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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, May 15, 2006

Live Blogging The Presidential Immigration Address

(Welcome Silicon Gadfly readers!)

I will be simulblogging the Presidential Address to the nation, at 20:00 EDT.

We have all heard various leaks of the contents of the speech, but I personally am looking forward to hearing these points, on the topic of illegal immigration:

(1) An acknowledgement of the immigrant nature of the United States, and how immigrants contribute to the fabric of this nation, not just now, but always

(2) Tougher rhetoric to the administrations who encourage, aid, or actively abet illegal immigration, especially along the Mexican-American border

(3) A plan to mass deploy troops to the border, to assist in capturing, or helping to repatriate, these illegal immigrants

(4) A plan to penalise those, whether small or big businesses, who are caught employing illegal immigrants

(5) No Guest Worker Programme

-- When writing this above, I thought that my opinions sounded very harsh. But as noted in my recent blogpost, "My Immigration Experience", I consider the topic of illegal immigration to touch me personally, very severely.

I do however, acknowledge that I have wiggle-room on the topic.

As a voter who will use illegal immigration as a measuring-stick of how a politician has voted on the matter, I will, however, say that if there is a conterfeit-proof identification card issued to the illegal immigrants who can conclusively prove they have been here, for more than 5 years (and who will be granted the right to stay here, say 3 more years, then their individual situations can be reviewed by INS), I will concede that point.

Also, I don't mind if the legalised immigration to the United States, is raised or even doubled, from many Central American or South American countries, including Mexico.

I am looking for this President to give me proposals, not just talk, about this most pressing of matters, next to the War on Terror.

We'll see soon enough, won't we.

8:00 EST: Here we go. I am watching this on C-SPAN, the better to rid my mind of the talking-head chatter on the cable channels and heaven forbid, the networks. They are announcing that Dick Durbin (D-IL) will take the rebuttal for the Democrats.

8:02 EST: It's started. The blue tie tonight. His hands are making his points, as if to soften his words. President Bush looks as presidential as I've ever seen him, at first glance.

8:03 EST: Mentioning the forged documents, and the strain illegal immigrants place on the system. Also, as suspected, he is mentioning the importance of immigrants to this country ("nation of immigrants", in that catchphrase of all politicians).

8:04 EST: The President sets forth 5 objectives:

(I) The US MUST secure its borders. Manpower and technology will increase by 6,000 border patrol officials by 2008. High-tech fences, barriers in rural areas, infrared cameras, and unmanned vehicles to enforce the border. This will take time. But this is "urgent".

1- 6,000 National Guard Members will "assist" in patrolling the border. They will NOT be involved in policing, but in manpower numbers. The United States will NOT militarise the border, however, and he lays down a sop to the Mexicans, by saying that they are our friends.

2- State and local authorities will have training in how to apprehend and control illegal immigration.

3- Illegal immigrants, the majority of whom are Mexicans, will be repatriated immediately. "Catch-and-release" will be stopped, once and for all! Well done.

(II) Temporary Worker programme...oh dear. This is amnesty, and this won't fly with most Americans, let alone Republicans.

The President is making sure that he says that these Guest Workers must return home, at the conclusion of their legalised stay. No really...

(III) Businesses will be penalised if they have been found to have hired illegal immigrants.

-- This will include, as suspected, the tamper-proof ID cards, which will including biometric technology.

(IV) Those who are here, should not be given amnesty, and he says, he opposes it...President Bush believes that in this debate, there is a "rational middle ground", a good phrase, even if my stomach is in knots at the moment.

-- Oh dear, he says that those who are here, and have paid their debt to society, should be allowed to pay a penalty, and get to the back of the "line", in order to become US citizens later on down the road.

(V) The English language is getting its due. Is he going to mention that he is going to make the English language the official language of the US??

-- No. He is addressing his words now to Congress.

"Every human being has dignity and value"

Now, he is addressing himself to all of us, who are immigrants or who have immigrant ancestors -- he mentions Guadalupe de Lojan (?), a female Marine who swore her Oath as a new American, with the President beside her.

8:18 PM EST: "One nation under God. Thank you and Good Night".

A very disatisfying speech, with little original input.

I need a moment to get a handle on my thoughts before presenting my opinion on it, later.

Your thoughts are more than welcome.


CNN: Lou Dobbs, whose views on this topic are so vitriolic, as to prompt a Los Angeles radio station to offer a $500 prize to the first illegal alien couple who produce a child named "Lou Dobbs", to honour this (in their words) "bigot", looks dissatisfied too.

Tony Blankley seems to think it's not such a bad speech, saying that at least he's now "in the game". He does also believe, however, that 6,000 troops is not nearly enough.

FNC: Carl Cameron mentions that a Republican Senator is not happy, saying that "amnesty is amnesty". Quite.

Brit Hume asks Cameron if this is THE legislative make-or-break bill for this President.


