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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Immigration - The President Bush Speech

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I've asked for a few minutes of your time to discuss a matter of national importance -- the reform of America's immigration system.


Peo: So would you date his daughters?
Reo: Both?
Peo: One.
Reo: Yes.
Peo: Really, even if you disagree so strongly with their father.
Reo: They’re famous.
Peo: You would date them just because their famous?
Reo: Yes, Chelsea too. In fact, I would date anyone famous.
Peo: Anyone.
Reo: Yep.
Peo: What if you didn’t find them attractive?
Reo: Famous.
Peo: What if she was really dumb and annoying.
Reo: Famous.
Peo: Dirty?
Reo: Famous.
Peo: What if she was evil?
Reo: How evil?
Peo: Pure evil.
Reo: Not pure.
Peo: Yes, pure evil: pro child abuse, tortures puppies, dues paying member of every hate group, watches Funniest Home Videos to see people get hurt…
Reo: Nope.
Peo: But really famous.
Reo: No. That would be famous for the wrong reasons.
Peo: So the right reason is famous daughter, movie star, singer, what else?
Reo: Rich and hot.

The issue of immigration stirs intense emotions, and in recent weeks, Americans have seen those emotions on display. On the streets of major cities, crowds have rallied in support of those in our country illegally.

Reo: What about the anti-war rallies?
Peo: No speech about those.

Tonight, I will make it clear where I stand…

Reo: Sitting
Peo: Shhhhhh…

We must begin by recognizing the problems with our immigration system. For decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders.

Peo: Centuries.

As a result, many who want to work in our economy have been able to sneak across our border, and millions have stayed.

Reo: Those sneaky bastards! Sneak sneak sneakin’!

Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to verify that the workers they hire are legal.

Reo: Poor employers! All that cheap labor and they can’t even verify.

Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, it strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities…

Peo: OK, first off, public schools are strained from lack of resources and the number of illegal immigrants is a small percentage of students with a negligible impact on most districts. FURTHERMORE, most of these children are AMERICANS!
Reo: Yes, they were born here not pushed across the border in buggies.
Peo: Secondly, hospitals are strained and expensive because we don’t have a national health care plan which would spread the cost among a larger pool of people, namely all of them, which would reduce costs.
Reo: Health, fairly important I’d say.
Peo: Thirdly, all these immigrants pay taxes. Sales tax, property tax through rent and some pay income tax which they get back if they file a return -- because their income is so low. And since many don't pay taxes, the net effect for governemnt is that they “pay in” more than “take out”. Hardly a strain.
Reo: Andromeda Strain was a cool movie.
Peo: And lastly.
Reo: More tirades?
Peo: Lastly, crime is a part of all communities. There is no statistic saying it is any worse with immigrants.

Yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life, but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law.

Peo: Scare them -- reassure them. Scare them, and then reassure them.

We're a nation of laws…

Reo: And junk food.

We're also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways.

Peo: Except for the health of the Native Americans.
Reo: Yeah, it weakened their health in so many ways.

These are not contradictory goals.

Peo and Reo: Gooooooooooaaaaaaaaallllllllllllssssss!

We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration…

Peo: Problems?
Reo: Are they going to un-fix all the things fixed by their cheap labor.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

Peo: Basically, he is grouping immigrants in with terrorists.
Reo: Be subtle W, be subtle!

I was a governor of a state that has a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. So I know how difficult it is to enforce the border…

Reo: Dude, you’re President. You don’t need to tout your experience as governor anymore. You’ve been President for 5 years.

Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I'm calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.

Peo and Reo: Man POWER!

At the same time, we're launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We'll employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world…

Peo: That’s why we are finally employing technology available since the 1970s!

Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time.

Reo: Just look at Iraq.

Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I'm announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:

One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So, in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities -- that duty will be done by the Border Patrol. This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online. It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, to respond to natural disasters, and to help secure our border.

The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to improve security on both sides of the border, to confront common problems like drug trafficking and crime, and to reduce illegal immigration…

Reo: But will the Guard be under civilian or military command?
Peo: This is sounding pretty good.
Reo: The military marching on our border, are you kidding?
Peo: He said he isn’t gong to militarize the border.
Reo: And what makes you think you can believe him?
Peo: That’s true.

