Friday, June 1, 2007

Immigration Bill

I’ve been a frequent and harsh critic of George W. Bush in these pages, but to give credit where credit is due, the president is getting it right on the current immigration debate.

As Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle reports, Bush said, in addressing critics of the bipartisan plan that would grant citizenship upon passage of a certain amount of time and payment of fees, "If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill's an amnesty bill.... That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our citizens."

"People shouldn't fear our capacity to uphold our motto, E Pluribus Unum," Bush told McClatchy Newspapers. This was Bush's "harshest public backhand yet to the conservative bloggers, commentators, politicians and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, all gassing about how the bill amounts to amnesty," Mason reports.

The compromise Senate bill is also drawing fire from Democrats, who criticize the high fees and penalties for illegal immigrations, or the change in philosophy in deciding who gets in away from reuniting families and toward valuing education and skills.

Bush explained, “I feel passionate about the issue. It's something I have felt strongly about ever since I was the governor of Texas.... Texas is a very diverse state, Houston is a very diverse city, and through that diversity, if you're open-minded, you get a great sense of how it invigorates the society."

"You recognize, [growing up in Texas,] the decency and hard work and humanity of Hispanics," Bush continued. "And the truth of the matter is a lot of this immigration debate is driven as a result of Latinos being in our country."

My goodness. This is the sort of humanity we can only wish this president would have demonstrated on a day-in and day-out basis throughout the last six and a half years. If he had, the world would be a lot better place today.