Immigration speech tonight
President Bush will address the nation tonight on the issue of immigration.
The President is expected to announce the use of National Guard troops to
help secure the borders until more border patrol can be hired and trained.
The White House reported that President Bush had a telephone conversation
with Mexican President Vicente Fox. Bush gave assurances that the plan to
deploy National Guard would not be a militarization of the region and that
it would be temporary, according to White House spokeswoman Maria Tamburri.
The governors of Texas and Arizona have welcomed the news and governors of
New Mexico and California have opposed the National Guard deployment.
Washington Post reports on the fact that the illegal immigrant protest
groups are organizing for their response to the President’s speech:
As President Bush prepares to address the nation tonight about immigration,
a newly formed network of groups that organized demonstrations for illegal
immigrants is conference calling, brainstorming and consolidating its forces
so that it can respond to the government with a unified voice.
The We Are America Alliance of 41 immigrant resource groups, unions,
churches, day laborers and Spanish-language disc jockeys opposes House
legislation that would criminalize illegal immigrants, but it will lobby
Congress and compromise to realize its goal of obtaining legal residency for
many of the 11 million people who live in the shadows.
But like the president, whose proposal for a guest-worker program is opposed
by many in his own party, the alliance does not speak for all. It is being
criticized by a small but influential faction of Latino activists in Los
Angeles who say the alliance's compromise strategy could slow the momentum
created by the protests.
Washington Times reports on how Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has co-sponsored
legislation that would dramatically change the number of legal immigrants to
The immigration reform bill that the Senate takes up today would more than
double the flow of legal immigration into the United States each year and
dramatically lower the skill level of those immigrants.
The number of extended family members that U.S. citizens or legal residents
can bring into this country would double. More dramatically, the number of
workers and their immediate families could increase sevenfold if there are
enough U.S. employers looking for cheap foreign labor. Another provision
would grant humanitarian visas to any woman or orphaned child anywhere in
the world "at risk of harm" because of age or sex.
The little-noticed provisions are part of legislation co-sponsored by
Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Mel Martinez of Florida, which
overcame some early stumbles and now has bipartisan support in the Senate.
The bill also has been praised by President Bush and he is expected to
endorse it as a starting point for negotiations in his prime-time address to
the nation tonight
Cheney’s suspicions of Plame
Documents, filed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in federal court
show Vice President Dick Cheney’s suspicions of CIA Agent Valerie Plame who
sent her husband -- former ambassador Joseph Wilson -- to Niger with little
results other than to create a finding that Iraq may have tried to buy
yellow cake from Niger. Wilson proclaimed that Iraq had not tried to buy
yellow cake from Niger.
The documents, filed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald Friday, do not
contain a smoking gun pointing to a specific White House employee behind the
leak, which is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
But they show that Cheney was upset by both Wilson's mission to Niger and
Plame's suspected role in launching it long before her public outing.
The filing contains a copy of Wilson's article with angry notes scribbled by
the vice president on the margins.
"Have they done this sort of thing before?" Cheney queried. "Send an amb.
(ambassador) to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono
to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"
According to the documents, Cheney also notified his then-chief of staff,
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA about four weeks
before her identity was illegally disclosed.
That contradicts Libby's earlier assertions that he had learned about Plame
from the media.
We always knew it was true
The Sunday Des Moines Register had a notice about Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA)
communication director leaving:
Allison Dobson, communication director for Sen. Tom Harkin, announced last
week that she is leaving to attend Harvard Business School this fall.
Dobson has had quite a tenure in Washington having also worked for the late
Sen. Paul Wellstone and for the John Kerry presidential campaign. "I’m sorry
to see her go," Harkin told reporters. "She makes me look smart and with-it
even when I don’t have the foggiest idea what’s going on."
You said it, not us.
It is clear what end of the socialist spectrum Harkin and Dobson like to
associate with. Maybe Ms. Dobson will find a job in Venezuela when she
How low can they go??
CBS News did a poll of 1,241 Americans and found that Democrat wannabes have
worse poll numbers than President Bush. More people have an unfavorable
opinion (35 percent) of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York than a
favorable one (34 percent). Nearly a third -- 32 percent -- say they are
undecided about her or have no opinion.
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee,
was worse: 38 percent unfavorable to 26 percent favorable. Former Vice
President Al Gore's ratings are equally dismal: 39 percent unfavorable to 28
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Socialist President, is in Europe and on the eve of
his visit to Britain the
London Observer reports on Chavez’ efforts to return Karl Marx’s message
Chavez said in Vienna yesterday that the 'final hours of the North American
empire have arrived ... Now we have to say to the empire: "We're not afraid
of you. You're a paper tiger."'
Chavez seems to have a welcome pawn in the Mayor of London -- Ken
Livingststone. He is welcoming Chavez and will no doubt enable Chavez to
provide subsidized oil to the poor of London as Chavez provided to the poor
Iowa's national importance...
Iowa Presidential Watch wants to bring attention to the fact that extreme
liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is going to try and funnel tens of
thousands of dollars to Rep. Leonard Boswell's (D-IA) re-election campaign
in Iowa. Go to the
link to see Boxer’s PAC for Change. We checked and Boxer’s PAC
and like Iowa Presidential Watch it appears to be a federally regulated 527.
Boswell, of course, benefited from numerous unregulated 527 PAC’s during his
last campaign. America Coming Together (ACT) was one of those organizations.
While ACT was probably illegal, the Federal Election Commission failed to
take up the problem and the whole fiasco of the McCain/Fiengold Campaign
Reform Act remains a continuing issue.
For those who have further interest in ACT and George Soros' funding of this
PAC they should read David Horwitz’s,
"The Shadow Party."
Boswell is being challenged by one of Iowa Presidential Watch’s friends,
Iowa State Senate President Jeff Lamberti. He is one of the best chances we
have of defeating an incumbent Democrat congressman in 2006. Anyone who
wishes to learn more and make a contribution to his campaign should visit
Lamberti for Congress.
We at Iowa Presidential Watch wish Jeff Lamberti and his campaign the best
in trying to unseat Boswell -- one of the most ineffective congressmen to
serve from Iowa.
President Bush: immigration speech text
Good evening. I have asked for a few minutes of your time to discuss a
matter of national importance – the reform of America’s immigration system.
The issue of immigration stirs intense emotions – and in recent weeks,
Americans have seen those emotions on display. On the streets of major
cities, crowds have rallied in support of those in our country illegally.
At our southern border, others have organized to stop illegal immigrants
from coming in. Across the country, Americans are trying to reconcile these
contrasting images. And in Washington, the debate over immigration reform
has reached a time of decision. Tonight, I will make it clear where I
stand, and where I want to lead our country on this vital issue.
We must begin by recognizing the problems with our immigration system. For
decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders.
As a result, many who want to work in our economy have been able to sneak
across our border – and millions have stayed.
Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use
forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to
verify that the workers they hire are legal. Illegal immigration puts
pressure on public schools and hospitals ... strains state and local budgets
... and brings crime to our communities. These are real problems, yet we
must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people
who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead
responsible lives. They are a part of American life – but they are beyond
the reach and protection of American law.
We are a Nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a Nation
of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our
country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals – America can be
a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the
problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that
is secure, orderly, and fair. So I support comprehensive immigration reform
that will accomplish five clear objectives.
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 was the governor of a state that has a twelve-hundred mile border with
Mexico. So I know how difficult it is to enforce the border, and how
important it is. Since I became President, we have increased funding for
border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about
9,000 to 12,000 agents. The men and women of our Border Patrol are doing a
fine job in difficult circumstances – and over the past five years, we have
apprehended and sent home about six million people entering America
Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I
am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide
funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.
By the end of 2008, we will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by
an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we will have more
than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my Presidency.
At the same time, we are launching the most technologically advanced border
security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences
in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas.
We will employ motion sensors … infrared cameras … and unmanned aerial
vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in
the world – and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology
they need to do their job and secure our border.
Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most
advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure
our border is urgent. So I am announcing several immediate steps to
strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:
One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So in
coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to
our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard
will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems … analyzing
intelligence … installing fences and vehicle barriers … building patrol
roads … and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct
law enforcement activities – that duty will be done by the Border Patrol.
This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one
year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border
Patrol agents and new technologies come online. It is important for
Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror,
respond to natural disasters, and help secure our border.
The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is
our neighbor, and our friend. We will continue to work cooperatively to
improve security on both sides of the border ... to confront common problems
like drug trafficking and crime ... and to reduce illegal immigration.
Another way to help during this period of transition is through state and
local law enforcement in our border communities. So we will increase
federal funding for state and local authorities assisting the Border Patrol
on targeted enforcement missions. And we will give state and local
authorities the specialized training they need to help federal officers
apprehend and detain illegal immigrants. State and local law enforcement
officials are an important resource – and they are part of our strategy to
secure our border communities.
The steps I have outlined will improve our ability to catch people entering
our country illegally. At the same time, we must ensure that every illegal
immigrant we catch crossing our southern border is returned home. More than
85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch crossing the southern border
are Mexicans, and most are sent back home within 24 hours. But when we
catch illegal immigrants from other countries, it is not as easy to send
them home. For many years, the government did not have enough space in our
detention facilities to hold them while the legal process unfolded. So most
were released back into our society and asked to return for a court date.
When the date arrived, the vast majority did not show up. This practice,
called “catch and release,” is unacceptable – and we will end it.
We are taking several important steps to meet this goal. We have expanded
the number of beds in our detention facilities, and we will continue to add
more. We have expedited the legal process to cut the average deportation
time. And we are making it clear to foreign governments that they must
accept back their citizens who violate our immigration laws. As a result of
these actions, we have ended “catch and release” for illegal immigrants from
some countries. And I will ask Congress for additional funding and legal
authority, so we can end “catch and release” at the southern border once and
for all. When people know that they will be caught and sent home if they
enter our country illegally, they will be less likely to try to sneak in.
Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program.
The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border
who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life.
They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of
18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our
border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border
effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.
Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal
path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a
limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers
with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing. Every
worker who applies for the program would be required to pass criminal
background checks. And temporary workers must return to their home country
at the conclusion of their stay.
A temporary worker program would meet the needs of our economy, and it would
give honest immigrants a way to provide for their families while respecting
the law. A temporary worker program would reduce the appeal of human
smugglers – and make it less likely that people would risk their lives to
cross the border. It would ease the financial burden on state and local
governments, by replacing illegal workers with lawful taxpayers. And above
all, a temporary worker program would add to our security by making certain
we know who is in our country and why they are here.
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. Therefore, comprehensive
immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and
work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification
card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric
technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof. A
tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law – and leave employers with
no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal immigrants
to find work in our country, we would discourage people from crossing the
border illegally in the first place.
Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are
already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship.
This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are
here lawfully – and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration.
Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal
immigrant – and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I
disagree. It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people,
many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border.
There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to
citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation.
That middle ground recognizes that 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. I
believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to
stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law … to pay
their taxes … to learn English … and to work in a job for a number of
years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for
citizenship – but approval would not be automatic, and they will have to
wait in line behind those who played by the rules and followed the law.
What I have just described is not amnesty – it is a way for those who have
broken the law to pay their debt to society, and demonstrate the character
that makes a good citizen.
Fifth, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which
has made us one Nation out of many peoples. The success of our country
depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our
common identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared
ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an
ability to speak and write the English language. 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. When immigrants assimilate and advance in our society, they
realize their dreams ... they renew our spirit ... and they add to the unity
Tonight, I want to speak directly to Members of the House and the Senate:
An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements
of this problem must be addressed together – or none of them will be solved
at all. The House has passed an immigration bill. The Senate should act by
the end of this month – so we can work out the differences between the two
bills, and Congress can pass a comprehensive bill for me to sign into law.
America needs to conduct this debate on immigration in a reasoned and
respectful tone. Feelings run deep on this issue – and as we work it out,
all of us need to keep some things in mind. We cannot build a unified
country by inciting people to anger, or playing on anyone’s fears, or
exploiting the issue of immigration for political gain. We must always
remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and
that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their
citizenship papers say.
I know many of you listening tonight have a parent or a grandparent who came
here from another country with dreams of a better life. You know what
freedom meant to them, and you know that America is a more hopeful country
because of their hard work and sacrifice. As President, I have had the
opportunity to meet people of many backgrounds, and hear what America means
to them. On a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Laura and I met a wounded
Marine named Guadalupe Denogean. Master Gunnery Sergeant Denogean came to
the United States from Mexico when he was a boy. He spent his summers
picking crops with his family, and then he volunteered for the United States
Marine Corps as soon as he was able. During the liberation of Iraq, Master
Gunnery Sergeant Denogean was seriously injured. When asked if he had any
requests, he made two – a promotion for the corporal who helped rescue him …
and the chance to become an American citizen. And when this brave Marine
raised his right hand, and swore an oath to become a citizen of the country
he had defended for more than 26 years, I was honored to stand at his side.
We will always be proud to welcome people like Guadalupe Denogean as fellow
Americans. Our new immigrants are just what they have always been – people
willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. And America remains
what she has always been – the great hope on the horizon … an open door to
the future … a blessed and promised land. We honor the heritage of all who
come here, no matter where they are from, because we trust in our country’s
genius for making us all Americans – one Nation under God. Thank you, and
Text of press briefing prior to speech:
Monday, May 15, 2006
ON THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH ON IMMIGRATION
DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT,
FRAN TOWNSEND, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
FOR HOMELAND SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM,
AND JOEL KAPLAN, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
AND DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR POLICY
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
4:24 P.M. EDT
MR. SNOW: Quick note on the ground rules. This is an on-the-record
briefing, but it is embargoed until the time of the delivery of the speech.
