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Full Text, Bush Speech.
Instapundit ^ | May 15, 2006 | GWB

Posted on 05/15/2006 5:14:48 PM PDT by Leisler

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, here's the full text of Bush's speech. Click "read more" to see it.

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Embargoed Until Delivery

At 8:01:30 P.M. EDT

Monday, May 15, 2006


As Prepared for Delivery

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 illegally.

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 of America.

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 good night.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: aliens; bush; bushtruth; enforcement; guestworker; presidentialaddress; transcript
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To: SerpentDove

It's an election year, if I remember my American politics correctly.

141 posted on 05/15/2006 6:29:40 PM PDT by londonboy (COME ON ENGLAND!!!)
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To: bondjamesbond

Good post. The problem with immigration has been going on for twenty years, but most of the posters on this thread belong to a group who would fit in better with the DU. Calling themselves conservatives is a farce. "Blame Bush" is their slogan and mantra and they are no better than any liberal spouting their hatred for President Bush.

142 posted on 05/15/2006 6:29:46 PM PDT by RetSignman
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To: Leisler
we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one Nation out of many peoples.

The vast majority of those "many peoples" where white. White majority melting pots have worked before but other kinds don't have such a great track record. I've never had it explained to me why we're supposed to allow the US to become a white minority country. White guilt?

An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together –

Why can't they be addressed separately?

143 posted on 05/15/2006 6:33:08 PM PDT by Jim_Curtis
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To: RetSignman
Bush has had five years to sseriously work on border security and it is part and parcel of national security.

Five years,not five days or five weeks or even months.

144 posted on 05/15/2006 6:35:09 PM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a creditcard?)
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To: RetSignman

Do you really think the President's speech appeals to conservatives? Or do you think "conservatism" means supporting whatever the President says and does, a la Harriet Myers?

145 posted on 05/15/2006 6:35:20 PM PDT by Pyncho (Success through excess)
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To: VOA; All

If the Republicans in Congress will find, rent, steal a spine and come out hard against illegals demanding deportation, and demanding the border being secured they would find that the strong vocal support by 3 out of 5 Americans would easily drown out the frothing liberal minority calling the racists. But many pubs are so scared of being called racists that don't seem to understand that most Americans are sick of the border pharce and want it to be dealt with, and will support them strongly if they will just do so. Most Americans know good and well that being anti-illegal immigrant isn't even close to being racist. That's just the typical accusation from liberals to any Conservative deciding to make tough decisions, the liberals of course being the real racists.

146 posted on 05/15/2006 6:35:43 PM PDT by TexasPatriot8 (Vote Republican. A conservative America, for a better future.)
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Outside of a few good judges,

The jury is still out ...

our quick elimination of the Taliban,

And its replacement by a ... slightly ... less radical Islamic Republic, which still believes that death is appropriate for someone who converts from islam to Christianity ...

147 posted on 05/15/2006 6:37:07 PM PDT by Celtman (It's never right to do wrong to do right.)
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To: Leisler

I watched the lady that is the head of LaRaza on Lou Dobbs before the President's speech. I honestly couldn't tell much difference between her rhetoric and the President's. So sad.

148 posted on 05/15/2006 6:41:04 PM PDT by sheana
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To: londonboy

Well, we are not a Parlimentary system (thank God!). If we were Bush might very well have been removed by now in a no confidence vote.

It's not the job of Republicans to take whatever the party leaders decide to do and support it. It is their job to listen to the voters in the party or suffer the consequenses. Most of us at this site Americans first, conservatives second and Republicans third. There is nothing American or conservative in flooding the country with 100 million illegals.

149 posted on 05/15/2006 6:41:07 PM PDT by Hugin
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To: RetSignman
but most of the posters on this thread belong to a group who would fit in better with the DU.

Bladerdash.  I am a conservative.  George W. Bush is not.  Those who believe that a free spending globalist (who proclaims himself a democrat frequently) is any kind of conservative are living in a dream world.

150 posted on 05/15/2006 6:42:02 PM PDT by Celtman (It's never right to do wrong to do right.)
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To: theDentist

We have had a guest worker program before- the bracero program. It worked. Workers went back. That is because the employers who bring them in are financially responsible that they go back.

