President Bush, it is reasonable to assume, would like to be remembered as a hard-nosed wartime leader who made tough and unpopular, yet necessary, decisions to secure the United States against terrorism.
He will not deserve it -- and history is likely to record something quite different -- if he fails to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws.
If massive numbers of illegal aliens are still streaming across our southern frontier on Jan. 20, 2009, and if major U.S. corporations are still hiring massive numbers of illegal aliens with impunity, all that Bush has done on the national security front will be overshadowed by a single fact: After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he did not secure the territory of the United States.
History would record that Bush launched two foreign wars, authorized warrantless wiretaps, ran an offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, countenanced water-boarding of known terrorists, and persisted in losing about 100 U.S. troops a month in Iraq in an effort to establish a democracy in the midst of a civil war between Sunni and Shiite Islamists all because he understood that defending America against Islamic terrorists was the defining security issue of his day.
Yet, despite all this, history would say, Bush allowed thousands of unknown and unidentified people to stream across America's border every day.
And, despite all this, he not only allowed big businesses to systematically hire illegal aliens using other people's Social Security numbers, he also allowed them to year after year file millions of false W-2s with the IRS on behalf of these illegal aliens, thereby feeding and perpetuating a massive black market for document fraud known to have been exploited by the 9/11 terrorists.
When history indicted President Bush for negligence in national security, his own rhetoric -- and the rhetoric of his top lieutenant's -- would be leading exhibits in the case against him.
On April 20, shortly after he began his latest push for legislation to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, Bush gave a lengthy speech in Grand Rapids, Mich., explaining why the United States must persevere in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, he argued that the war over there is about our security here.
"Our enemies make no distinction based on borders," he said. "They view the world as a giant battlefield and will strike wherever they can."
He made clear he was talking about al Qaeda.