Kerry Outpoints Bush On Borders—But Misses KO On “Temporary Workers”
After the second
Presidential debate, one of my readers wrote:
"Hey, Steve, you
are just ticked off that not a single person in the
debate audience, which represented a cross section of
the American people, asked a question about illegal
immigrants. For surely, if anyone had submitted
such a question, Charles Gibson would have used it,
Americans are concerned about the stuff that touches
their daily lives, like stem-cell research.
“You`ve just got to
shed your obsessions and think more like a normal
Expecting to be shut
out again, I tuned in to Wednesday night`s third debate.
But then moderator Bob Schieffer announced—
I got more
e-mail this week on this question than any other
question. And it is about immigration. I`m told that at
least 8,000 people cross our borders illegally every
day. Some people believe this is a security issue, as
you know. Some believe it`s an economic issue. Some see
it as a human-rights issue. How do you see it? And what
we need to do about it?"
On the channel I was
watching, I couldn`t see Bush`s expression. But another
reader wrote me:
"That the most
asked question turned out to be on immigration seemed to
surprise Bush a good deal. He was visibly taken aback."
Let`s go over the
responses in detail.
"While Bush tried to
be moderate in general, he wisely posed as a
conservative on immigration,
casting his own plan in the toughest possible light. He
said he opposed an `amnesty` because he doesn`t want to
`reward illegal behavior,` but missed a huge opportunity
by failing to cast Kerry`s plan for `earned
legalization` (of illegal aliens already here)
as just such a de facto amnesty. …`"
That`s certainly what
it sounded like Bush was doing, but Mickey got
the content totally wrong.
BUSH: “I see it as
a serious problem. I see it as a security issue, I see
it as an economic issue, and I see it as a
Uh-oh. You know
that Bush is not talking about American citizens`
right to live within
secure borders—but about the
purported right of the other six billion people on
Earth to infiltrate into the U.S. without risk.
increasing the border security of the United States.
We`ve got 1,000 more Border Patrol agents on the
Oh, yeah? Let`s do
the math. If each additional agent works 42 hours out of
each 168-hour week, that 250 full-time equivalents for
2000 miles of border, or one extra guard for every eight
Well, that`s a
Mission Accomplished…to coin a phrase.
BUSH: "We`re using
new equipment. We`re using unmanned vehicles to spot
people coming across. And we`ll continue to do so over
the next four years. It`s a subject I`m very familiar
with. After all, I was a
border governor for a while."
Right—and did nothing
to stop illegal immigration when
he was governor.
BUSH: “Many people
are coming to this country for economic reasons. They`re
coming here to work. If you can make 50 cents in the
heart of Mexico, for example, or make $5 here in
America, $5.15, you`re going to come here if you`re
worth your salt, if you want to put food on the table
for your families. And that`s what`s happening."
Shades of Bush`s
`em on!" challenge to Iraqi insurgents! Bush here is
encouraging poorly paid Mexicans to
immigrate to America illegally.
Mexicans who don`t violate our immigration laws aren`t
worth their salt in his eyes—and he wants them to know
potential immigrants with the skills to earn more
than the minimum wage appear to be a lower priority in
the President`s eyes.)
To rephrase the
tabloid headline when President Ford balked at
bailing out New York City:
BUSH TO MEXICANS:
COME ON IN!
Bush went on:
BUSH: "And so in
order to take pressure off the borders, in order to make
the borders more secure, I believe there ought to be a
temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a
willing employer to mate up, so long as there`s
not an American willing to do that job, to join up in
order to be able to fulfill the employers` needs."
That makes it sound
like Bush is fighting to lower the impediments to the
white slave trade.
(Which, now that I
think of it, in effect he is doing. I can just imagine
Americans, it has come to my attention that Eastern
Europe—the Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Russia, Lithuania
— is full of nubile young ladies with hair the color of
wheat ripening in the sun, willing workers who want to
mate up with you willing American employers for $5
dollars an hour, $5.15. But our antiquated immigration
laws are keeping these willing workers out of our
country, forcing you to pay 20, 30, even 40 dollars per
hour to mate up with sullen, lazy native-born workers
who probably aren`t even
“I say, we must
issue temporary worker cards to these ash blonde
beauties so they can mate up with you and fulfill your
temporary cards—so we can kick their skanky butts out
the country when they get old and wrinkly.
” And may God
Hmmm. Back to the
BUSH: "That has the
benefit of making sure our employers aren`t
breaking the law as they try to fill their workforce
Not that Bush ever
enforce the law that he now wants to relieve
employers from obeying.
And, while we`re on
the subject of employers` workforce needs, what about
American workers` employment needs?
The population has
10.5 million people since Bush took office. But the
number of jobs has shrunk by about a million.
BUSH: "It makes
sure that the people coming across the border are
humanely treated, that they`re not kept in the shadows
of our society, that they`re able to go back and forth
to see their families. See, the card, it`ll have a
period of time attached to it."
Anyway, won`t all
workers disappear back into the "shadows of our
society" when their time limit runs out?
And are you going to
throw them out when they have lots of American-born—and
thus American-citizen under the current
interpretation of the 14th Amendment—children?
The old temporary
worker plan started during WWII was for
men only, so
President Eisenhower could deport a million
back to Mexico without having to worry about their
American citizen kids. Bush`s plan can`t work like
BUSH: "It also
means it takes pressure off the border. If somebody is
coming here to work with a card, it means they`re not
going to have to sneak across the border. It means our
border patrol will be more likely to be able to focus on
doing their job."