What we're going to do is Dan is going to give you an outline about how the
speech came together and what the President hopes to accomplish; why the
speech is being delivered now and the path forward. Fran, of course, will
give an overview of border security. Joel, then, will talk about all the
comprehensive portions of comprehensive reform, and he'll walk through
temporary worker program, interior enforcement and the like.
With that, I'll hand it over to Dan.
MR. BARTLETT: The President decided almost a month ago that, strategically,
this was going to be an important speech for him to deliver at the right
time in the debate. We've been working on the speech for a couple weeks
now. I can recall talking to him and talking to the speech writers during
the California trip out West, when the President was out there for that
weekend, already looking at language, working on the structure of the speech
and looking at different concepts.
What was really the breakthrough, as far as timing, was last week's
agreement between the leadership -- the Democrat and Republican leadership
in the Senate to have the debate go forward. As you know, that starts this
week, so on the eve of this debate we felt it was an important time for the
President to articulate to the American people where he stands on the big
issues, what are some other steps we can take on the key components of the
President's strategy on comprehensive immigration reform.
The speech, itself, is broken down accordingly. First will be discussion
about border security, which Fran will go into more detail about. The
strategy remains the same, as far as having increased manpower complemented
by vast improvements in our technological capability along the border. Like
I said, Fran will go into some of the details about our long-term commitment
to increasing our presence on the border, and then some immediate steps
we're going to take as we build up those capabilities.
Secondly is the interior enforcement. You've heard the President talk
considerably about this. This is a critical component of comprehensive
reform, and to have effective enforcement. Right now we're putting many
businesses in an untenable position to try to be verifiers of documents that
are oftentimes forged. What the President will argue tonight and call for
is tamper-proof cards and other measures to make sure that we can help
employers verify the status of anybody who would be serving in a temporary
Then the onus not only comes on having a tamper-proof card, but also on --
it becomes incumbent upon employers to meet their requirements on the laws
of the land.
Third, the President will argue the need for a temporary worker program. He
will talk about how he views this in the context of how it can help better
enforce our borders, how it can help bring a more rational system in which
we match willing worker with willing employer. He will talk about the
benefits that will come from such a plan of having a temporary worker
program going forward.
He then will turn to the issue of the current illegal immigration population
in our country, the 11 million or 12 million that are here. He will
strongly state that he believes that an automatic path to citizenship is
amnesty and it's something that he will vigorously oppose.
But he will also talk about really forging a rational middle ground when it
comes to the specifics from it being illogical to think that we could
massively deport 12 million illegal immigrants at one time; that we ought to
have an approach that doesn't look at this as a monolithic population, but
one in which there are realities we ought to take into consideration as we
forge a piece of legislation to deal with the illegal immigrants that are
already here. Fourth -- that is the fourth point.
And then fifth, he will talk about assimilation and the responsibilities of
every citizen of our country and those who want to be citizens of our
country, and that is basically the fact that you do have to meet the
requirements of a citizen. That means learning English, assimilating, be
law abiding, and other aspects of what has made America unique and the fact
that people from all walks of life can come together under one fabric of the
United States of America and do so in a way that we've out-performed any
other country in the world when it comes to assimilation. And those are
important values and principles that the President will articulate.
So those are the five components of the speech that he will articulate
tonight. Right now we're looking at, roughly, 17 minutes in length. It
could be a little more, a little less, but right now that looks about it at
the point of delivery.
With that, to talk about some of the immediate long-term measures on the
border security and short-term measures, I'll give it to Fran Townsend.
MS. TOWNSEND: Thanks, Dan. I'll break this into component pieces. First
I'm going to talk about the Border Patrol. The President will talk about
increasing the United States Border Patrol by 6,000 by the end of calendar
year '08. Let me give you a little background and then break down those
numbers for you.
Since the President took office, when the Border Patrol was roughly 9,000
agents, there's been a 66 percent increase thus far to -- by the end of
September 2006, to 12,300, roughly. What this calls for is in fiscal year
'07 an additional 2,500 agents; in fiscal year '08 another 3,000 agents; and
then in the first quarter of fiscal year '09, which is the last part of the
calendar year in '08, another 500. So that's a total increase of another
6,000 Border Patrol agents, which will basically double the size -- nearly
double the size of the Border Patrol by the end of calendar year '08.
The National Guard: The President will talk about the deployment of up to
6,000 National Guardsmen to the border for a total of one year. Then over
the course of the second year, there will be a scaling down of the number of
National Guardsmen at the border as the Border Patrol begins to ramp up and
they are able to deploy Border Patrol to the border.
Apprehensions and detention: During the course of the National Guard
deployment, apprehensions and detention operations will continue to be
conducted by Border Patrol. The National Guardsmen will be looked to for
mission assignments, that is, mission assignments by the Department of
Homeland Security to the Department of Defense in areas of their expertise.
Think of things such as intelligence, surveillance and infrastructure.
There will be a combination of both Guard deployments and contractors to
fulfill those mission assignments, depending on the expertise that's
required and available.
The National Guardsmen will be under the control of the receiving governor
in the border state. That will need to be by the agreement of both the
sending governor and the receiving governor, and how that -- where the
people are pulled from will depend on where the expertise is and what the
mission assignment -- what the mission requirement is, as determined by DHS.
The deployment of National Guardsmen will likely begin sometime in early
June. The specific mission assignments the Department of Homeland Security
is working on now, with their colleagues at DOD. They expect to have the
first mission assignments available to DOD by Wednesday, and then DOD will
be able to begin to process that and look for those most appropriate to
fulfill those mission assignments.
Again, the National Guard forces will be working in coordination with
Customs and Border Patrol, which will remain in the lead at the border. One
of the byproducts, one of the natural consequences of the deployment of the
6,000 in the first year is -- one of the many -- is a freeing up of about
500 Border Patrol agents from what otherwise would have been administrative
or away from the front line jobs, and they will be able to be redeployed to
front line positions.
The National Guard Bureau and the state adjutants general will have to
closely coordinate with Customs and Border Patrol, just as we've done --
just as they've done over the years in the counter narcotics mission.
Catch and release: The President tonight will be asking Congress for $327
million to help end the policy that's come to be known as catch and
release. Most illegal immigrants apprehended at the border are from Mexico
and can be returned within 24 hours. This will require additional -- ending
of catch and release will require not only additional detention space, but
will also require us working with Congress to ensure the appropriate legal
The President's fiscal year '06 budget funds an additional 1,900 beds for
detention facilities in the United States. The supplemental budget request
will ask for approximately 4,000 additional beds, which would be a 12
percent increase. The President's fiscal year '07 budget proposes
increasing the number of detention beds in facilities by another 32 percent.
