President Bush delivered a live broadcast from the Oval Office to the nation today about illegal immigration. I think this will not make too many people happy, since it was a very centrist approach. There are pieces that should make liberals and conservatives both happy and pissed. I am moderately impressed with what I heard on the radio, but what I really liked came later when I looked over the posted text: there are 27 uses of the word “illegal” or its derivatives, and no uses of the euphemism “undocumented.” I like it when a politician can call a spade a spade.

Here are some quotes from the President’s address with some of my comments.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

I am glad to see this listed first. I believe that securing our borders should be one of the very first actions taken.

Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud.

Too many businesses, schools, towns, and state laws and policies prohibit a teacher or an employer from asking for any proof of citizenship.

That middle ground recognizes there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently, and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record.

If they break the law and are here illegally, they should be punted across the border and not allowed to return. If they are in the U.S. illegally, but have otherwise proven to be law-abiding, then I can see being lenient.

English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own.

This is why the Asian immigrants are able to do so very well here in the U.S. — they are willing to both learn the language and work very hard.

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