I have slept on the speech given last night by President Bush.
I find it even worse in the cold light of the morning than in the Grey mists of evening.
There is a fool notion that between the political 'right' and the 'left' there is a 'center' which has the majority of the population. Consider a geometric plane with a line on it with a beginning and end, and label one 'left' and the other 'right'. Take a paperpunch on the center of that line and place that punched hole under the paper. Lift the paper up. Where is the political center in relationship to 'left' and 'right'? It is NOT on that line. And so President Bush has made the *exact* same decision as the Captain of the Titanic: try to avoid the problem and get the ship safely past it. It was a fateful decision then, and it is the same today.
As to tenor and tone of the speech, let me say that it may have been one of the best given by the President during his term in office. He has papered over many sore wounds in this Nation and attempted to placate people by playing on their emotions and telling them that 'reason' will let us chart that middle course on the line of politics. Much was made of how immigrants add to this Nation, and of that there is no doubt. But in trying to link my ancestors who came here LEGALLY with those currently here ILLEGALLY, this President has slapped me directly across the face and then *backhanded* that slap by implying that there is NO DIFFERENCE between the two eras of immigration.
I am not a *fool* Mr. President. I understand the history of this Nation. I understand the changing nature of this country as immigrants enter into and contribute to it. The era before 1920 was one of OPEN immigration and welcoming through Ports of Entry in which people were QUARANTINED to allow infectious diseases to run their course FIRST. And I thoroughly understand that there was and still IS a need for same. Mr. President, apparently you do not believe in this.
As for the *economic* argument that these people come here to get good jobs and build lives and families, I will say this: no matter how law abiding they try to be when they get here, they have broken the law to do so. Mr. President, you wish to let these people who have broken Our Nation's Law of the Land to remain here while applying for Citizenship. Mr. President this is REWARDING criminal behavior and causing there to be a deep-seated disrespect for the very Law of the Land that YOU swore an Oath to uphold. By not insisting that these individuals take their paperwork and return HOME to apply for Citizenship, you have made this situation impossible to handle. You have just encouraged every forgery operation south of the border and, indeed, anywhere on the planet, to engage in the creation of realistic documents that can pass a *sniff* test so as to get people into this Nation. Mr. President, by trying to avoid the enforcement of the Law of the Land you are charting a course into the path of the iceberg while trying to avoid it.
Further, in this vein, you have now signaled the opening of the floodgates for anyone to do anything to get past any minor border enhancements so as to get such documentation into Our Nation so that they can *prove* they have been here for some arbitrary length of time. By not enforcing the Law of the Land you are encouraging lawbreaking on a vast scale as the rewards are very, very high.
Now you actually *did* mention enhancing the security of the border with Mexico. Mr. President, when will you rightly respond to your OWN Department of Homeland Security report on the HUNDREDS of violations of US National Sovereignty by Mexican Federal Police and Military and some incidents of actually *firing* on US Law Enforcement Officers? You later state that Mexico is our *friend*.
Does a *friend* encourage its people to cross illegally into another Sovereign Nation?
Does a *friend* allow its Military and Police to violate the integrity of the border between its Nation and that of its neighbor?
Does a *friend* encourage those from its Nation that are *illegally* in another Nation to protest for their *rights*?
Does a *friend* continue to encourage corruption within its own Military and Police forces so that the Government loses control of same when it comes to spreading illegality to its neighbor?
In what way is the Nation of Mexico a *friend* to the United States? One can make the old refrain heard so often during the Cold War about the Soviet Union and its people: 'The people are nice and friendly, too bad they have that awful system over them.' Mr. President you may want to note that the United States asserted its Sovereignty *then* to the good effect that by closing off most meaningful trade with the USSR that its Government finally could not compete and maintain the well being of its people and was brought down by same. If we apply that to Mexico, the people forced to actually live in the Nation that they are Citizens in would have to do the SAME.
The actual substance of border security boils down to: 6,000 National Guard, lots more Border Patrol, and some sort of electronic sensor system.
