Doesn’t that sound technical? Almost as if I were discussing a process for manufacturing a product, instead of the fate of millions of people, huh. And that’s the core problem in this crisis. Both sides, those angry mobs on either end demanding they get everything they want or else the nation will be ripped apart by their tantrum, need to stop, cool down, grow up, and consider the other end.
This is not to say, of course, that everything one’s opponent says or wants is reasonable, or that the just agreement must lie somewhere in the middle between the extremes. For instance, the recent protests by illegals and their advocates were in large part sponsored by Socialist and Communist organizations which have a clear interest in destabilizing the U.S. Government; we owe no consideration, at all, to such people.
However, I agree with the President’s contention that in the main, these illegals simply want what we all want – the chance for a better life and to provide hope for their families. That does not make it right to break the law of course, but it does mean we have to be aware of the distinction between someone choosing the wrong way to pursue a reasonable dream, and someone pursuing an unacceptable goal. The sine qua non of this situation is that the borders must be made much more secure, against those who would potentially smuggle in WMD or terrorists, gangs and drugs. The obvious priority from enforcement’s stand, is to improve the triage of attention, to reduce illicit border crossings by giving better options to people who want to add to the welfare of our nation, instead of harming it.
A lot of complaint has been aimed at President Bush, for things done and said, and for things undone and not said. Almost all of these charges are unwarranted, as the responsibility for these issues lies principally with Congress as the Legislative body of American government, and with certain foreign governments, most notably Mexico, in failing to honor agreements in principle on which these initiatives depend. The Senate has failed completely to address its responsibilities in this matter, and the House, while recently passing a forceful bill which takes at least some steps, is guilty of dragging its feet for a long time. The steps proposed by President Bush go back to his 2000 Presidential Campaign, and are consistent in theme and direction. Secure borders, serious enforcement, and a practical plan to address those who are already here. Those Conservatives who want to trash the President now, might do well to explain why they have been silent for so long, when the President has been honest and detailed about his intentions and programs.
Anyway, to the task. President Bush correctly pegged two essential qualities of our border entry system; difficult-to-forge documents and a tiered system of entry, more simple but also more effective. Basically, if you have normal border conditions, you should be able to process the following types of people coming in;
2. Legal Residents
3. Work-Authorized Visitors
4. Education-Authorized Visitors
5. Temporary Visitors
What all these people have in common is a trail of documents which can prove they are valid. And by documents I don’t just mean a Passport or Driver’s License, but a document which can be matched online to a databank with corroborating details, such as a photo or fingerprint. Unlike previous Presidents, Bush has pressed for more interactive cooperation between forces addressing border crossings, and to create programs which offer desirable opportunities for aliens but only in exchange for compliance and verifiable identification. Also, as President Bush has emphasized, the condition requiring a willing employer means that the location and activity of an alien entering the United States can be known before they ever set foot inside our border.
No plan demanding perfection is viable, and the United States will remain a place of mythic opportunity in the eyes of many millions of people. The best plan of action, therefore, is to reduce illicit entry traffic through the plan which best offers opportunity and specific identification.
Next - Part 4, It Costs HOW Much?