Justice, Politics

Bush's address and call for 6,000 in Guard to border

Trying to navigate the political minefield of immigration reform in a televised address to the nation Monday night, President Bush called for a “comprehensive” approach to solve “a matter of national importance.”
Bush called for the short-term deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops in a supporting role along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Listen to the first part of Bush’s speech. Full text here
Some responses to Bush’s speech:

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat: “We know where the House Republicans stand. They want to criminalize undocumented immigrants and the nurses, volunteers and people of faith who help them. The president told us tonight that he is for comprehensive reform: Now he must lead. The president has the power to call up the National Guard, but now he must summon the power to lead his own Republican forces in Congress to support a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.”
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney: “Deploying the National Guard to the border does nothing to end the economic exploitation that is driving illegal immigration. Our laws must include uniform enforcement of workplace standards to ensure a more just and level playing field. We must reject outdated guest-worker programs that relegate all future immigrant workers to an indentured, second-class status with substandard wages and rights, and undermine standards for all.”

Marc Cooper: “The real mission of the 6,000 National Guard troops he has called out is to quell the rebellion on the President’s right flank, the flaring mutiny of his own conservative base. Indeed, if the President were being honest, the newly mobilized troops would be taken off the Federal payroll and moved onto the books of the 2006 national Republican campaign. They certainly aren’t going to be stopping illegal immigration. Most of the Guard will be unarmed. They will be barred from patrolling the border itself, as well as from confronting, apprehending or even guarding the undocumented.Of course, “sending troops to the border” sounds great – if you are among those who actually believe there is a technological or military fix possible for our busted-out immigration policy. That’s what Bush is hoping, at least. That conservatives who are fed up with him, especially on what they see as his failure to stop the human tide of poor people washing across the desert, will be revitalized by the manufactured fantasy of armed, crew-cut, uniformed young Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder from Yuma to El Paso.”
Clip of Reactions from people living on the border and a spot given to the Minute Men with little to no with no analysis.
For some reason I’m haunted by the refrain of the New Kids on the Block “Hangin’ Tough”
Jspot just did a great post about the upcoming actions on May 20 here in New York and for a list of actions happening all week for immigrant justice go here.
[Ed.’s Note] A Jewish American serviceman explains why he will refuse any order to stand on our border:

I cannot point a gun at folks crossing a border when I am a scion of the same thing. Life was hard in the Pale of Settlement, and though todays illegals aren’t necessarily fleeing pogroms, they likely have the same fears. How will I feed my children? How will I give them a better life than they seem predestined to have? This particular use of the Guard presents an anethema to the core of my being, and what I grew up believing are American values.


3 thoughts on “Bush's address and call for 6,000 in Guard to border

  1. In November 1989, President Bush’s father praised the fall of the Berlin Wall by saying, “It clearly is a good development in terms of human rights.” He added, “We’re saluting those who can move forward with democracy. We are encouraging the concept of a Europe whole and free …… I don’t think anyone can resist it, in Europe or in the Western Hemisphere.”
    In that Thanksgiving address, he also said, “Around the world tonight, new pilgrims are on a voyage to freedom, and for many, it’s not a trip to some faraway place but to a world of their own making. On other Thanksgivings, the world was haunted by the images of watchtowers, guard dogs, and machine guns. In fact, many of you had not even been born when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. But now the world has a new image, reflecting a new reality: that of Germans, East and West, pulling each other to the top of the wall, a human bridge between nations.”
    In his call last night to send thousands of National Guard troops to the border between the United States and Mexico, the son once again failed to listen to the father. Bush is sending the Iraq-weary Guard to the border to mollify hardline conservatives who are building their careers around – whether they say this explicitly or not — a brown invasion from the south.
    Full editorial @ the boston globe

  2. Hey, Cole! First off, great post. Always cool to aggregate some of thge reactions to this stuff.
    Do you have any idea where Marc Cooper gets the information that, “They will be barred from patrolling the border itself, as well as from confronting, apprehending or even guarding the undocumented”? If he’s right, I honestly find that somewhat comforting, as one of my biggest concerns here is that the presence of the Guard on the border will lead to tragedies like the killing of Ezequiel hernandez, a teenager who was shot by Marines doing a drug patrol ont he border in 1997. If an office is overbrudened and there are dozens of Guard troops there, isn’t there a good likelihood that they will be used for direct patrols? Or if they’re doing surveillance and come into contact with immigrants, won’t they interact directly with them?
    These may be questions for Cooper, not you–I’m just wondering. Great post either way. I just wrote about the whole thing on JSpot, if you’re interested.
    And to whomever posted the quote from the Jewish serviceman–wow. That almost makes me cry, amnd makes me proud to be Jewish.

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