Bush's Amnesty Arrogance Riling Republicans

Well, I guess you can't expect a guy to know what's going on inside this country just because he's the President of the United States.

This week President Bush took a trip to Chile, where he more or less officially raised from the dead his defunct amnesty plan of last January.

I guess he missed what's been going on about immigration politics in both the country and the Congress ever since the election.

What's been going on is that major players in Congress have made it known that they don't like the idea of amnesty that underlies the Bush immigration reform plan.

The most recent sign of displeasure was the refusal of House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner to support the intelligence reform bill the administration has been peddling because the White House won't support its immigration control measures.

The main reason the bill is in trouble has to do with national security issues, but the opposition of Mr. Sensenbrenner and other lawmakers to what is a major administration and House leadership piece of legislation for reasons of immigration control ought to tell us how important the immigration issue now is.

Unfortunately, it has told the president nothing.

Even before the House conservative revolt over the intelligence bill, the White House should have gotten the message on immigration, from what its own party has been trying to explain to it ever since the election, if not from the election itself.

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who speaks for dozens of House GOP lawmakers on immigration, said bluntly when Secretary of State Colin Powell first revived the amnesty plan a couple of weeks ago that the plan was "dead on arrival."

Even that was not enough to send the White House the message.

Then California Rep. Elton Gallegly, who chairs an important subcommittee on terrorism of the House International Relations Committee, urged the president not to re-introduce his immigration plan:

"It is our hope that in future discussions with the Mexican government, you will encourage Mexico to do its part to address illegal immigration rather than encourage their citizens to illegally enter the U.S."

 Mr. Gallegly, with at least 21 other members of Congress, wrote to Mr. Bush earlier this month.

Well, as I noted, Mr., Bush has been out of the country and I guess he didn't get the message, or messages, because when he spoke to a press conference in Chile this week after the summit conference in Santiago, he ignored every one of these warning signs that his ill-advised amnesty plan is no more popular with his own party and its leaders now than it was when he first popped it on them last January.

Mr. Bush also claimed that he had "campaigned on this issue," presumably meaning immigration, if not amnesty itself, during the election, which is simply not true.

If he mentioned it at all in the campaign it seems to have escaped notice, save during the third presidential debate when the moderator brought it up.

And Mr. Bush then emitted one of the inane remarks for which he has become famous:

"We'd much rather have security guards running down terrorists or drug runners or drug smugglers than people coming to work."

No doubt, but to do any of the above, we have to have a lot more security on the border, which we don't.

What we—the American people—would much rather have is a president who betrays some faint glimmer that the border is out of control and that mass immigration represents not only a major threat to our national security and sovereignty but also a major force threatening the disintegration of our identity as a nation and civilization.

Mr. Bush doesn't have a clue, or if he does, he is indifferent to it.

What he is not indifferent to, apparently, is what Mexican President Vicente Fox tells him to do. Mr. Fox has been badgering Mr. Bush for years to institute amnesty for Mexican illegals, and that's what the president's plan does. Mr. Fox has revived his efforts to get amnesty through since the election, and Mr. Bush has complied.

Why Mr. Bush seems so eager to make his counterpart in Mexico happy over this issue remains unclear, especially given the obvious unhappiness of his own party and the vast majority of Americans with the plan.

But whatever his reasons, the president has been given fair warning by his own party, as well as by various results in this month's election.

He still doesn't get the message.

Americans who want to stop the amnesty he is planning to force on the country need to forget the man they just re-elected and make sure their own congressmen and senators know what to do about the disastrous measure he is sending them.

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Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website. Click here to order his monograph, Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future.