Monday, May 15

President Bush's 5/15 Immigration Speech -- live reactions and reflections

*** UPDATES BELOW--Scroll Down for latest.

Comments and excerpts of Bush's prepared remarks below, and updates as the day and evening goes forward. Of course, I'm going to be live blogging the speech tonight. ***

BUMPED AND KEPT ABOVE THE FOLD UNTIL AFTER THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH.

Fresh content and new posts are below this one. Scroll down for ongoing posts about immigration and the Senate debate on S. 2611.

Welcome Hugh Hewitt and TruthLaidBear readers! Scroll down for other posts related to the immigration issue from earlier in the day.



Hugh Hewitt will have extended coverage on his show tonight, so you'll want to tune in to that.

I have also been invited to share thoughts with the BBC Radio Five Live. You should be able to listen in here (You'll need RealPlayer).

Also, Truth Laid Bear will be tracking the blogosphere's reaction to the Bush speech. Feel free to email me your reactions and thoughts--I'll publish them as I get them. Updates will be published below this, as I publish.

*** Update (3:54pm): ***

LaShawn is already skeptical...it seems everyone is really skeptical.
I predict that his speechwriters will insult our intelligence and present unsustainable and bad argumentation supporting amnesty for border jumpers, including the strawman "We are a nation of immigrants!" and the claim that deporting millions of illegal criminals is impractical. He'll toss us a half-chewed border enforcement bone to throw us off the trail.
I liked that Michelle Malkin talks about a natural attrition process as a way to deal with the current illegal alien population. Again, I don't think there is such thing as "jobs Americans won't do" but our economy IS growing, and there are plenty of jobs for those seeking a better future. Let's enforce our current laws, secure our borders with a physical fence, and improve our legal immigration process so there is an incentive to do things legally. Oh, of course, we need to start providing real consequences to employers that knowingly illegally profit from illegal labor.

I wouldn't be so cynical though. You have to give the administration some credit. Simply, the president is not all powerful. It takes a while to get a large ship turned around. I sure wish they would do a better job of communicating what exactly it is that they are doing, though!!

*** Update (5:42PM) ***

Here are some excerpts of tonight's speach via RNC's eCampaign:
On Border Security:
"Since I became President, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents . . . we have apprehended and sent home about six million people entering America illegally.

Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border."
I was glad to see this in there:
On enforcing our laws:
". . . we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility . . .

"A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law -- and leave employers with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the border illegally in the first place."
I agree with the President on the importance to remember the debate is about human lives--no matter how strong my sentiments in agreement or disagreement on the various issues.
On the tone of the debate:
"We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say."
This, of course, does not take away from the equally important truth--breaking the laws must have consquences.

It is sad to see so many millions so desperate for a better life! But this doesn't mean we open our borders, and it does not mean we stop enforcing our laws. I'll take this moment to remind readers to get involved in making a difference in Latin America. Join your local church mission trips, AND financially support other missionaries or relief charities. Great Commission Latin America and Samaritan's Purse come to mind.

*** Update (8:15 PM) ***
Watching it here.
5 clear objectives
1. Secure the borders.
Inceases funding by 60%? Arrested and SENT HOME 6 million people who have attempted to enter illegaly.

"High tech fences", "barriers in rural areas" it "will take time" The need is urgent. During the period of transition...up to 6 thousand guardsmen.
"Instaling fences and vehicle barriers" Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement.
Through state and local law... GREAT! Empower the states. Reduce Federal burocracy! More training at the local level. Good. "They need to be part of our strategy to secure our borders" Every illegal immigrant we catch crossing our border is returned home. Mexicans are sent back home wtithin 24 hours.
Catch and release is unaceptable.
I want to see more action on this, but from my sources, this is a slow process that is happening. Catch and release is in the process of ending.
Expanded detention facilities. Expedited the legal process to enter legaly.
All good thoughts.
2. Temporary worker program.
"Jobs Americans are not doing" Yes!! He did not say jobs americans won't do! Its a small step forward!!
3. Hold employers to account for the workers they hire. "It is against the law to hire somebody who is in this country illegaly."
Better system for document verification. Use biometric... "Leave employers with no excuse for violating" the law.
4. "We must face the reality that Millions illegal immigrants are here already" To deport every illegal immigrant..."it is neither wise or " there is a rational middle ground between a...
Aproval would not be automatic, and would have to wait in line behind those who have followed the rules.
"5th. We must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot. "
He is going into assimilation and the importance of learning English. "Embrace our common identity as Americans." He is talking about shared ideals, "respect for the flag we fly, and the ability to speak and write the english language. " Alright! Well said.

*** Update (8:20 PM) ***
I think my stream is delayed...and my connection is not to good...

"All elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all."

Every human being has dignity and value, no matter what their citizenship.

*** Update (8:30 PM) ***
Ok. I guess the speech is done. I missed the last closing comments!! I've got a complaint for the White House web site staff!!

My thoughts: Great speech that hit it on the issues the way it needed. Realistic, and feesable. Some key quotes for me

"Instaling fences and vehicle barriers" and "barriers in rural areas" and "Hold employers to account for the workers they hire." Listen to Hugh Hewitt--he is doing a great round up of reactions to the speech. Like Hugh said it, "It's not nativism" I'm glad.

*** Update (8:32) ***

LaShawn, I would have expected more from you! I'm sorry you just didn't feel this was worth your time. But, I am still looking forward to your thoughts in the days to come.

The thing I don't understand is why are so many conservatives wanting Bush to take some sort of "direct" action on this? Are we not for limited government, and check & balances?

Bush is not king!! He cannot simply legislate from the oval office. More thoughts from the Anchoress.

...I just have to ask all of you people - on every side - who have decided that immigration is one man’s burden, and that every good thing President Bush has done is to be negated because he hasn’t snapped his fingers and done what YOU think is the solution to the immigration problem…what did Clinton do about immigration, what did Bush 41 do? What did St. Reagan do? What did Carter do? What has any president, congressperson or senator done about immigration for the last 30 years, except kick the issue down the road for someone else to deal with?

Reagan, if you remember, was the amnesty president. Clinton was the “borders? What’s borders, everyone is our pal” president.



He did the right thing--outlined 5 important issues that need to be addressed, and called on the House and Senate to come together and do what THEY are elected to do!! I am VERY glad to hear him talk about empowering the states and local governments. They should have been doing this a long time ago.

I would have liked to hear more about the consequences for being in the country illegaly. He talked about taxes, learning English, but those are things we all do. I want the message to be clear--there are going to be tough consequences for entering the US illegaly. Are the fines going to be tough? What if an illegal immigrant can't pay the fines? Will he or she be returned to their country of origin? What about those that avoid these penalties? What about current illegal aliens entering the country? What about increased holding spaced to be able to increase our capacity to hold illegal aliens while waiting deportation.

5 great objectives--the ball is in the Senate's court now.

Don't forget--I'll be on BBC Radio Five Live in 30 or so minutes. They said I would be debating someone in the "opposing" view, so I am not sure what to expect.

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