As is my tradition, I’ll be liveblogging President Bush’s speech on immigration in about 90 minutes. The Truth Laid Bear has a list of
obsessive nerds Bush-speech livebloggers as well.
For this liveblogging exercise, I’ll be drinking some Pacifico beer and eating authentic Mexican nachos (which are flash-fried tortilla wedges coated in refried beans, a bit of cheese, and a jalapeño slice.) Somehow it just felt appropriate for the occasion. (UPDATE: Sadly, no Pacifico to be found. So instead I grabbed myself a selection of various cervasas from our neighbor to the south. Remember, these do jobs that American beers just won’t do.)
Based on the chatter in The Corner, there’s a lot of nervousness about this speech. If Bush doesn’t show some leadership on this issue, his approval ratings could plummet even more. This is one of the more important speeches Bush will give, which is why he’d better knock one out of the park. I’m skeptical as to whether that will happen or not.
The Corner also has a preview of tonight’s speech.
6:57PM CST:The President will speak from the Oval Office in just about three minutes.
7:01PM: Bush begins his speech by asking Congress to support him on the issue of immigration. The gang at Fox News argues that this is a speech targeted towards Congress, which is probably true.
Bush notes we’ve lost control of our borders. Really? Hadn’t noticed.
7:04PM: Bush begins by arguing for securing our borders. It’s about time. Bush states his record on the issue of securing the border – only 12,000 agents for one of the longest uncontrolled borders in the world?
Bush is planning to double the size of the US Border Patrol. He also argues for fences and patrol roads to secure the borders. This is going to be a tough job – there are simply too many migrants coming across the border. Going after the organized groups that facilitate this human trade would be a smarter move to me.
7:06PM: 6,000 National Guard troops will assist the Border Patrol in securing the border. They’ll mainly install the new surveillance equipment to assist the Border Patrol for one year. This seems like a relatively reasonable plan. Bush also states that he won’t militarize the border.
7:08PM: Bush also goes against the “catch and release” policies that let migrants free until a court date – and unsurprisingly they don’t show up. Bush promises to end this policy by expanding the detention facilities that house these illegals.
7:10PM: Now Bush is pushing for a guest worker program. I’m skeptical of this argument. Yes, it will help regulate the flow of workers, but it won’t solve the essential problem. My guess is that at the end of the working period, a lot of these workers will simply disappear into the country.
Bush argues to stop document fraud that use biometric technologies to make cards “tamper proof”. There’s no such thing, and the more money that can be made from forging IDs, the more incentive there is to break that system.
7:12PM: Bush comes out against total amnesty as well as mass deportation. Bush talks of a “rational middle ground”, which is what people are looking for in general. Bush basically argues for a non-amnesty amnesty – which I think will probably pass muster politically. We can’t just kick these people out, but we can’t reward illegal behavior. I’m not sure how good a compromise Bush’s plan really is, but there is nothing in this case that will serve as a perfect compromise.
7:15PM: Bush speaks directly to Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Bush needs to shore up his approval on this issue, especially conservatives. Bush is trying to put himself above the fray on this issue – which is the Presidential thing to do. All in all, that’s probably a decent enough message. Bush is trying to walk a difficult line here between enforcing the law and eroding our culture.
Bush talks of an injured Marine who came in from Mexico. Bush’s humanity always comes through when he recounts stories like that, and Bush needs that right now.
All in all, a short and sweet speech that tries to put Bush firmly above the fray and on the middle ground. I have a feeling that it will give the President a bit of a bounce, just for speaking out on the issue.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review: “Delivery feels a bit more Mr. Rogers than commander-in-chief. I mean we have an emergencyâ€”our borders are out of control and during a time of war. You don’t get that sense.
Get me Jack Bauer.”
Glenn Reynolds, InstaPundit.com: “Bush is right to stress assimilation. That should have been the cornerstone of the speech.”
Bill O’Reilly: “It’s a start.”
Michelle Malkin: “Too little, too late.”