Black conservative commentary

 


Bush's Immigration Policy: What If His Opponent is a Border Hawk?


by Ken Raymond

 

A New Visions Commentary paper published March 2004 by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.

In the fall's presidential campaign, imagine what a challenger who is strong on national security issues could do with regard to the proposed Bush immigration policy.

There are problems with President Bush's new policy that an ambitious presidential candidate could exploit. To start, it does not address problems with border security.

Drug smugglers have diversified to include smuggling illegal immigrants - cramming them in the back of trucks and sending them across the desert with the hope they don't die from dehydration.

American farmers in counties along the border are fighting to keep these immigrants off of their property. Swarms of illegal aliens not only trespass on their land, but also help themselves to whatever they find along the way.

As a native Texan and former governor of the state, Bush understands the problem and has sworn to protect border families. But, thus far, he's said virtually nothing about strengthening border security there.

Our Department of Homeland Security has beefed up screening efforts at official entry points, but the Mexican government has not. Determined terrorists need only travel to Mexico and pay a smuggler to get them into the United States.

A serious presidential challenger could really make Bush sweat by pointing this out.

President Bush has also promised to lower rising health care costs by placing a cap on malpractice lawsuits and ending frivolous suits against the medical community.

Health care costs rose quickly during the 90s. Lawsuits are one reason they are skyrocketing. But there's another reason. That's the same time illegal immigrants began to flow into the country in increasing numbers.

Most Americans don't realize they've been bearing the burden of their own health care costs plus the costs of 10 million illegal immigrants. The President must know his immigration policy effectively undermines his health care policy. What if this gets brought up in a campaign debate?

The new Bush policy also devalues the legal immigration process. Those who waited and followed the rules have a right to be disappointed as those who disobeyed the law are rewarded. And if President Bush doesn't place any value in the current immigration law, it's difficult to see how any immigrant would.

Let's add that public schools are bursting at the seams trying to deal with the influx of foreign children and how they must find money in their budgets to accommodate them. State prison systems are overflowing. Wages are being suppressed while American jobs are being given away.

What about American business owners? Many of them, for the sole purpose of making a buck, have decided to exploit the situation by hiring a cheap labor. Many employers have adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I thought the government was supposed to protect us from things like that.

Does the Bush policy address these problems? No, it doesn't.

When the bill gets to Congress, it's very likely to split the President's supporters in half. Staunch conservatives will oppose it or offer amendments to make it more palatable. Others may go along because they don't want to visibly oppose their leader (or miss out on a chance to campaign with him in the fall).

What about his opponents? They'll likely vote against it to deny him of something he wants. Their votes, coupled with those staunch conservatives, will most likely kill the proposal.

Still, just imagine what a serious presidential contender might do with Bush's policy? The holes in it are big enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger to drive his Hummer through!

This, however, is probably not a real concern to the White House. Liberals are so weak on national security issues that Bush can still make a huge mistake like this and prevail. But if the liberals were strong on this issue and could be taken seriously, there would really be a problem for President Bush.

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(Ken Raymond, a member of the African-American leadership network Project 21, is a freelance writer from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Comments may be sent to [email protected].)


Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.

 


 

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