Hans' News and Politics Blog

A Blog of Conservative News, Politics, and Foreign Affairs

Sunday, November 27, 2005

President Bush to tackle immigration reform.

As recently as January 2004, Bush used his first policy announcement of that re-election year to unveil a guest-worker program that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal status for at least six years if they have a job and their employer vouches for them. The plan incensed conservatives. Talk-radio hosts and bloggers fanned resentment over "Press 1 for English" phone menus and borders porous to drugs and terrorists. In June, two months after a citizens' group called the Minuteman Project began vigilante patrols of the Mexican border, Bush told lawmakers he had not understood how important border security was to his base. That's why Bush is calling this week for a series of border-security measures that will make his guest-worker plan look like an afterthought in his immigration policy. Bush will call for the hiring of more border guards and the use of more technology like unmanned aircraft and ground sensors to better police the borders. He will also push for increased holding facilities for illegal immigrants who are picked up. Roughly 100,000 a year benefit from a de facto "catch and release" policy, since there aren't enough beds for them.

The President is expected to equate border security with national security, connecting the issue to that part of his image that until recently had been robust. He will also be setting up a potentially favorable issue for Republicans in '06. "This is the kind of issue that the Silent Majority talks about in private but doesn't mention to pollsters," says Frank Luntz, the political strategist who is advising g.o.p. lawmakers on immigration. "It has the same kind of feel that affirmative action had in the late '60s and early '70s. There is a deep-seated anger toward the government for not stopping this."

Tough new immigration reform is one of the issues that could revive Bush's presidency. However, the Time article points out several pitfalls that could backfire if he fails. Expect a big push in 2006 on this issue.

I pointed out 10 days ago that President Bush should make immigration reform his number one issue.


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