Both in signing the giant Homeland Security spending bill and his Saturday radio broadcast, Bush, for the first time, gave us some tough talk about getting "control of our borders." But tucked at the end of his border-security rhetoric was a renewed demand that we offer U.S. jobs to "willing workers from foreign countries." The most accurate way to describe his salestalk is bait-and-switch.
Bush didn't put any numbers limit on the "willing workers" he wants to invite to join the U.S. job market. Pew Research recently reported that 40 million Mexicans would like to come to the United States if they had the opportunity.
Conservative Republicans in Congress have wised up to the administration's bait-and-switch plan. More than 80 House members recently sent a letter to the president stating, "The American people need to see that the current laws against illegal immigration are being enforced before any guest-worker program can be considered."
The letter criticized the government's failure to enforce existing immigration laws. As just one example, the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act mandated a national exit-entry tracking system for all illegal immigrants but, nine years later, the system is still not near completion.
Illegal immigrants are responsible for a terrible crime wave that includes the spread into our cities and suburbs of criminal gangs from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The gang called MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha), with an estimated 10,000 members, deals in narcotics, gun trafficking, prostitution, and murder by machete cuttings after torture and mutilation.
U.S. taxpayers are paying a heavy burden of costs to provide illegal immigrants with health care, public schools, in-state college tuition, housing subsidies, and treatment for Third World diseases. The failure to enforce our immigration laws results in a general disrespect for all laws, plus the destruction of the private property of U.S. citizens along our southern border.
The president can no longer get by with saying "trust me." His record of failure to enforce immigration laws is too scandalous and too costly for us to be satisfied with mere plans to do better sometime in the future.
Congressional candidates preparing for the 2006 elections should beware: Amnesty, guest-worker, and willing worker are all red-flag words that voters find offensive.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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