The steps I've outlined will improve our ability to catch people entering our country illegally. At the same time, we must ensure that every illegal immigrant we catch crossing our southern border is returned home. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch crossing the southern border are Mexicans, and most are sent back home within 24 hours. But when we catch illegal immigrants from other country it is not as easy to send them home. For many years, the government did not have enough space in our detention facilities to hold them while the legal process unfolded.

Reo: Because they are filled with offenders of minor drug laws.

So most were released back into our society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrived, the vast majority did not show up. This practice, called "catch and release," is unacceptable, and we will end it.

Peo: We will now eat our catch.
Reo: And we cut to Alton Brown as he shows us how to cook people on a gas grill.

We're taking several important steps to meet this goal. We've expanded the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add more.

Peo: People per bed.
Reo: Ahhh yeah!

We've expedited the legal process to cut the average deportation time. And we're making it clear to foreign governments that they must accept back their citizens who violate our immigration laws. As a result of these actions, we've ended "catch and release" for illegal immigrants from some countries. And I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal authority, so we can end "catch and release" at the southern border once and for all.

Peo: If he says “catch and release” one more time…

Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country.

Peo: Which makes them…
Reo: Friggin’ awesome in my book. It’s what this country is all about.

This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop.

Reo: Berlin.
Peo: Palestine.

To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.

Peo: There’s that “sneak” word again.
Reo: Americans hate sneaky people. They’d rather have someone come into their yard and say “I’m taking your lawn mower” than sneak over and take it.
Peo: That is the weirdest analogy you’ve ever made.

Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country at the conclusion of their stay.

Peo: Why return? If they do work no one here would do…
Reo: And do it well…
Peo: And we need them…
Reo: And they work hard…
Peo: Then when is it that we suddenly stop needing them and they have to return home?

A temporary worker program would meet the needs of our economy, and it would give honest immigrants a way to provide for their families while respecting the law…

Reo: The honest ones, not the sneaks!

…Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud.

Peo: The President would like to emphasize, that it is not the employers fault.

Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof…

Peo: First the illegal immigrants get a fingerprint card, then all immigrants and visitors. Then children, ya know, for safety. Then old people, ya know, for health.
Reo: And the next thing you know, we have radio IDs implanted under our skin.
Peo: Only those people with something to hide need fear the implants. We only monitor those engaging in illegal activity. Such as dissention.
Reo: 1984.
Peo: I love the 80s.

Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully, and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.

Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant,

Reo: Starting with Dubya.

and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree. It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border…

…I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English, and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship, but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law. What I've just described is not amnesty, it is a way for those who have broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character that makes a good citizen.

Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples.

Reo: I thought the Swiss were famous for the fondue pot.
Peo: Are we up to fifth already?
Reo: Yeah, this is the good part!

The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they realize their dreams, they renew our spirit, and they add to the unity of America.

Peo: Who cares about English?
Reo: A guy who never traveled overseas in his life, or to Canada for that matter, till he became U.S. President.
Peo: Americans need to travel more overseas.
Reo: And not just as soldiers.

Tonight, I want to speak directly to members of the House and the Senate…

Peo: On national television.
Reo: Because my phone doesn’t work and it’s too far to walk to the Senate office building.

Feelings run deep on this issue, and as we work it out, all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone's fears, or exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain.

Reo: Which, us here in the White House would NEVER think of doing every friggin’ day since September 11, 2001.
Peo: Isn’t it weird that it’s called the “white” house.
Reo: That’s a welcoming message to immigrants.

We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.

Peo: No one doubts that.

I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came here from another country with dreams of a better life.

Reo: Everyone listening off the reservation.

You know what freedom meant to them, and you know that America is a more hopeful country because of their hard work and sacrifice. As President, I've had the opportunity to meet people of many backgrounds, and hear what America means to them. On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded Marine named Guadalupe Denogean.

Reo: Or as I, the master of nicknames, call him, Loopy de Loo.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean came to the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States Marine Corps as soon as he was able. During the liberation of Iraq, Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean was seriously injured. And when asked if he had any requests, he made two: a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him, and the chance to become an American citizen.

Peo: Clean our buildings, pick our crops, wash our cars, watch our kids and oh yeah, DEFEND OUR COUNTRY for us.

We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they've always been -- people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. And America remains what she has always been: the great hope on the horizon, an open door to the future, a blessed and promised land. We honor the heritage of all who come here, no matter where they come from, because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans -- one nation under God.

Thank you, and good night.

Peo: Three more years.

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