Monday, May 15, 2006

Analysis: What impact do you think the May 1, 2006 immigration rallies and May 15, 2006 presidential speech will have on U.S. immigration policy?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Trying to navigate the political minefield of immigration reform in a televised address to the nation Monday night, President Bush called for a "comprehensive" approach to solve "a matter of national importance."
Bush called for the short-term deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops in a supporting role along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The issue of immigration stirs intense emotions -- and in recent weeks, Americans have seen those emotions on display," Bush said in his speech.
"In Washington, the debate over immigration reform has reached a time of decision."
Bush outlined an approach combining tougher border enforcement with a guest-worker program for those "who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life," according advance excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

"We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce those laws," Bush will say. "We are also a nation of immigrants, and we must hold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways." (More excerpts)

Bush's Oval Office speech was being carried live at 8 p.m. ET on CNN and Pipeline. (Watch the political implications of the debate -- 1:43)

In a nod to conservatives in his base calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration, the president will concede that "we do not yet have full control of the border" and call on Congress to fund "dramatic improvements" in manpower and technology along the U.S.-Mexico border.
He will also reiterate his opposition to giving illegal immigrants already in the country an "automatic path" to citizenship, according to the excerpts.

But in a nod to America's growing and politically vital Latino population, Bush will also make the argument that a guest-worker program is necessary to gain control of the border and relieve the "enormous pressures on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop."
He will also outline what his top political adviser, Karl Rove, called a "comprehensive vision" for what to do about more than 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
"This is a problem of security. It is a problem of our economy. It is a problem of compassion," Rove said in a speech Monday to the American Enterprise Institute. "It is a problem that we have to attack on several different fronts simultaneously if we hope to resolve it."

Bush has long championed a guest-worker program that would allow people to enter the United States to fill jobs for which employers can't find enough American workers.
Monday night, he is expected to offer his most in-depth comments to date on the politically thorny issue of what to do with illegal immigrants already in the country.
The Senate resumed debate Monday on immigration legislation that would create a mechanism by which illegal immigrants could proceed toward legal status, and eventual citizenship, by working for a number of years, paying fines, undergoing a background check and learning English.

Critics dismiss such a legalization process as "amnesty." Supporters reject that term, insisting the process amounts to "earned citizenship."
In his speech, Bush will come out against "amnesty," which he will define as giving illegal immigrants "an automatic path to citizenship," according to the excerpts.
It remains unclear if under that definition the Senate's approach would be acceptable to the president.

Any form of legalization could be a tough sell to members of Bush's own party, particularly in the House, where lawmakers passed an immigration bill in December that contained neither a worker program nor a legalization process.
Critics of a legalization process say it would only encourage more people to cross the border illegally -- and that not enough has been done to increase security in order to stop them.


Megan B said...

I think that the rallies and the speech will have little to no impact on the U.S. immigration policy, at least not in the near future. Although the policies may not change as quickly as many would like, I do feel that the rallies and speech will raise awareness of this issue. I think our country will eventually adopt a guest worker program or something similar for some of the immigrants looking for better paying jobs. I think the policy reforms will not come about because of the rallies. I think reforms will come when Congress can tell the reforms are backed by a majority of their constituents that are both Democrats and Republican. I don’t think pressure from President Bush will open the eyes of Congress to the problem. I also think that the U.S. will give some sort of “amnesty” to illegal immigrants who are already in the country. We already basically, let citizens get away with breaking laws by only giving very mild punishments. Additionally, I think that the issue of “amnesty” will arise when people bring up the fact that we already have a huge budget deficit and deporting thousands of people back to their home country would be very expensive.

TeresaH said...

I believe that these events in themselves may not be quite enough to cause change on their own, but they will motivate a larger public and political awareness in the issue. Bush made a smart move in voicing a concise opinion on the issue, because he has probably the single most influential opinion in the country, if not the world. Citizens who haven't formed their own views on the issue could very easily be swayed by Bush's powerful stance. I believe the issues of immigration and border control will be calmed in the near future, partially as a result of the awareness raised by the President's recent speech and other public activity.

BrandonK said...

I believe that the immigration rallies will have a great impact on the immigration policy. Nation-wide rallies such as this should alert the people that something in this country is wrong. These immigrants wish to make the country stronger, not to make it suffer, and yet we treat them horribly. These people are not criminals. These rallies should make Congress realize that this current policy needs to reformed to allow equality. These people no longer deserve to be treated like they are invisible. We can make the lives of millions of people better by simply legalizing them.
I am not quite sure if the President's speech will make Congress re-visit this issue, but I am sure that they will review the policy either way. In the future, I believe we will be seeing tighter border control, but open and peaceful towards legal immigration. Also, I believe that illegal immigrants that live decent lives and are not criminals, should be given the oppurtunity to become legal citizens. Punishment should be given to the business owners who knowingly hired illegal immigrants.