Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush’s immigration speech


“We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws.” After the latest NSA revelations, maybe he should have left that line out.

Not surprisingly, he attempts to come down on every side of the issue. He loves immigrants, immigrants are a threat; immigrants come here “for the dream of freedom,” but should be stuck in a guest worker program that allows them only the freedom to work. Saying that emotions run high on the issue, he rhetorically equates those idiots the Minute Men with the millions who rallied in support of immigrants, just as President Eisenhower liked to pretend there was moral equivalence between Southerners resisting integration and civil rights workers.

He wants to send the National Guard to the border for a year, and then reduce their numbers. Let’s see if this sounds familiar: we’ll train new members of the Border Patrol, and as they stand up, the National Guard can stand down. He says that sending 6,000 members of the military to the border is not militarizing the border. But of course words only mean what Bush wants them to mean. He also accesses his inner lexicographer when he insists that he is against something called “amnesty,” which involves an automatic path to citizenship (which literally no one supports; of course people would have to apply for citizenship and could be rejected), but denies that failing to deport every single illegal immigrant is amnesty. Now he’s just arguing about the meaning of the word.

More dangerous than militarizing the border, and I hope this gets some attention, he talks about involving state and local cops in anti-immigrant “targeted enforcement missions.”

There was a line I didn’t understand about forcing foreign countries to take their nationals who we deport.

And he wants immigrants to “assimilate” and learn English, because you can’t be an Uhmurric’n without knowing you some English. “When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit, and they add to the unity of America.” They renew our spirit by becoming exactly like us?

What he didn’t do, and hopes no one will notice he didn’t do, was say why now. He said that “the need to secure our border is urgent” and obviously he made a rare foray into prime-time broadcasting (when was the last time we had the opportunity to see him trying to make hand gestures while sitting down behind a too-high desk?), but never said wherein lies the sudden urgency that necessitated screwing up the start time of “24” (except on the West Coast). Can’t say it has something to do with terrorists and 9/11, cuz then there’d be awkward questions about where he’s been the last 4½ years, can’t say Karl told him the R’s need a Willie Horton thing or they’ll be screwed in November, so he avoided the issue.

He ended by mentioning some specific immigrants he actually likes, the type that join our military and get wounded fighting our wars for our oil.

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