Now let me just break down bed numbers for you, because that's confusing
enough for me. In fiscal year '05, there were 18,500 beds. Fiscal year '06
adds 2,300, which gives you, by the end of May '06, 20,800. Supplemental
will propose 4,000 additional beds, which gives you by the end of fiscal
year '06, 24,800. Fiscal year '07 requests an additional 2,700, which means
by the end of fiscal year '07, there will be a total of 27,500 beds.
Last year, it took an average of 66 days to process non-Mexican illegal
immigrants. The process is a result of the increased use of expedited
removal. That process is now only taking 21 days.
Okay, the last segment of this. The President will speak about increasing
partnership cooperation and leveraging state and local resources. That
falls into two categories. First, what we refer to as 287G -- 287G of the
Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes DHS to train state and local law
enforcement officials in immigration enforcement so they can identify,
process and begin removal proceedings for incarcerated aliens; 287G programs
have already been established in Alabama, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina,
and California. The 287G program is roughly now about a $5.5 million
program. The President will be requesting to raise this to a $50-million
There will also be -- the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency will
establish task forces to participate in the border enforcement and security
task forces, document and benefit fraud task forces, and human trafficking
task forces. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is projecting to train
approximately 1,500 additional state and local law enforcement officers,
using this 287G delegation of authority program.
Stonegarden is the other piece to this leverage in state and local
capabilities. On January of 2006, DHS announced the expansion of Operation
Stonegarden to give states additional flexibility to strengthen border
security, working in coordination with DHS. Approximately $20 million is
available for Operation Stonegarden in fiscal year 2006, and we will be
seeking $15 million in supplemental funds to expand the Operation
Stonegarden as a result of the President's speech.
Operation Stonegarden provides grants for overtime and travel expenses,
allowing local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies to increase
manpower required for area-specific operations. Again, this would be state
and local law enforcement acting in coordination and consultation with
Customs and Border Patrol, not independently.
And with that, I'll turn it over to –
MR. BARTLETT: Just to put one point -- to put some of this substance in the
context of the speech. The way the President will depict this in the speech
is obviously talk about the record of accomplishment of what we have so
far: the dramatic increase, 66 percent increase in funding for Border
Patrol and border security efforts; the fact that when we increase by an
additional 6,000 -- as he proposes tonight -- will have more than doubled
the number of agents during his presidency.
But he'll acknowledge in this speech that that hasn't been enough to secure
the borders and that these additional steps must be taken. And it's during
this interim period of the 6,000 being trained that we're going to use the
immediate measures of the Guard and these two provisions of tapping into
state and local resources through both the 287G, as well as the Stonegarden
operations that have been announced.
So that's how he'll depict it, is the long-term commitment and sustained
commitment of border security will be the training up of these additional
6,000 Border agents, and then these two other -- these other provisions are
kind of the immediate steps to fill the transition until we get to that
MS. TOWNSEND: Yes, it should be clear that this is not intended as a
militarization of the border. We work cooperatively with Mexico; the
Department of Homeland Security, in particular, works very well with Mexican
enforcement officials. This is intended for us to take additional measures
to strengthen our border enforcement effort while we continue to ramp up,
frankly, at an unprecedented level the through-put in training Customs and
Border Patrol agents.
MR. KAPLAN: The President will go into the elements of the border security
portion of a comprehensive immigration proposal at the outset, but he'll
also make clear that you have to address all of the aspects of the
immigration problem in order to be effective. So after he talks about the
steps we're taking on border security, he will move into talking about the
second objective, which is to create a temporary worker program. This is
particularly important because you need a temporary worker program as an
essential steam valve that will relieve pressure on the borders.
America is a rich country and our neighbors are not as well-off, and you've
got a large supply of labor that is willing to take extraordinary risks
today to come into this country and that puts tremendous pressure on the
borders. So a temporary worker program that allows -- that matches willing
foreign workers with willing employers for jobs that Americans are not doing
is an essential portion of the plan that works in a mutually reinforcing way
with the security measures that Fran talked about.
In the temporary worker program, the President will also make clear it is
intended to be a temporary worker program. At the end of -- at the
conclusion of their stay in this country, the temporary worker programs who
come in through the program must return home.
The next element of the comprehensive plan that the President will talk
about is the need to hold employers to account for the workers that they
hire. Dan talked about the need for a tamper-proof biometric identity card
for every legal foreign worker. And the President will also talk about the
need to improve the efforts for employers to verify eligibility of workers.
So we'll be expanding -- comprehensive immigration reform will expand on the
basic pilot in place now to make sure that employers have an efficient way
of verifying that the workers that they hire are here as part of the
temporary worker program and are not here illegally.
Once we have these systems in place, it will remove an excuse from workers
for -- excuse me, an excuse from employers for violating the law. And
that's an important part of making sure that we have an effective,
comprehensive system in place.
The next element the President will talk about, as Dan mentioned, is facing
the reality of the millions of illegal immigrants who are already here in
this country. There are some who argue that anything short of a mass
deportation of these illegal immigrants is amnesty. The President does not
At the same time, he does not believe that every illegal immigrant here
ought to have an automatic path to citizenship. As Dan mentioned, he
believes there's a rational middle ground. That rational middle ground
recognizes that there are differences between someone -- an illegal
immigrant who showed up very recently, and someone who's been here a long
time, has put down roots, has a family, has a job. He also believes that
it's important to recognize -- that it's important to make sure that those
who apply for citizenship in this country pay a meaningful penalty before
they do so, that they pay their taxes, that they learn English, and
demonstrate good character and good citizenship.
The last issue, which relates to that good citizenship -- or the character
to be a good citizen relates to making sure that our immigration system
reflects the important principles of assimilation that have made this
country great; that he wants to make sure that our immigration system
encourages the principles of a melting pot; that everybody who comes to this
country wants to become a fully functioning part of our society, learns
English, and supports the principles that have made this country great.
MR. BARTLETT: Do you want to touch generally on the budget process?
MR. KAPLAN: Dan asked if I would touch on the budget process -- he's trying
to drag me back into my old job at OMB -- which I'll be happy to do.
There's a supplemental bill, as most of you know, pending in the Congress.
The Senate version of the supplemental included $1.9 billion for border
security. The border security measures that Fran laid out we expect to work
with the Congress to try to direct that $1.9 billion into these measures,
which we think are the most effective measures that can be taken in the
near-term to dramatically increase our border security.
So we'll be working with the appropriators, the leadership in Congress over
the next couple weeks to try to make sure that that supplemental bill,
within the top line, $92.2 billion, plus pandemic funding, within that top
line accommodates the necessary measures that Fran laid out for border
MR. SNOW: Okay, let me make a couple of quick comments about politics, and
then we'll do questions, because there's a lot of speculation that the
President is doing this simply to mollify the Republican base.
