Dobbs: Bush speech satisfies nobody
By Lou Dobbs
Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com. See the latest on President Bush's plan to send the U.S. military to America's southern border, "Lou Dobbs Tonight" CNN, 6 p.m. ET.
President Bush delivers his immigration speech from the Oval Office on Monday night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's address from the Oval Office on border security and illegal immigration failed to satisfy either advocates of amnesty or those demanding that the government secure our borders and ports. Whether by design or not, however, the president did manage to advance public awareness of both crises.
The president finally acknowledged the unsustainable social and economic burdens of permitting millions of illegal aliens to forge documents, pressure our public schools and hospitals and overtax our local and state budgets.
And the president, in asking for more border patrol officers and sending 6,000 National Guard troops to our southern border to support the Border Patrol, also acknowledged the federal government's utter failure to protect the American people by securing our borders, across which as many as 3 million illegal aliens enter this country each year.
President Bush's five-point plan began with the words: "First, the United States must secure its borders." But the president did not assign any urgency to the national task of doing so. Deploying as many as 6,000 members of the National Guard to help secure our broken border with Mexico is a positive step.
But the president's proposal to place those National Guard members in some sort of adjunct support role is peculiar at best, and without question, woefully inadequate. The president sounded as if he were trying to appease Mexico's President Vicente Fox, assuring him we would not militarize the border. If there is to be appeasement at all, that should fall to the Mexican government rather than President Bush.
Not only are millions of illegal aliens entering the United States each year across that border, but so are illegal drugs. More cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana flood across the Mexican border than from any other place, more than three decades into the war on drugs.
President Bush and all the open borders advocates should be held to account for not doing everything in their power to destroy the drug traffic across our borders, as well as illegal immigration.
If it is necessary to send 20,000 to 30,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to preserve our national sovereignty and protect the American people from rampant drug trafficking, illegal immigration and the threat of terrorists, then I cannot imagine why this president and this Congress would hesitate to do so.
And how can this president and this Congress begin to rationalize placing immigration reform, which has been neglected since the last amnesty 20 years ago, ahead of national security and the safety of all Americans?
President Bush went on to say that in order to secure our borders we must create a temporary guest-worker program. What? Come again, Mr. President. The president knows better, and so do the American people. Control of our borders and ports is necessary to our national security and a temporary worker program is an exploitive luxury for corporate America.
The president also said we need to hold employers who hire illegal aliens accountable -- but he failed to say how. What should be the penalties for these illegal employers? How large a fine should they receive? How many years in jail for the executives of such companies?
It would have been inspiring to hear the president say that he and his friend Vicente Fox had discussed illegal immigration and drug trafficking and reached an agreement that both the U.S. and Mexican militaries would be used to create a border security force, one that working together would ensure the integrity of the U.S./Mexico border.
Wouldn't it have been nice as well for this president to suggest that the U.S. government would also take seriously its responsibilities to create a new and efficient immigration system to accommodate the backlog of millions of people trying to do the right thing? The same agency that would have to oversee Mr. Bush's amnesty program could not begin to do so because the Citizenship and Immigration Services already faces a backlog of millions of people who are trying to enter this country lawfully.
Both political parties are complicit with corporate America and special interests in placing so-called immigration reform ahead of border and port security. That mindlessness speaks volumes about our elected officials' commitment to the national interest and the weight and influence of corporate America over both parties.
Mr. President, I don't think the American people will tolerate this much longer.
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