement benchmarks that have got to be met before other aspects of the comprehensive bill are triggered. In other words, there has to be certain accomplishments in place before other aspects of the bill come into being."

Mr. President, with all due respect, regardless of what you say about triggers, the bill grants legal standing and protection to everyone the day the file their application for documents. The government appears to have a scant 24–hours to do a preliminary background check on people who are most likely not in any automated system. Even hardened drug-pushing gang members can apply — if they sign a document renouncing their gang status. Like anyone will believe that?

DOING WHAT’S RIGHT FOR AMERICA…

"Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Now is the time for members of both political parties to stand up and show courage, and take a leadership role and do what's right for America."

Mr. President, with all due respect, this project may be right for America — but there are not enough legislative details, guarantees and safeguards to protect America from an onslaught of low-income, minimally educated people who, according to the Heritage Institute studies, will cost the taxpayer approximately $22,000 after all of the immigrant’s income and benefits. 

The government is having trouble processing all of the legal immigration requests at the present time and complains of a large backlog of applications. This would bury the Administration in paperwork and force the hiring of tens of thousands of additional workers to even begin to deal with the paperwork generated by this legislation.

This bill was crafted in secrecy with the input of policy wonks and special interests who built a “kluge” — an unworkable, un-implementable piece of legislation that will siphon off billions of dollars of the taxpayer’s funds with little legislatively-mandated accountability. It is poorly written and contains numerous non-defined loopholes.

What if Congress is wrong? How can you un-ring the bell without incurring massive costs and the possibility of a major revolt by those who have already been promised so much?

And what keeps this legislation from acting as a further magnet that attracts millions more into forcing the United States taxpayer to share their limited resources? Service in emergency rooms across the nation has declined severely as facilities are closed and the remaining facilities are forced to pick up the slack. Education has failed an entire generation as schools are dumbed-down to accommodate non-English speakers with spotty educational prerequisites; especially coming from a culture which does not traditionally value education as much as past legal immigrants.

National security will be compromised as no government program is even approaches 80% efficiency. Stolen or forged documents proving someone was “in-country” prior to the deadline will become a cottage industry. For those with criminal records, clean documents will be readily available. Asking foreign countries to assist in the identification of criminals is an exercise in futility. These are corrupt nations who will say anything to preserve the cash flow from immigrants in the United States. That is, even if areas under their jurisdiction have computer systems which can intercommunicate with our systems.

Mr. President, with all due respect, what about changing the law to insure that infants born in the United States assume the citizenship of their parents?  Are we asking immigrants to renounce their original country as we have done in the past, or are we allowing dual citizenship? What about reciprocity — the kind where United States citizens are given all of the rights and privileges in Mexico that we may be providing to their citizens. Ask our vacationing citizens about seeking medical care in Mexico. Ask our vacationing students about trying to earn a little pocket money in Mexico.

And most important, where is the government financial, social and environmental impact study that details the current and future costs along the consideration of the effects of masses of poor immigrants in a concentrated geographical area? Have your planners considered the extension of run-down neighborhoods where even the police fear to tread? Or the political influence that could be generated to provide more and more costly social programs? Or the BIG QUESTION, the impact of millions of people becoming eligible for social security (with less requirements than current citizens) after making minimal payments into the system?

…AND THE QUESTIONS GO ON-AND-ON LEADING TO THE CONCLUSION: THIS IS THE WRONG BILL FOR THE WRONG REASON AT THE WRONG TIME.

What can YOU do?

Call your legislators and demand answers to your questions.

Tell them you will vote them out of office and not support their respective political party if the proceed with this bone-headed legislation.

Discuss the matter with your friends.

VOTE IN YOUR ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST! Protect yourself, your family, your friends and your community.

For those wishing to read the actual speech in context, it can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070529-7.html

— steve

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