BUSH: "Now, it`s
very important for our citizens to also know that I
don`t believe we ought to have amnesty. I don`t think we
reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people
standing in line to become a citizen. And we ought not
to crowd these people ahead of them in line. If they
want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too.
And here is where my opponent and I differ. In September
2003, he supported amnesty for illegal aliens."
of the word "amnesty" reminds me of a famous
exchange in Lewis Carroll`s
Through the Looking Glass.
I use a word,` Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a
scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to
mean—neither more nor less.`
question is,` said Alice, `whether you can make
words mean so many different things.`
question is,` said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be
What Bush is doing
here is redefining "amnesty." According to him,
it no longer means forgiving lawbreakers for their
crimes and allowing them to continue to reap the
benefits of their lawbreaking. Indeed, doing exactly
that is an essential part of the Bush plan. In a
special Humpty-Dumptian sense aimed solely at Republican
Congressmen who don`t want Democratic-leaning illegal
immigrants to get the right to vote, Bush is defining
amnesty only as giving citizenship to illegals. (Of
course, their children born in America get citizenship,
so in the long run it doesn`t make much difference—the
Democrats still benefit.)
Open Borders for “temporary workers.” Anybody
in the world who can get a job offer at—as Bush made
explicit—"$5.15" per hour, can move to America,
"so long as there`s not an American willing to do
that job." (That is, not willing to do that job at
$5.15 per hour—$10,712 per year.)
Bush`s plan would
reduce the market wage for
tens of millions of American jobs to the minimum
Kerry, in contrast, wants current illegal aliens to
be put on track to become voters because they will
vote Democratic. But he`s never said he wants
anything as wild as Bush`s Open Borders plan.
They hear him deny
that it`s amnesty, and they assume that, at worst, he`s
lying and he`s actually proposing amnesty for the 11
million or 13 million illegals who are already here.
What voters don`t
realize, because it seems too crazy to even consider, is
that Bush is not only lying about amnesty for current
illegal aliens, but that the President wants to open the
borders to an unlimited number of "temporary"
As Harvard economist
George Borjas has
pointed out, our lone experience with granting open
borders to Third Worlders is with
Puerto Rico. In a couple of decades after WWII, one
quarter of all Puerto Ricans moved to the U.S.
Assuming there are
about four billion very poor people in the world, one
quarter of them is … one billion people. Even if only
one percent of all the poor folks on Earth took
advantage of Bush`s open borders plan, that would still
be 40 million newcomers.
didn`t want to talk about immigration either—he wasted a
lot of his allotted time responding to an earlier Bush
riposte on the state of the middle class. Even then, he
passed up an obvious chance to link his complaints about
declining wages to illegal immigration.
Kerry got around to saying:
“Secondly, we need
a guest-worker program, but if it`s all we have, it`s
not going to solve the problem.
“The second thing
we need is to crack down on illegal hiring. It`s against
the law in the United States to
hire people illegally, and we ought to be enforcing
that law properly.
“And thirdly, we
need an earned-legalization program for people who have
been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a
job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We
got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of
That`s way to the
left of the American public. But, at least on toughening
up the borders and cracking down on illegal hiring—not
to mention not inviting the whole world to move
here—it`s still to the right of the Republican
everything, with his usual unspoken premise, "Hey,
I`m the President and he`s not! Who yah gonna believe?
The President or somebody who`s not the President?"
BUSH: “Well, to say
that the borders are not as protected as they were prior
to September the 11th shows he doesn`t know the borders.
They`re much better protected today than they were when
I was the governor of Texas. We have much more manpower
and much more equipment there. He just doesn`t
understand how the borders work, evidently, to say that.
That is an outrageous claim. And we`ll continue to
protect our borders. We`re continuing to increase
manpower and equipment.”
At this point, Kerry
finally realized there was a huge opening to the right
thousand people a day are coming across the border.
“The fact is that
we now have people from the Middle East, allegedly,
coming across the border.
“And we`re not
doing what we ought to do in terms of the technology. We
have iris-identification technology. We have thumbprint,
fingerprint technology today. We can know who the people
are, that they`re really the people they say they are
when the cross the border. We could speed it up. There
are huge delays.
“The fact is our
borders are not as secure as they ought to be, and I`ll
make them secure.”
On substance, you`d
have to give this part of the debate to
But what an
opportunity he blew by failing to expose Bush`s Open
Wall Street Journal would have blown a gasket
accusing Kerry of "xenophobic racism," and the
New York Times would tut-tut about his "appeal to
nativism." With the voters, however, the Bush
campaign would have suffered a massive blow—on the issue
that Bob Schieffer reports attracts the most emails.
It seems to me that
this failure to exploit Bush`s peculiar recklessness is
a recurrent problem for Kerry. On several crucial
issues—immigration, foreign policy, and the
deficit—Bush, with his
Invade-the-World-Invite-the-World policies, is
radical, even utopian.
Kerry sometimes senses
that he could win simply by running as an old-fashioned,
sensible Eisenhower Republican. This is why he often
feints to the right.
But, ever since his
1962 sailboat ride with John F. Kennedy, John F.
Kerry`s heart apparently just isn`t in running as the
Not for nothing did
George W. Bush`s biographers call him a
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and