Bush's Immigration Policy Possible Deja Vu of Iraq

If nothing else, the President's speech was good political theater. I am more than a little concerned that this was a quickly orchestrated plan thrown together solely to provide political cover. It had better not be a repetition of the Administration's post-conflict Iraq plan. Both situations are much too dangerous and serious to be planned with such little foresight.



President Bush spoke of his support for and expansion of the Border Patrol. He seems to have forgotten that his fiscal year 2006 budget proposal provided for the hiring of only 210 Border Patrol agents, even though Congress had just recently passed an intelligence reform bill authorizing 2,000 new Border Patrol agents a year. Luckily Congress and the 9-11 Commission recognized the need for more agents a bit more than the President, and the final 2006 budget provided 1,500 agents.

Ever since coming to Congress in 1997, I have opposed placing troops on the border, and I continue to do so. The President's proposal to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the border is neither bold nor innovative, and will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. It is irresponsible, ill-advised, ill-timed, and will alienate our very tenuous relations with Latin America.

If President Bush wanted to make a bold statement in his speech, he would have directed the Department of Homeland Security Secretary to assign 1,000 law enforcement officers to enforce employer sanctions. This announcement would do more to remove the "pull factor" that draws many to our country than sending 6,000 troops to border. I have worked with National Guard troops in a support role on the border, and fail to see how 6,000 troops will operate solely in a support function.