Another Bush plan headed for failure

President Bush has re-launched his drive to win passage of comprehensive immigration-law reform, very likely his last chance at a major legislative initiative.

The White House has advanced a detailed plan, but one the White House stops short of labeling the president’s, saying it is a draft and intended to put ideas on the table for discussion. It’s unlikely opponents will be fooled.

The Bush draft calls for stepped-up border security, tougher enforcement of laws against hiring undocumented workers and a guest-worker program. But the real sticking point is a path for the 12 million illegal immigrants here now to gain legal residence and eventually citizenship.

Bush would grant illegal workers here now three-year renewable visas at a cost of $3,500 each time. To become legal permanent residents, recipients of these “Z visas” would have to return to their homeland, pay a $10,000 fine and apply for re-entry through a U.S. consulate.

While these provisions are fairly onerous, it’s doubtful they will mollify immigration hard-liners who will construe it as a form of amnesty. The hard-liners say they will consider a path to legal residence once the borders are secure, but such security can never be 100 percent. While raids on workplaces have been stepped up, they’ve been seen as controversial and disruptive and have produced a catalog of hard-luck stories that only makes the government look heartless.

The Senate is more accommodating than the House on reform and it will go first with a bill now being negotiated between the Bush administration and Republicans, to be voted on at the end of May.

The problem is the House. Democratic support for Bush-style reform is less now than it was in the last session when Republicans tried to make it radioactive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly has said that to win passage of a comprehensive bill — one that is more than just bigger fences and tougher enforcement — Bush will have to deliver around 70 Republican votes.

Bush showed real political courage on immigration reform, but his standing with congressional Republicans has dwindled so far that courage might not be enough and, like other of his initiatives that have stalled — the Iraq war, Social Security reform, tax reform — immigration may have to wait for the next president.



  1. Jericho

    IMO, immigration reform should begin with a constitutional amendment that strips automatic citizenship by birth to children of non-citizen parents. This should be followed by a 50 foot fence and (even tho I am Jewish and a contributor to the Holocaust Museum) one-way cattle car trains to the Mexican border (regardless of country of origin). Give Mexico $5-$10,000 for each returnee (1 time) in aid to build up it’s own economy and then there will be no reason for their citizens to leave.

    Regardless of inconvenience, the round-ups of ILLEGALS (not UNDOCUMENTEDS) must continue.

    As the child of LEGAL immigrants, I know how wonderful the benefits of this country are and they are based on adherence to it’s laws.

  2. SEAL

    I remember when my father returned from the Pacific theater after WWII ended and said the US should close the Mexican border right now because they were all going to rush to get into the country, now. And, if we didn’t, the southwest would be overrun with Mexicans in 10 – 20 years.

    He didn’t make that statement out of prejudice. My family has no prejudice towards any race or color or religion or any other such thing. He made it because he understood what was going to happen and what the effect would be. He thoroughly explained it to me. He has been proved right.

    My father was the wisest man I have ever known. He even told me there would come a day when illegal imigants would expect and perhaps demand the same rights and protections accorded US citizens. Again he is being proved right. Lately I have heard statements from their supporters to the effect they should have rights and protections they are not entitled to.

    I don’t think the average American understands the importance of removing ALL illegals from this country and closing our borders. Not because of any terrorist threat. Because of the economic and political threat. Bring the troops home from Iraq and use them along the Southern and Northern Borders where they will do the most good. Have the Navy shut off the coast line. There are no political refugees, only economic ones.

  3. The question that needs to be answered, other than why is Bush not being impeached is why does he want open borders for all these illegal immigrants when he continues to push the bogus terrorism war?

    But then again ask all those who cannot find work or wages are not meeting inflation and one has at least one of the answers.

  4. Ray

    The US, mexico, and canada are slated to be one union by 2012. No borders, no illegals, no space, no decent living, no sh*t. This is corporate conspiracy at its finest. For several years now, there has been planning and agreements made between the leaders of these nations and all done without discussion with congress or the american people. Just as the super highway was snuck in, the union will slide in and people will be caught by surprise when reality strikes. Has anyone noticed that mexican trucks now travel american highways free of odot regulations. Feel safe knowing a gerry rigged eighteen wheeler is passing by driven by a guy working for cheap.
    Another sell out by our leaders.