President Bush’s nationally televised pitch Monday for stronger border enforcement, combined with a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, impressed Rep. Ralph Regula but failed to win over Rep. Bob Ney.Over in the Senate, both Mike DeWine and George Voinovich decided to go along with the President. At least, on the amnesty part. They don't seem to really want to come out in full support of the enforcement part of the plan. Naturally.
“I think it was a pretty good speech,” said Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, after watching the speech at his home. “I think the number one concern of Americans is to secure the border, and he’s obviously going to take steps to do that. But you have to have a comprehensive program, and he does have that, too.”
Ney, R-Heath, who has taken a harder line against illegal immigration, expressed conditional support for Bush’s plan to temporarily buttress border enforcement with 6,000 National Guard troops. The plan should go forward only if the already stretched Guard can handle additional responsibilities, he said.
But Ney remained adamantly opposed to the temporary worker program and path to citizenship for illegal immigrants advocated by the president.
“Those who have come here illegally have broken the law and instead of being rewarded with amnesty they should be sent back and be forced to go through the same lawful immigration procedures that those here legally have gone through,” Ney said in a prepared statement.
And where does Sherrod Brown stand? Well, he's confused. As usual.
“Under the Bush administration, illegal immigration has worsened,” said Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, in a prepared statement. “Republicans have cut homeland security funding, destroyed FEMA, dismantled border patrol operations and overextended National Guard forces across the country.”I don't think he cleared this statement with his buddies in the Democratic party...and I'm sure that if we examined his voting record, we'd find some intersting things on this topic... I leave that to the more enterprising members of the Alliance...
Brown, who is challenging DeWine in the Senate race this fall, criticized Bush for requesting only 200 additional border patrol agents in 2006 and 1,500 for 2007, even though a commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack recommended adding 2,000 more agents each year.
“Now the president wants to burden state resources already stretched dangerously thin,” he said. “We must stand up to the president on behalf of the safety of Ohio families.”
I really don't think there will be a compromise between the House and the Senate any time soon. The House is heavy on enforcement and the Senate doesn't want to enforce anything. The Senate wants to make every illegal a citizen immediately, and the House wants to stop the flood first.
I was on a conference call with Ken Mehlman the other day. It wasn't about immigration. But when the session was opened up to questions, it became about immigration. I was surprised. This is a serious issue and I'm not real sure that we have leadership that is totally in tune with the kind of solution that the American people are looking for. Mehlman talked a good game. He made it clear that he understood that amnesty was out of the question and that no guest worker program would work without first securing the border. I'll have to review the transcript of last night's speech, but I suspect that concept isn't featured...
We have a long way to go on this issue...