This is an act of leadership. The fact is, the President is going to give a
speech that is based on what he thinks is important, and these are his real
passions. If he wanted simply to give a speech to mollify any given voting
block, it would be a much different kind of speech. Instead what he's --
you've heard him talk about this in the past. He has very strong passions
As far as politics, as I said in the gaggle this morning, good policy is
good politics. Leadership is also good politics. When somebody stands up
and says, this is what I believe; I'm going to enter the debate now, the
debate on which both parties are divided internally, on which both parties
have big differences, on which passions run very high, sometimes it might be
seen as politically safe to stand aside and let the tempest go by. But
instead, what the President has said is, no, I want to have -- I want to
tell the American people where I stand on this debate at precisely the
moment where it can have an impact. And that is the impact as the Senate
gets ready to debate and pass an immigration measure that will move on to
So for those -- this is not a simple political play. Immigration is a whole
complex of issues. One other thing is that the President has also rejected
the notion, well, do one thing first and then we'll do other things later,
because he understands that if you don't do it all at once things fall
Immigration is not one issue, it is a series of issues. It has issues of
national security, of the economy, and also what kind of country we are,
what we say to people who want to share in the American Dream. The
President addresses all of those parts knowing that if you do one, the
temptation is going to be to sweep the others under the rug and leave them
untouched for one, two, five, 10 years and let pressures build again. As
tough as this is, this is a way of addressing all of the points not only of
conflict, but also opportunity when it comes to immigration. And that's the
reason he's delivering the speech.
Q I have a question about the politics, Tony. If you're talking about
leadership, the reality is that this President campaigned on this issue in
2000, talking about a temporary guest worker program. And then fast-forward
to tonight, he is, indeed, mollifying conservatives by talking about sending
National Guard troops down to the border. That's a huge tactical change, is
it not? And does it not reflect the fact that the politics has turned
around on this for him?
MR. SNOW: As I said this morning, David -- I know you weren't there, but I
think you've read the gaggle notes -- what the President is doing -- one of
the things he's done is he listened to people on the issue. It is an issue
of enormous passion, as perhaps you've noticed. We have seen this not only
with large demonstrations in the streets, we've also seen it with
Minutemen. This is an issue that has also changed since the year 2000.
What was for many people sort of a passing concern in 2000 is now the number
one concern in the year 2006. It has become a matter of considerable
urgency for a lot of people. It is also a time -- in the year 2000, or
2001, upon taking office -- I don't know whether the President could have
gotten Congress to act then or not. I just don't know. But it is pretty
clear that not only the passions, but the sense of urgency, are considerably
different than they were back then, and therefore, the opportunity to do
things in a comprehensive manner is far greater than it was then.
MR. BARTLETT: I'd also say, at that time, at looking at his background and
history on this issue, when he was governor of Texas and had served in the
governor's office with him at the time, there was an emphasis and a priority
of this President on border security. I remember traveling with him to El
Paso, Texas and witnessing what was called then Operation Hold the Line.
The fact of the matter -- what he'll talk about is a record of
accomplishment. We've had a 66 percent increase on border security funding
during the course of his tenure. Now that reflects a President who
understands that border security is a priority, as well. Obviously, the
temporary worker program has always gotten the most attention because it has
the controversy and politics around it. But border security has been
something that he's been committed to. These additional steps are ones in
which, as Tony described, are ones that are based on where we are in the
debate and listening to people who feel very passionate and very sincere
feelings on border security.
Q Can you break out the numbers with more specificity beyond the $1.9
billion in the Senate sup? Give us -- sort of compartmentalize it, how it's
going to break out dollar-wise.
Q And does the Guard come out of that -- the cost come out of that $1.9
billion, for example?
MR. BARTLETT: Yes.
Q It goes to the states, to pay the Guard?
MS. TOWNSEND: By and large, it's our -- well, many of the details of the
deployment will have to be worked out based on mission assignments. It's
our intention that many of the deployments will be able to be done inside
the two or three weeks of the required annual training. And so that should
not assume additional costs and should be able to be paid for inside the
Do you have a question.
Q A question related to that. Did the 6,000 number come first? Because
it sounds like the mission assignments are all going to be married to the
number you already predetermined. Which came first? The need or the
MS. TOWNSEND: The need. This is -- as Dan noted, this has been an ongoing
concern and gotten ongoing attention from the President. There have been --
there's an ongoing dialogue between DHS and DOD and the precise number and
timing of those deployments will be based on mission assignments and the
requirements. What we're saying is it's up to 6,000 for the first year, and
then we will reduce that overall number over the -- after that.
Q Dan, the President, when it came to No Child Left Behind, ridiculed
people who judged a program by inputs. He said you must judge a program not
by how much money you spend on education, but by what you get out of it.
But you're doing exactly this here. You're saying we're spending more on
Border Patrol, and what people out at the grassroots are asking is, show us
some evidence that what you're doing works. What are you offering as
evidence that what you're doing works?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, he will use a very powerful figure in the speech
tonight. During his presidency, we've denied 6 million people --
apprehended and returned back 6 million people. That is what our efforts
and the increased Border Patrol funding and agents have resulted in. We've
also, as Fran pointed out, cut the time it has taken for us to deport those
who are what's called OTMs, other than Mexicans, that have to go to other
countries. We've cut that administrative time almost in half. So there are
tangible benefits and results based on the investments we've made to date.
The question is, or the point that the President will make is, we can and
must do more; these additional resources and dollars will get additional
results. So it is very similar.
Q But what you're hearing from the grassroots, though, is what you're
talking about is the increase is less than it might have been otherwise.
But people are still seeing a flood. And what you're hearing from a lot of
people and what you see in a lot of in the polling is that people want proof
the border is secure before they want to talk about anything else. Why
can't you make some kind of proposal like that?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think that is the most important point about this
debate, is that the idea that they can all be solved just by putting focus
on the border is something the President takes issue with. He is making the
argument that a temporary worker program is an integral part of solving the
border enforcement issue. The more people you have coming across a bridge,
through a rational system, that we know who is coming across, the less
people that are trying to go over fences or go through the back of an 18
wheeler. It's the very point he's going to make, is that you can't do this
piecemeal. The only way you can rationally solve our border enforcement
problem is to have a rational guest worker program.
Q On the National Guard, did I hear right, they're going to -- each
Guardsman is going to be there for three or four weeks, by training?