So, to get the Border Patrol up to snuff will require 8,000 more agents and they will take *how long* to train and get used to their jobs? 2008 is that? And in the mean time, Mr. President, you have held the hope of a 'Get into the US FREE' card to anyone with some sort of documentation to prove how long they have been here. Your actions will change viewpoints to one of not only *encouraging* an increased flow of illegal immigrants but one that will overwhelm an already overtaxed State Department in trying to process this flood of documents. To say nothing of the Immigration and Naturalization folks.
And exactly why, Mr. President, do you NOT want to militarize the border? Mexico has already done so on their side with their troops and police penetrating Our Nation at will. Sympathy for those seeking 'a better life'? And so you encourage them to behave illegally and REWARD them for that? How is this flood of undocumented immigrants not a problem in the post-9/11 world?
Mr. President, you have boldly declared a 9/10 strategy that was poorly done under previous Administrations and Congresses.
Onto 'virtual fence' or some such. A sensor array and UAVs and more roads to the border and... ummmm... more roads TO THE BORDER? Mr. President, are you NUTS? The exact and very last thing that needs to be done is show those who are able to evade this virtual system the way to get quickly into the Nation. And these things will be evaded, Mr. President, as you well know. Transnational Terrorists infiltrating into Iraq have the necessary savvy to avoid most remote sensing operations or otherwise mask or hide their presence or defeat such things. Technology is cheap, Mr. President, and open enough so that those with minimal skills can find ways to disable, mask or otherwise dodge such 'virtual systems'. By not placing a truly CONCRETE barrier to allow multiple and overlapping systems to catch such activity and give rise to remote observation via turreted gun ports, you are saying you want an electronic arms race between the US Federal Government and those providing illegal entry into the United States.
The United States is a land of much wealth, Mr. President. The Federal Procurement system via contracting things out takes forever and when delivered such systems are nearly obsolete when they arrive. Only the US Armed Forces do better and they have a regularized system for doing the same. By limiting the 'virtual fence' to Civilian control, you place the Civilian contracting problems directly in the path of this. And as the Border Patrol has never, ever even stood up such a system, there will be extreme problems in getting things up and running and then preserving a technological *edge* over those wishing to defeat last year's technology with today's latest TOY.
You have heralded the end of *catch and release*! A positive note... but why all of this holding center space? Why more guards? Couldn't you just purchase an airline ticket or tell those carriers operating in the US that they are to take deportees home in empty seats on planes, trains, buses, ships, etc.? You do not need more holding centers unless most of those seeking to enter the US are from Nations we have no interaction with commercially. So just how *many* people from Red China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and other such Nations are working their way through the southern border?
Mr. President, here is what you propose boils down to:
1) Encouraging illegal activity to forge documents and gain entry into the US with the promise of Citizenship at the end.
2) An uptick in enforcement capabilities via manpower which is *damned* expensive. Checking around at a few places, I have found that the average federal wage for the border states is $60K per year. As that is without the cost of benefits added in, and those traditionally run at 30% or more, call that $80K/year. So you are adding $640,000,000 to the Federal budget just in pay, alone. When you start chipping in the additional cost of training, equipping, enhanced infrastructure, the cost of a 'virtual wall' starts to rise. My personal estimation for a coast-to-coast sensor array is a $1B or so... but I save on manpower by making the presence of people virtual not the wall. Mr. President all of these new agents will also need *supervisors* and additional bureaucratic infrastructure. This is a 'big government' solution and, quite frankly after seeing how such responds in other areas like disasters and emergencies, it stinks. And it is being run by the EXACT SAME AGENCY that oversees FEMA. Do you remember Katrina by any chance, Mr. President?
3) Encouraging those trafficking in human labor, also known as slavery, to reach out to the drug cartels and Transnational Terrorists to gain advice, support and insight on how to thwart virtual systems AND provide documentation for those they traffic. Why, this is a whole raising of that job category, Mr. President! And you are providing that as a free of charge incentive to those looking to make a fast buck off of getting folks into the Nation illegally! Congratulations on throwing a life-line to al Qaeda, Sir! I am *sure* they will appreciate it as much as I am sure they *appreciated* the open borders after 9/11.
