May 25, 2006
Dear President Bush,
The purpose of this letter is to try to persuade you that the policies you are pursuing in several areas, but particulalrly immigration reform, are mistaken and may very well lead to a change of stewardship in one or both houses of Congress and, perhaps, the Presidency. Placing the security of this nation back in hands of Democrat politicians will be a disaster. It is avoidable. It is difficult for those of us outside the corridors of power to understand the various pressures to which you must respond. Nevertheless, I feel duty bound to warn you of disaster on the horizon.
I have been a supporter of yours since you were governor of Texas. I had the good fortune to live in Houston from 1984 - 2000. Having “known” you so long it is not a surprise to me that you would have a very compassionate position with respect to the illegal immigrant issue. You have long made your views known and anyone who has been paying attention has no reason to assert that your current position is a surprise.
The fact that you have a consistent position for a long time does not, however, confirm that position as a good one. In this case your position has the twin liabilities of assuming the nation of Mexico, and its government, will respect any immigration laws put in place in this country and so angering Republicans that we are coming to believe that we have no voice at all.
As has been pointed out by intellects much greater than my own, the fact that the Mexicans coming here are “good people” and are just “coming here to work and make better lives for themselves and their families” differentiates them in no way from about 6 billion other people on the planet. Shall we open our doors to all of them?
For most of us the illegal immigration issue has little to do with immigration and everything to do with sovereignty, the rule of law and pride of ownership.
We cannot understand how we can address the issue of future illegal immigration without ensuring that our southern border is secure. In 1965 and 1986 we undertook large scale immigration reforms that were massive failures because they failed to address a
fundamental problem; We cannot count on the Mexican Government to provide a decent economic environment for its citizens. Since they, unlike Canada for instance, are delighted to see their citizens leave and send back billions each year the situation cannot be addressed by conventional American methods.
We prefer to resolve issues by reaching agreements. In this case there is no one to reach an agreement with. Either our border becomes practically impregnable or we will have no more control over illegal immigration after passing reforms than we did before.
For many of us it is impossible to simply dismiss the multiple breakings of our laws by the illegals. They knowingly cross the border illegally; they obtain identity documents illegally; they consume civic services illegally. In short, they show absolutely no respect for our laws and by pursuing the policies dictated by your position on the issue you endorse their view. To suggest that they will pay a fine is silly. We have neither the means nor the will to collect it.
Imagine the front page stories we will be treated to:“Hector and Maria Gonzales have been living here illegally for 10 years. Both are model citizens. They have three sons and a daughter in elementary school and both work hard to support them. In fact, Hector has 2 jobs. They can’t feed their children and pay the fines that would be imposed if they are to take advantage of the Immigration Reform Bill”.
There are two possible results for Hector and Maria: Countless “special” circumstances in which the fees will be waived or a push by moderates and liberals to reduce the fees so these fine people can afford them. Both these outcomes belittle the value of our laws and make a mockery of any attempt at reform. The Mexicans of the future know, just as the 1986 to 2006 version did, that they have no reason to worry about us enforcing our laws. We are too nice to do it. They are happy to take advantage of our generosity.
For many of us it is difficult to understand how well intentioned politicians like yourself can place so little value on American citizenship and sovereignty that you are not offended by people who ignore our sovereignty and you appear happy to give away citizenship to those same people.
We are sorely offended and our national fabric is damaged by the wholesale amnesty that results from policies like those you are pursuing. I am aware that you don’t call it amnesty. Here we run into the old saw that a pig is still a pig no matter how much lipstick you put on it. It is amnesty.
Mr. President, with respect. Secure the Border and enforce our laws first. Reform the immigration laws later.
Cc John McCain