MS. TOWNSEND: Their annual training requirement is two to three weeks. And
so what you will do is you will, at any one time -- 6,000 represents about 2
percent of the overall strength of the National Guard. It won't be the same
6,000 people there for 12 months, it -- as I said, it will depend on mission
assignments. But what you will do is, during -- that 6,000, at any one
time, will be comprised of individual Guardsmen doing their annual training
Q They have two weeks -- are they going to have any special training to
do this? I mean, you're going to just -- instead of having their regular
training, you're going to send them to the border, and say, hey, do the
MS. TOWNSEND: I'd like you to focus back on what I said in my initial
comments, and that is, you're not going to have Guardsmen at the border
doing apprehensions, detentions and returns. That's not what they're going
there to do. They will go there based on mission assignments like
intelligence, surveillance, infrastructure building. That will free up
Border Patrol agents, who are the nation's premier experts on apprehensions
and detentions to focus on that work. And so what -- you're playing to
everybody's strength and expertise. It's not as though they're being --
they're being assigned down to the border in the area in which they are
trained and do have expertise.
MR. BARTLETT: I do want to say for the record, of my personal pre-No Child
Left Behind schooling, I said 2 percent to 3 percent this morning on the
morning shows, which generated a much larger number. Math was never my
Q Fran, could you explain how -- did you say that states will be asked to
provide these folks? The states will be sort of sending governors and
receiving governors. How do you pick the sending governors? Do they have
to send them? Are they required to send them? And is this all going to be
paid for through this $1.9 billion? Will states have any additional costs?
MS. TOWNSEND: The National Guard -- the federal government will pay for it,
and they will be Title 32 National Guard troops. It will be an agreement --
the way this is typically handled is between a memorandum of understanding
between the sending governor and the receiving governor. The receiving
governor then has operational control, just as you would imagine,
commander-in-chief within their state.
The sending state retains what we would call administrative control over
them. It's sort of the paperwork end of things. And so we will make these
-- the National Guard Bureau under General Blum has the best view into where
the expertise among the different Guard units are, where their training has
been, and what best Guard -- what Guard units best fit the mission
requirements set by DHS. And so it's coordination among the National Guard,
the governors and the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of
MR. BARTLETT: I would just add -- and I'm not an expert on this, but I play
one -- you would think a default approach also would be as the border state
governors' National Guard units, if they have those capabilities in the
state, we just reimburse New Mexico, Arizona, et cetera. You at first,
obviously, look at the proximity issue. But if it gets to an issue of where
you're looking at needs versus if you have an engineering unit in another
part of the country that can bring to bear resources and expertise, or
expertise on high fencing, or building -- or sensors or something like that,
then you're going to bring them in.
Q What if the governor in a state like that -- if you identify a unit
with the expertise, can the governor say, no, I can't afford to send them?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, we will take the price tag issue off the table for
them, and we're also looking at manpower issue to make sure they'll be able
to reach their core mission of whether it be their contribution to the war
on terror, or preparedness -- or natural disaster preparedness.
Q But can a sending governors say "no"?
MR. BARTLETT: Sure.
MS. TOWNSEND: Yes. This is predicated on the agreement between the sending
and the receiving governor.
Q So they're not being federalized?
MS. TOWNSEND: No, that's correct. They are not being federalized.
MR. SNOW: The governors still serve as commanders-in-chief of their own
Q What if the receiving governor doesn't want them?
MR. SNOW: The receiving governor has to ask for them.
MR. BARTLETT: We're going to coordinate with those governor's offices. I
think many of the concerns we've heard from governors when it comes to
having such an arrangement is the price tag, that they didn't want to incur
those costs at the state level. By the federal government taking that
burden off of them, we believe that they'll be more open to it. But,
obviously, there will be a lot of discussions in the days and weeks ahead to
work out all the details that -- some of the questions you're asking -- with
those respective commanders-in-chiefs of those Guard units.
Q Dan, as the debate began, Harry Reid said the President must denounce
the House bill. Is the President prepared to, or does he resent these sort
of markers being put down?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I think what the President has articulated that
denouncements and finger-pointing and opposition to has not been his
approach on this issue, and if we're going to get something done on this
issue it has to build more from consensus. As we have said all along, our
legislative strategy is to continue to try to move this process forward.
Does that mean that we endorse very crossed T or dotted I either in the
House or the Senate legislation that's now moving? No. But what it does
say is we want this process -- much like on Medicare and other issues -- to
be reconciled in the two chambers so we can get into a conference and try to
work out the differences between the two.
Q Do any of these efforts apply to the Canadian border, or is this
exclusively the Mexican border we're talking about?
MS. TOWNSEND: The focus of the entire initiative has been the Southwest
border, but we remain open, if there are governors interested along the
Northern border -- there's no, by necessity, limitation. And we remain open
and working with those governors.
Q How much out of the federal treasury is going to pay for the 6,000
Guardsmen? You spoke of it coming out of the $1.9 billion -- how much of
that would be Guard?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, there's too many variables at this point. We're
talking to Congress right now and including the appropriators; I think it's
more appropriate for us to allow those briefings to go forward. We'll have
information for you after the President's speech.
MR. KAPLAN: But we do envision the -- it comes out of -- the $1.9 billion
will cover the '06 and '07 costs assumed for the National Guard deployment
-- fiscal year '06 and fiscal year '07 costs.
Q You're talking about providing legal status to most of the 600,000 or
so people who are added to our illegal population every year. Making them
legal, though, does not solve the problems at the local level caused by the
presence of so many people at the bottom rungs of our economy. Schools,
hospitals, neighborhood effect, that sort of thing. Does the President see
a larger federal role in that effort, at least in terms of funding for the
MR. KAPLAN: Well, first of all, for almost all social services that
individuals receive, particularly low-income individuals receive, the
federal government does have a role, and the federal government will
continue to fulfill that role.
MR. BARTLETT: And I'd also argue by having a rational system in place where
people are actually paying taxes into the system and being good citizens
that are contributing to society, just not from their employment, but also
by, like I said, paying taxes, that does ease the burden on local
communities, local hospitals, the schools –
MR. KAPLAN: That's true, as well, with Medicare and Social Security. A lot
of the people you're talking about who will come through a temporary worker
program are younger, able-bodied, working individuals, and that actually
helps relieve some pressure on some of the bigger entitlement programs.
Q What is the $1.9 billion currently allocated for?
MR. KAPLAN: This was an amendment that I think was sponsored by Senator
Gregg, and largely, it goes towards capital assets. It also includes $600
million for the Coast Guard recapitalization. We think, obviously, that
we've got a good approach for how to most effectively spend that money to
secure the border and we're going to be working with Senator Gregg and other
members of Congress as they proceed through conference on the supplemental.
Q Let me ask you something about that, following up on that. You know,
that money, if I remember correctly, was all supposed to be used for things
like UAVs, because the only one that they had crashed two weeks ago. And so
you're going to have a real competition for the same purpose, right? I
mean, have you gotten these appropriators and budget chairmen to agree to
this proposed budget that you have?
MR. KAPLAN: We've had some conversations. That's something that we'll -- I
mean, they're in conference and we'll work with them on it. There is some
overlap and there is -- some of the $1.9 billion that we would propose does
include some capital assets and some tactical infrastructure that will help
leverage these increased manpower assets. But it's something we're going to
work on with the senators and the representatives. And I think at the end
of the day they'll agree that the President puts forward a very effective
approach to maximizing our security on the border.