4) A path to Citizenship for those here illegally. Mr. President, what makes these such law abiding folks that you would want them here? No matter how nice they have been after arriving, they did a criminal activity against the Law of the Land and violated Treaties with Foreign Nations to do so. You want to fine them? FINE THEM? And think putting them *at the back of the line* is enough real punishment? Mr. President, the majority of these folks will claim POVERTY and dance past the fines. Then sit around here waiting for their Citizenship to arrive. Yes, indeed, lets impoverish them and then encourage them to STAY. Does this not trouble you as an outcome, Mr. President?
5) A 'guest worker' program. Mr. President, in clear and simple terms explain why the United States should have any such thing when it has UNEMPLOYED Citizens seeking work? Do note that if the jobs being offered are at something below minimum wage to illegal aliens, that those that you bring in with your 'guest worker' program will not be doing them EITHER. And those waiting here will not do them as they are on a 'path to citizenship' and expect full protection of the Constitution and the laws until they are fully Citizens. So here again, you are encouraging illegal activity. Perhaps, Mr. President, you could ask those job sectors with shortfalls to identify themselves and their *need* for labor and then ask Congress to RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR THOSE JOBS. Or maybe you could offer a Job Matching service in which anyone willing to do those jobs sets their minimum wage and that employers are forced to start employing people based on what they think the job should be giving them? Either way, a 'guest worker' program is not and should not be considered until EVERY CITIZEN WHO WANTS A JOB HAS ONE. To HELL with foreigners until we have a NEGATIVE unemployment rate, Mr. President. To HELL with them ALL. And if a business can't actually support this that would mean... it was economically inefficient at doing its job and should be OUT OF BUSINESS ANYWAYS.
6) Actually getting a documentation system in-place to get 'guest workers' in and provide some sort of legitimate documentation. Everyone on the Conservative part of the spectrum likes to point to AMEX or VISA or some such. May I point out that these very companies run advertisements on the frailty of their system and how easy it is to scam them via identity theft and credit card fraud? Further, this sort of thing will ALSO encourage forgers and those with cyber- capabilities to attack this system with constantly increasingly effective hardware and software until it is penetrated like a piece of Swiss cheese. Again, this encourages more advanced illegal activity and forces those doing illegal transportation to work with those that would further illegal drug trafficking and Transnational Terrorists to work together. And, as a side-light, probably INCREASE the rate of identity theft and credit card fraud, globally.
7) We cannot get rid of those here... well, you assert that, Mr. President. May I point out to you empty seats on airliners and such I have mentioned previously? One-way passage home should be easy to do. You might want to ask TRANSCOM for help if you get too many to handle, as those folks are *wonderful* at finding ways to get people to far off regions of the planet quickly. That is their job: Transportation Command. Yes, the US Armed Forces could actually DO THAT, Mr. President. Why, exactly, to you want people who are here illegally to stay?
8) Something that needs be addressed, Mr. President is birthright citizenship. I truly do not believe that you can do anything for this without the help of Congress. May I suggest that if one parent is already a Citizen then the child, upon reaching the age of majority be given the option of becoming a Full Citizen? And that those born of parents that are not Citizens be denied this? There is a good business in getting pregnant mothers into the US so that their children can be Citizens. That really should end, Mr. President.
9) Mr. President, when, exactly, will you ask Mexico to stop violating the border integrity of the United States and ask that all of those who have violated it be handed over for prosecution and that Mexico pay fines for each and every incursion?
10) Mr. President, when, exactly, will you seek to end Federal subsidies and ending tariffs on those industries that hire illegal aliens so that the flow of same is not done with FEDERAL FUNDS?
Last night President Bush made the same decision as the Captain of the Titanic. Try to steer into the path of the iceberg in the hopes of avoiding it.
I fear the consequences will be bad. Very bad, indeed.
16 May 2006
I have slept on the speech given last night by President Bush.