The Iraq war raging, but George W. Bush has more pressing issues on his mind like immigration. Hey, if I were George Bush I'd probably want to change the subject too. Make no mistake, the immigration debate is an important one. But there are too many other discussions ( gas prices, healthcare, et al) that should be a bigger priority. Besides, the republican party doesn't really give a rats ass about border security (either in Mexico or Canada.) This is really about republican politicians appealing to the racist attitudes of their consituents to bring out the vote in November. Nothing energizes the republican base like racism. Some things never change.
I have to admit this immigration thing was not even on my radar screen 6 months ago yet here we are in the thick of a national debate. Personally, I'm more concerned with my lack of health insurance. Or the war which continues without an end in site.
But George Bush would rather pimp his plans to militarize the southern border in this country. Many of Bush's fellow republicans want to erect a concrete wall along the entire Mexican frontier as well! Senate president Bill Frist was quoted today, "a wall won't be enough!" Wonder what else he has in mind. Ah, the mind reels.
At 700 miles, the Tex-Mex Wall would be an astonishing seventy times longer than the infamous Berlin Wall from the old Cold war days. I know it was nearly 20 years ago, but I challenge you to try and recall the hostility and emotion that the Berlin Wall invoked for generations. (See pics of GI's on patrol in West Berlin, circa 1967, for inspiration)
It worth remembering that since 1994, 4,000 undocumented immigrants are estimated to have died while attempting to cross into the United States. And the death toll is rising fast--in 1995, the Border Patrol reported 473 deaths. One suspects this number will skyrocket with the addition of 6,ooo armed soldiers. It's worth nothing that the Berlin Wall deathtoll was relatively low: 237. (see pic of the Wall's first casualty, 1962)
Bush's primetime immigration speech also featured other hyped-up border control measures mainly a doubling of border-control guards, unmanned patrol drones, and plans for a so-called tamper-proof ID card for immigrant workers--at an added cost of $2 billion, on top of an already bloated $7.3 billion annual border control budget. Clearly these types of numbers reflect a terrible return on the taxpayer's investment in border security. There's an idea, let's just throw money at the problem! Isn't this was the democrats used to get criticized for?
Can we start talking about the Iraq War again now, please?
(Images courtesy Stars & Stripes)