The reason I am forced to give the President a C+ on his plan. Not enough troops, too few physical barriers, needs more border patrol agents, still gives amnesty, did not call for English as the official language, allows millions more family members of illegal immigrants in America and what about the Canadian border? Now let's take a moment to break each issue down.
The Troop Issue: I am a veteran and very quickly realized that the jobs the President says he will have the National Guard doing are primarily administrative and engineering duties and have nothing to do with border enforcement. While true, this will free up some border patrol officers from administrative positions, it is still not enough man power. We need to provide a force of about 15,000 to 20,000 troops to help secure the northern and southern borders.
Too Few Physical Barriers: The President was extremely vague on this point. It appears that the plan he would like to see enacted relies heavily on technology and very little on physical barriers. While these assets will help, due to the size and vastness of our northern and southern borders significant physical barriers and obstacles are required to assist the border patrol and act as a visible deterrent. I have noticed that both the White House and Capitol building are protected with both physical and high-tech barriers.
Needs More Patrol Agents: President Bush plans to increase the border patrol from about 9,000 agents to 12,000 agents. That is a good start, but it still falls short and does not address the additional pressure that securing the southern border would place on the northern border. I feel that to adequately address the northern and southern borders we would need between 35,000 to 40,000 agents. The reason for these numbers is humans, unlike technology, have instincts. This is a resource that is, all to often, under estimated. When you take the sheer size of the northern and southern borders, together, you quickly understand how this many border patrol agents would be needed.
Still Gives amnesty: I don't care how many different names the President gives it, it is still amnesty. These people violated our laws and they should be sent back. It is not the back of the line when you get to wait in the US while enjoying all of the privileges the US has to offer as opposed to those who are waiting back in their own countries. And, "the jobs that Americans are not doing" is a line of crock. The reason no Americans are doing those jobs is because of the artificially decreased wages that are a result of greedy companies who are getting away with hiring illegal immigrants and taking advantage of them (a form of modern day slavery). I would and have been willing to work any job I could get in the past, to first help my mom and dad out and then for my own family. I am not ashamed to admit that I have, in the past, flipped hamburgers for 80 to 90 hours a week to support my family. I have also worked on a fruit farm, along side of Mexican workers. Yes, the work was back breaking and the pay was extremely crappy, but they were jobs that were there when I needed them. When my wife was younger she had worked entire summers in the corn fields for minimum wage and minimum wage then was considerably less that now. I also genuinely believe that these are jobs that uneducated high school drop outs or people down on their luck should have and should receive a decent wage. We do not need to import uneducated workers when American already has more than enough.
English as an Official Language: The President fell short of calling for English as an official language. I believe that this is something that needs to be done. There are far too many illegal and even some legal immigrants who refuse to assimilate into the American society. Part of this is our fault for doing dual language education in schools, including firing teachers who are not bi-lingual. It is an honor and a privilege to become an American and live in this great country and one should proudly learn our history and language.
The Families of Illegal Immigrants: The President is supporting the Amnesty that is being debated in the Senate. This would not only give an estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants (it is believed that this number is grossly under reported) defacto Amnesty, but all of their family members would also have the right to become US citizens. This would put the number of illegals, family members and workers, according to a Heritage Study, between 103 and 200 million new immigrants over 20 years.
The Northern Border: While it is understandable that everyone is focusing on the southern border, let's not forget that a terrorist was actually caught coming through the northern border. We must dramatically increase the number of border agents and physical barriers along the northern border. Some areas that I have personally witnessed, that is extremely weak, is the great lakes and Detroit.
Summary: I would like to take this opportunity to say that the President is a good man with good intentions. But, this issue is too important for half measures. I do believe that the President's proposal has enough meat in it to help his poll numbers and the border situation. Some of his initiatives I would like to personally applaud such as ending the "catch and release" at the southern border once and for all. "We are taking several important steps to meet this goal. We have expanded the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add more. We have expedited the legal process to cut the average deportation time." These are just some of the great initiatives the President did offer. I just cannot go along with amnesty, by any name and feel it is vitally important that we have physical borders backed up by significantly more border patrol agents. And this, in a nut shell, is why I was forced to give the President only a C+, when in my hearted I was hoping for an A+.
Photo above: White House photo. Information obtained through the Heritage Foundation http://www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/wm1076.cfm , Fox News and the White House.