Analysis of the immigration portion of President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address

Analysis of the immigration portion of President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union address:

“The other pressing challenge is immigration. America needs to secure our borders. And, with your help, my administration is taking steps to do so. We’re increasing worksite enforcement, deploying fences and advanced technologies to stop illegal crossings.
It’s not difficult to improve upon your administration’s pathetic record on worksite enforcement. During Fiscal Year 2002, the first full fiscal year of your term, there were only 25 criminal and 485 administrative worksite enforcement arrests. Last fiscal year, these numbers increased to 863 criminal and 4,077 administrative arrests. (And for the record, the vast majority of the illegal aliens who were “administratively” arrested were released back into our communities because they did not meet your administration’s guidelines for removal. But more on that in the next section.) By way of comparison, in Fiscal Year 1998, there were 7,788 worksite investigations that resulted in 642 warnings, 1,023 notices of intent to fine, 535 final orders, and 17,552 arrests. (Your administration stopped providing these detailed statistics, undoubtedly because of its dismal performance.) With a minimum of eight million illegal aliens working in this country, it will require much more than token efforts to discourage employers from hiring them.

Fences, cameras, radars and other advanced technologies do not stop illegal crossings. Fences merely slow people down by perhaps a minute or two, and technology only detects intrusions, but is incapable of capturing anything. If there are insufficient numbers of Border Patrol agents in place to respond, the people and contraband that are detected will not be apprehended. Although the Border Patrol catches about one million people every year trying to sneak across the border, front-line agents estimate that two to three times that number slip by them.

“We’ve effectively ended the policy of “catch and release” at the border.”

Unfortunately, “catch and release” is alive and well in the interior of the United States where most of the illegal aliens reside. In light of the fact that your administration started the practice of “catch and release” at the border, you don’t get any credit for ending an insane policy that tripled the number of illegal aliens entering the United States from all countries except Mexico.

“And by the end of this year, we will have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents.”

If you hadn’t waited until the waning days of your term to start hiring Border Patrol agents, you could have tripled or even quadrupled the size of the Border Patrol. Remember your Fiscal Year 2005 budget request that sought to decrease the size of the Border Patrol? How about your Fiscal Year 2006 budget request that only sought an increase of 210 Border Patrol agents despite the requirement of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to hire 2,000 agents every year for the next five years? The American people haven’t forgotten.

“Yet we also need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we create a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy. This will take pressure off the border and allow law enforcement to concentrate on those who mean us harm.”

Don’t you mean “support businesses that want cheap, exploitable labor?” At a time of high unemployment and underemployment, the last thing our economy needs is more unskilled laborers to place additional burdens on a social infrastructure that is already sagging under the weight of uncontrolled illegal immigration. You don’t explain how our economy can create even a fraction of the jobs necessary to satisfy the desire of billions of impoverished people throughout the world who want to work and live in America. Your so-called solution makes about as much sense as suggesting that the way to stop bank robberies is to print more money.

“We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved, and it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals.”

Ah, now we get to the bottom line. In exchange for your administration’s insincere and woefully inadequate enforcement efforts, you want another massive amnesty. It didn’t work in 1986, when there were only two to three million illegal aliens living in the United States. Instead of slowing the rate of illegal immigration, it exacerbated the problem, fueling a five-fold increase in illegal immigration. The American people spoke loud and clear on this issue last year. What part of “no” don’t you understand?