Q If these National Guard troops aren't involved in apprehension, will
they still be armed?
MS. TOWNSEND: I'm sorry?
Q Will the Guard troops still be armed on the border?
MS. TOWNSEND: The Guard -- again, I come back to, you're not going to see
Guardsmen on the border doing apprehensions. Troops who are deployed will
be armed, as they normally would be, and will have the right of self
defense. But that's not what they're -- if you're on the border, and you're
building tactical infrastructure, they will obviously be armed, and they're
trained to use those arms, but that is -- the purpose of that is not to do
apprehensions and detentions.
Q Why not, because legally they are allowed to, I understand, if they're
under state control, is that right?
MS. TOWNSEND: You're getting into the notion of the National Guardsmen who
got MP training are able -- are not restricted by posse comitatus?
MS. TOWNSEND: Yes. The decision was the best use -- this was based on the
conversations between DHS and DOD, including the Border Patrol -- the best
use of the Guard was to have the Border Patrol focused on apprehensions and
detentions, and have the National Guard bring that expertise that they could
free more Border Patrol agents up to do that.
MR. BARTLETT: And the President says in the speech that we're not
militarizing our border. And that's an important policy point, as well.
MR. SNOW: There's a further point, too, which is if you're trying to do a
long-term solution to this, what you do is you train up people who are going
to do this for a living, rather than National Guardsmen who will be rotating
in and out; therefore you develop a permanent cadre of people whose
full-time job it is to do border enforcement.
Q So I'm trying to get an idea of how limited or extensive this National
Guard deployment will be. Fran, you said up to 6,000 for the first year,
we'll reduce that overall -- the overall numbers after that. So are we
saying two, three years down the road then we will no longer need the
National Guard on the borders? What is the picture of success at the end,
when it comes to just the deployment of the Guard?
MS. TOWNSEND: For planning purposes, what we're looking at is 6,000 in the
-- not more than 6,000 for a year, and then not more than 3,000 for the
second year, for not more than 12 months. That's the second 12 months. The
idea is, by the end of that period of time, you've got the 6,000 additional
Border Patrol agents trained and ready to deploy. And so this is a bridge
strategy, if you will.
Q Two years only?
MS. TOWNSEND: Right. The notion is -- that's right -- is to have a bridge
strategy while you're training up the experts, and the full-time, permanent
cadre who will do the enforcement.
Q Fran, you said all 6,000 would be on their training stints, or just
some portion of it?
MS. TOWNSEND: The hope is that you can do, by and large, it with the
training stints, the annual training obligation of National Guardsmen.
Obviously, depending on what expertise is required, it may not be able to do
the whole thing that way, but that is the planning assumption going in, is
to be able to do most of it that way.
Q But that means you've got people rotating in and out every three weeks.
MR. BARTLETT: Which is something that the Guard does routinely. There's
guys who rotate in and out of doing work in the war on terror overseas for
three weeks. This is a highly-coordinated, synchronized system. That's one
role that the National Guard at the bureau level can help coordinate and
play, to rotate people in and out based on need and based on capability.
MR. KAPLAN: There's also a fairly long-standing practice of doing this on
the Southern border. I think over the last -- I'm not sure how many --
almost 20 years, they've been doing this in counternarcotic enforcement,
working with the Border Patrol. So the Border Patrol is very comfortable
with this, and knows how to deploy the National Guard for these purposes.
Q You're making the argument that you've got 6,000 people rotating every
two or three weeks, trying to accomplish jobs to assist the Border Patrol?
Hello? I mean, can this really work?
MR. BARTLETT: Hello? Yes. (Laughter.) Bill, this is a
highly-sophisticated enterprise, but that's what they deploy themselves to
do. I mean, we do bombing rotations from Missouri all the way to the Middle
East and back. They do have the –
Q For three weeks?
MR. BARTLETT: What?
Q For three weeks?
MR. BARTLETT: They do them on a nightly basis. There is a capacity and a
capability, and really the role -- when you talk about, what's the role of
the federal government when you have various states doing compacts together,
is the Guard, as she said -- that General Blum and those can look at the
national assets and help with the logistics to moving rotations in and out
on a very routine basis. And it's something that they're very good at
Right now, for example, sometimes annual training done by Texas Guard units,
they go to Arkansas, they go to other states. It's something they're
familiar with. Now are we increasing the tempo and the scope of it? Yes,
but it can be done.
Q So you're talking about 100,000 or more individuals who will rotate
through that duty over the course of two years, right?
MS. TOWNSEND: That's right. If you do the math, it works out to be -- if
you look at the total strength of the Guard, which is between 440,000 and
450,000, you figure 6,000 people, which is 2 percent of the Guard. If you
assume nobody winds up there more than once, it could be a maximum of
156,000 Guardsmen rotating through the southwest border assignment during
Q Has any governor said, not our troops?
MS. TOWNSEND: There have been discussions with the states at a staff
level. We're going to have to work with -- and we look forward to working
with the governors to make sure that we understand what their needs are –
Q But there have been some objections from governors?
MS. TOWNSEND: No, I didn't say that there have been objections; I'm not
aware of them. There have been discussions at a staff level.
MR. KAPLAN: I think people, generally, without knowledge of the facts, have
raised concerns about manpower strengths. And I think as we walk them
through how these -- how the objectives can be met without straining their
capacity to respond to natural disasters and things like that, we believe
most governors will be reassured by that.
Q You said the President supports this, sort of, notion that an illegal
immigrant who has been here five years should be treated differently than an
illegal immigrant who has been here one year. Can you talk about the
philosophical underpinnings of basically saying, I stole your car five years
ago, but I haven't gotten a speeding ticket since, and I should be treated
differently than if I stole it six months ago?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, I don't know where you got five years, but I –
Q The Senate has talked about that, if you –
MR. BARTLETT: They talked –
Q Five years, but he said the longer that someone has been here –
MR. KAPLAN: I assume that the rational middle ground should recognize that
there are differences between someone who has been here recently and someone
who has been here a long time and who has built a home and a family and has
contributed to our society.
MR. SNOW: Let's get to your analogy for a moment, because you said I stole
your car five years ago and I did now. You know, this program, number one,
the President says there's not going to be amnesty. In other words, for
those who have come here illegally, you're going to find you've got some tax
obligations, you've got to keep your nose clean, you've got to keep
working. It is not simply -- you know, amnesty means, hey, all is forgiven,
go about -- go at it as you were.
You've got at least four separate requirements here, and one can say that
there is a difference between somebody who has held a job, paid taxes,
obeyed the law, contributed to Social Security, and done those for an
extended period of time as opposed to somebody who came over two weeks ago.