(Whoa, Congressman Tancredo is on Bill O'Reilly. That's a coup and a half)

MSNBC: Keith Olbermann mentions something about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Gosh, I'm sorry I missed the lead up to this.

Suddenly, I get a wild vision of a Minuteman scratching his head:

"Who's been sleeping in my illegal-alien catching bunk bed?"

Chris Matthews mentions something about this topic being very boring to most Americans, but that Hispanics are obviously very interested in this Address. Oh really now.

Is this why my local UNIVISION and TELEMUNDO Spanish-language channels, didn't even cover the speech's aftermath?

In fact, since I didn't change the channel at that time, I don't even know if they covered the speech in translation, as they normally would with a major address to the US nation.

I can't believe they would be that cavalier about the topic.

I know that TV Azteca (US) did have a lead-up commentary by their presenters, but I tuned unto them immediately after the speech, and they too already had their telenovela on.

It tells you something about the speech, I think, if they are not chewing over this speech too much.

It wasn't very important, at the end of the day. Which worries me.

More later.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Right. I have ruminated on the topic. It's 8:40 EDT.

First, I think that this soapy, conciliatory speech was actually tailored by the President's advisers precisely to be this kind of address.

Instead of using belligerent language against illegal immigrants (the kind he frequently employs about the War on Terror), he deliberately had his speech have a kind of back-off character.

Nothing that he said, is really something that either Party can get their teeth into.

In effect, it has diffused the matter rather than heightened it, which is a win for the conservative (oh hated term) "base", since it provides a breather from the partisan backlash which might've followed.

(Equally, I do believe that Republicans will not be happy with what the President proposed tonight, although many believe, like Bill O'Reilly said, and which above I had mentioned myself prior to the speech, that there would be wiggle-room about the Identity Cards to illegals currently here. At least, AT LEAST, this would give us some idea of just how many people we are dealing with, and how to procede afterwards)

And though I am left rather disatisfied, I do think that the calculated leaks this weekend by the White House, as to the content of the speech, and today's Karl Rove warm-up, were rather crafty.

When voting begins tomorrow in Congress, it'll be the legislators who have been handed the hot potato, and not the President who remains with it, on his lap.

So, on that score alone, I am not displeased with what happened tonight.

Please check the commentaries, for further thoughts and replies on the matter.


  • I'm not sure if anyone tuned into CNN during the LKL show, after the speech, but they had on Maria-Elena Salinas, who one online site describes as the "Hispanic Barbara Walters" (groan).

    -- Hey, am I the British Jerry Seinfeld? Don't answer that. --

    Now, few people know this, even here in SoFla, but she is married to Channel 4, local CBS anchor, Eliot Rodriguez, a distinguished Cuban exile. They have a large, happy family.

    But what I didn't know, which the crawl under her name said that her father had been an illegal immigrant to this country.

    Now I don't know what her politics are, and indeed, what dynamics her relationship to her exiled husband, Eliot, are either, but it is known she is a feminist (cha-cha feminist, I think I've heard her call herself...wtf).

    But she did absolutely mention MANY times during her interview, that this speech was aimed towards making the President's 'base' happier, and that's it.

    The way she vituperatively threw out the word "Republicans" (using the same tone of voice I use when talking of my dog's poop), I don't think she quite understands that the topic of illegal immigration is hardly a "Republican" talking point.

    Not that I'm a big believer in polls, but over 79% of Americans, according to one CNN poll, were against further illegal immigration.

    And for what it's worth, the poll CNN conducted after this address tonight, revealed that a hefty percentage of Americans, thought the situation was better, after having seen the President on TV.

    +-5% margin of error though...as we all of us who took Statistics know, anything over 2%, is bogus.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue May 16, 02:46:00 am GMT-4  

  • The speech was crap, to me and I won't detail why since I would be blogging in your blog.

    What I think people forget and I was regular Army, not Guard, is that the National Guard is made up of people for whom the Guard is not first employment.
    They are men and women holding full-time jobs and that is, their main concern. It is bad enough to pull them for a year at a time for duty in Iraq but to thrown them to the border, away from their work and families is ridiculous.
    They are used for so many other disasters, what's one more, I guess.

    6,000 of them is a joke anyway. All the illegals know they can't do anything. The President's speech was just political and never meant to truly, massively, attack our border problem.

    It's time to quit using the Guard for everything, if we are serious, lets use full-time service people, reinstitute the draft and increase the size of our armed forces.

    By Blogger Paul, at Tue May 16, 09:52:00 am GMT-4  

  • I've commented in a few places this morning - the sum of it is that I am not satisfied, but I will wait and see how it shakes out. The screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth is just way out of line. We all need to calm down.

    It ain't like this is a new thing. As the one fellow noted, the last Prez to tackle this was James K. Polk.

    I also blogged on this myself!

    By Anonymous benning76, at Tue May 16, 01:53:00 pm GMT-4  

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