16 May 2006

"Underwhelmed" would be an understatement

If you were encouraged by anything you heard during the President’s speech last night, then you should read this transcript of Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Julie Meyers.



HH: If fencing is the best way to stop them at the border, why don't we have a plan laid out for that?
JM: Well, you know, I don't think we think that fencing is the best way to stop them on the border. I think the President's called for...if you build a fence, they build a tunnel. We just saw that today. There was another tunnel destroyed, another, excuse me, another tunnel found over in the San Diego area. So you can't...given the kind of the layout of our land, I believe it's the President's view, it's the border patrol's view, that a fence alone is not enough. We need a layered approach that includes surveillance, personnel, technology. We are working with the military to make sure we have the best technology. And some places, a fence may be very effective, but some places, it's simply not.



To be fair, the President did not say that a fence alone is enough to secure the border. But if, as Ms. Meyers claims, we build a fence then they build a tunnel, there would be little point to building a fence. Like Hewitt, I too am “underwhelmed.”


Hewitt’s interview with Mark Steyn was also enlightening and, thus, also not encouraging; and that is putting it midly.



I've been through U.S. immigration as a participant. And what everybody tells you is that Congress and the President can announce things as often as they want, and Congress can pass laws on it as much as they want. They can pass particular programs. A couple of years back, they determined there was a need for a particular type of business category, and Congress passed a law for it. And it just sat on the desk of the relative immigration agency. The reality of U.S. immigration is that basically, you've got a lot of different...every single border guard and border post is operating a free-lance immigration policy. The border post at Pittsburgh-New Hampshire is unmanned two-thirds of the day. The border post on the Manitoba-Minnesota border is on the honor system. It's open 24 hours a day. You pull up there and there's a video phone and there's a sign saying please check in on the video phone. And 60% of the time, the video phone doesn't work. So you have to ask yourself are these people, the ones who regardless of what the President and Congress says, seriously going to enforce anything he requires anyway?




During the course of his speech, the President asserted that we are a nation of laws. Steyn’s testimony about the two border posts he mentioned, seems to indicate otherwise.

Nation of laws. Right.

One of the most (and there were many) disappointing moments in last night’s speech was, “Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border.” In other words: “No matter what we do, we can really do nothing meaningful, or effective, about this invasion. We need to accept it: they are here and we are powerless to do anything about it. We just need to deal with it.”

No matter what else he said last night, President Bush told the world that we are unable, perhaps even unwilling, to protect and to defend our borders. [UPDATE: And, as Reuters reports, illegals have gotten that message loud and clear. Said Roger Nahun about the "militarization" of the border: "It is not going to stop [us], because the United States is where the money is." Nahun spoke as he prepared to enter the river himself!!!

In the past, I have rejected the notion that the President is in anyone’s pocket, even the pockets of Big Oil. But his refusal to take a strong position on illegal immigration (which, let’s face it, is just a comforting euphemism for invasion) makes me wonder. Really: Who does have him?

Now, in all fairness, the President is not the Dictator; he’s an executive. He may only recommend legislation. One could argue that he has recommended the strongest legislation he thinks he is going to get from this Congress. Still: He could have started much stronger and negotiated down; or at least started strong and then signed whatever came out of Congress. After all, what has the President vetoed?

Like Red Sky Brothers, I’ll be doing my own point by point commentary on the President’s Speech

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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