But where you draw the lines, we will -- that's an issue to be decided. But
the point is, I think one can make the argument to somebody who has stayed
here -- to use a Clintonian phrase -- has worked hard and played by the
rules, that is something where people say to themselves, okay, there may be
Q But you said it's not amnesty. If it's not amnesty -- they have to
have not done anything illegal, but it is amnesty for the fact they did
something illegal –
MR. SNOW: It's a funny kind of amnesty where this is a misdemeanor. This
is a misdemeanor where you can get a stiff fine, where you're going to pay
taxes, where you're going to go to the back of the line if you want to
become a citizen. If you break the law, you're out. You've got to hold a
job continuously. That is probably stiffer than any similar set of
circumstances one can think of.
Amnesty -- 1986, or whatever -- amnesty is, we forget about it, everybody
stay. We'll start all over.
Q But didn't they break the law by coming here?
MR. KAPLAN: And they'll pay their obligation to society.
MR. SNOW: Yes, you pay a fine for breaking the law.
Q You all are making this argument, but as you know there's a good many
Republicans who are saying -- who take the argument, but say it's still a
question of how long ago did you break the law to come into this country.
So I understand the argument you're making, but you're up against --
particularly House Republicans -- who are saying, sorry, no deal here, this
is a non-starter. So how do you overcome that? I know the argument.
MR. SNOW: Well, the political process is going to have to work its way
out. But I think what the President is trying to do is to insert a little
bit of precision in the use of the term amnesty. There is a significant
difference. We've already pointed out the benchmarks that people are going
to have to surmount if they want to become eligible to be citizens. I mean,
this gives them an opportunity to stand in line for, what, a dozen years.
Q Can you be specific about what fine, how long, how many guest workers?
MR. SNOW: No.
MR. BARTLETT: That's part of the negotiations –
Q None of that is going to be laid out tonight?
MR. BARTLETT: The specific level of fines? No.
Q After all, we all have had -- I think every newspaper in this country
has had a letter to the editor from someone who said, it's laughable when
you talk about $1,000 or $2,000 fine. I paid more than that to come here
illegally. Where do I go to get a refund?
MR. BARTLETT: But see, you're also suggesting that that fine is going to
pay for citizenship, which is not the case. In fact, they have to go
through all of the rigamarole that somebody who did it through the legal
process, they're going to have to do that. They don't jump to the front of
the line. They don't get special privileges because they paid a fine.
That's just to get clean. That's just to get good.
Then they have to step to the back of the line and meet all the requirements
for a green card, for citizenship. They're not getting any sort of
preferential treatment. In fact, not only do they go to the back of the
line, they go to the back of the line with additional penalties in back --
in the taxes, in the fines. And those type of specific elements of how much
those fines would be are a part of the negotiation during a conference.
Q Do they have to leave the country?
Q -- penalties are not rough. Why draw a line, then? If it's that
tough, shouldn't that be tough enough for those people who have been here
less than two years, as well?
MR. BARTLETT: That the –
Q If what you're saying is true, that this is not amnesty that you're
doing for those who have been here -- Hagel-Martinez bill, those who've been
here five years or two years, depending on which of those categories -- if
that's true that that's not amnesty and those penalties are pretty tough on
those folks, why draw the line at all? Why not anybody who's here illegally
pays those tough –
MR. BARTLETT: There are other requirements we're talking about, what Tony
also talked about would be contributing to society, has a job, has those
things, has children that are in school here who are probably legal
themselves. There's other mitigating factors in addition to that, which you
wouldn't find in somebody who had just gotten here in the last six months or
so, and somebody who has deep roots here and has been here for 15, 20 years.
Q Just to follow up on the northern border, what, in the speech or in
this plan about the Canada-U.S. border?
MR. BARTLETT: This is specific to the southern border, and that's -- this
speech will be exclusive to that.
Q -- National Guard troops, would they go regardless of what happens with
the immigration bill on the Hill? Other than the supplemental -- obviously,
you need the money -- but does he need any congressional authority for this?
MR. BARTLETT: No.
Q So this is going ahead regardless of what happens with the guest worker
MS. TOWNSEND: It's the agreement between the governors.
Q What does it mean to end catch and release? What do you do with these
people once they're going to be detained in these additional beds? Do you
prosecute them? Do you find some other way to deal with them?
MS. TOWNSEND: It depends on the circumstances. I can't answer that as a
general matter. You either prosecute them or you return them. We put
pressure on countries like China and India to accept back their citizens who
have entered here illegally.
Q Can you talk about these Mexicans –
MR. BARTLETT: There are some factors that also have -- there are some legal
treaty obligations -- El Salvador, some other things, that have to be --
that's what we're talking about, congressional authority. You have -- there
is still a logistical problem of -- it's just -- instead of somebody kind of
bused across back, you've got to put them on planes and do that. So that's
why it takes so long to deal with them. But if there's -- there are crimes
committed, and things like that, it obviously will be –
Q The ones that are being processing in 24-hours now, that come over the
border from Mexico, that you were talking about before, what's going to
happen instead of being brought back within 24-hours?
MR. KAPLAN: Catch and release doesn't refer to Mexicans, it refers to other
Q Okay, so does it change what happens to the people from Mexico?
MR. BARTLETT: No. We're moving them -- taking them back on an average in
Q So that continues?
MS. TOWNSEND: Yes.
MR. BARTLETT: Hopefully.
Q The Heritage Foundation analyzed the bill that's on the Senate floor
and came up with a statistic that in the next 20 years, you're talking about
100 million illegal immigrants coming into the United States, which would
have a profound challenge to assimilation and really change the culture of
this country. And I was wondering if the White House has a position as to,
you know, what is the ballpark of how many legal immigrants we should be
accepting in the next 20 years, 10 years, five years?
MR. KAPLAN: How many legal immigrants?
MR. KAPLAN: I think that that's also something that needs to be worked out
in the context of the conference between the House and Senate, where I think
the idea is to let the Senate act. Obviously, they've got some numbers in
their bill, but that will be something that we'll want to engage in when it
gets into the conference situation.
The Heritage Report, I have not read it. First of all, it's analyzing a
bill that's on the Senate floor, which we're not -- we're talking about
getting into conference and negotiating a bill, so I'm not sure whether the
Senate bill is the right benchmark.
I understand there may be some double counting going on in the analysis in
that bill -- excuse me, in that report from Heritage, but again, I have not
MR. SNOW: We've got some people looking through –
MR. KAPLAN: We've got people looking at it, but it's -- but at the end of
the day, you also have to look at the points that Dan made earlier on a
similar question, is that these are people who will be paying taxes and
contributing as workers in our society, and we'll also be mitigating some of
the drains on Social Security and Medicare because they'll be paying in as
MR. SNOW: Okay, I want to do two more people we haven't heard from.
Q Children of guest workers born in the U.S., are they automatic
MR. BARTLETT: -- get back –
Q It's in the Constitution. They haven't got a choice, it's in the
Q This won't affect at all?