Saturday, June 9, 2007

Chertoff speaks

I was listening to NPR last night (June 8th) and Robert Siegel interviewed Michael Chertoff. Chertoff has been up on Capitol Hill representing Bush in talks with the Senate on the immigration reform bill.

Now, George’s first choice was Alberto “I don’t recall” Gonzalez, our embattled Attorney General. It seems Al’s relationship with Congress is a little strained these days, primarily because of his amnesia. So Mike Chertoff drew the short straw.

His day job is Secretary of Homeland Security. He is the cabinet member who oversees the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FEMA, The Coast Guard, The Secret Service, Customs, Sky Marshals (TSA), and Citizenship and Immigration Services. In other words, anyone coming into this country has to stop for a Chertoff employee.

Mike was appointed in February of 2005. He was an appellate court judge and (surprise) was once a DOJ lawyer.

So, here’s what he said in the interview regarding the guest worker program: “Well, I do think that the five year sunset is kind of a self-defeating notion because it creates a temporary worker provision which is critical to meet our economic needs and it is also one of the principle ways in which we reduce illegal immigration. But then it sets a five year termination date which, of course is a little bit inconsistent.”

Here is the one man in charge of guarding our borders against intruders and he says that the guest worker program is a principle way to reduce illegal immigration. Does anyone else see a white flag waving? He wants to allow 400,000 people to come here each year legally because it is too hard to keep them out. If the law is so hard to enforce, let’s just change the law.

Here are a couple more gems from Mr. Chertoff:
“I’ll give you a very vivid picture of what will happen if we don’t have a bill. We will stay in the current situation. Obviously we will continue to enforce the law as vigorously as we have been doing. That leads to some unhappy situations when people who have been in this country who have children who are American citizens, get arrested and deported. But that’s what the law requires and we’re going to enforce it. You’re also going to see an increasing number of localities passing their own individual immigration bills. They’re going to be everywhere from ordinances that create sanctuary cities to ordinances in cities that say it’s illegal to rent to undocumented workers. And that means that businesses are going to be faced with hundreds of inconsistent requirements. There’s going to be a lot of confusion. There’s going to be a lot of difficulty as we continue to work without a legitimate temporary worker program. Crops will rot in the field. Fruit will not be picked. Some of those farmers will finally decide they want to move their farms South of the border or North of the border into Canada so they can get the workers. I don’t see any outcome in the status quo that is a good outcome.”

Does that kind of talk make you nervous? It does me. How do you move a farm, Mike?

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