151 posted on 05/15/2006 6:43:28 PM PDT by kenavi ("You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes." Rambam)
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To: RetSignman

There you go.

Ignore the facts, don't contribute anything of any intellectual weight, and just lash out at other FReepers.

That is verrrrry persuasive.


152 posted on 05/15/2006 6:44:11 PM PDT by SerpentDove (We will not stand by and allow politicians to destroy our country through open borders.)
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To: Leisler; All

Same old tired bullsh*t

Blah blah blah . . . we increased funding by 60% . . . blah blah blah . . . in 2008 we may add a few more border patrol . . . . yada yada yada...some ole shit

I won't send another dime to any Republican candidate! All my contributions will go to

I will also stay home in November. I am extremely disappointed. Shocked. Turly shocked.

153 posted on 05/15/2006 6:45:57 PM PDT by soccer_maniac (Do some good while browsing FR --> Join our Folding@Home Team# 36120: keyword: folding@home)
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To: teg_76

I have to disagree with your non-voting stance on this. I agree 100% that anything short of a secure border, a wall, and immediate deportation for ALL illegals, is not enough, but not voting is just guaranteeing the democrats get control. And while many pubs are bad on border security, the democrats that WILL take their place if there is low Republican voter turnout are WORSE. While gutless Republicans don't do enough in Congress to secure the border like 3 out of 5 American CITIZENS want done, the democrats that will take over if Conservative voters don't vote because of apathy, will criminalize brave hero groups like the Minutemen and give us nothing but all impeachment investigations all the time. You seriously better rethink your no-vote thing if you don't get your way exactly. That's exactly what the liberals want conservative voters to do. Why would you want to nuke the country politically and give control to the libs because you don't vote? A weak Republican is still better than a frothing democrat throwing the race card, raising taxes, apologizing to terrorists, and criminalizing the Minutemen.

154 posted on 05/15/2006 6:46:14 PM PDT by TexasPatriot8 (Vote Republican. A conservative America, for a better future.)
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To: Robert Teesdale

Haven't heard from that lardass in quite a while.

155 posted on 05/15/2006 6:48:00 PM PDT by satchmodog9 (Most people stand on the tracks and never even hear the train coming)
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To: I'll be your Huckleberry

I hate Houston. Couldn't get out quick enough. It isn't even like being in Texas being in Houston. But most of what Bush said is what most Americans have been wanting to hear for a long time. If he does what he said in that speech, and there's no reason to think he won't, his numbers will go up. The reason they've been under 50% is because many conservatives are p.o.'d that he doesn't show any kind of spine when it comes to the border, and engaging the liberals with some teeth.

156 posted on 05/15/2006 6:50:46 PM PDT by TexasPatriot8 (Vote Republican. A conservative America, for a better future.)
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To: Paladin2

I agree totally. Personally, if it was me, I'd use multiple Army divisions from all 48 states being redeployed to the border in rotation, and Air Force and Naval air patrols on the border. But 6,000 is better than none, and frankly, with how many awesome Americans have taken this into their own hands to patrol the borders like the Minutemen. If I was Bush I'd of gone a lot further, but I'm not so oh well. Most of what he's said is whst most conservatives have wanted for a long long time. I will be surprised if Limbaugh and Hannity, which represent the overwhelming majority of conservative voters, don't praise this speech as being long past due. Possibly not going far enough, but a LOT better than what's currently being doen, which is NOTHING.

157 posted on 05/15/2006 6:55:04 PM PDT by TexasPatriot8 (Vote Republican. A conservative America, for a better future.)
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To: rmlew

Hon, I've read it and it's a better plan than any president has ever come up with in our lifetimes.

158 posted on 05/15/2006 6:56:00 PM PDT by Peach
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To: Leisler

>>We are a Nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws.<<

It's only 2006, Mr. President. You were elected in 2000. What's the big hurry?

>>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.<<

Again, Mr. President, it is 2006. You were elected in 2000, and again in 2004.

Nearly 3000 Americans were murdered almost 5 years ago.

Why are you suddenly saying it is "urgent" to secure the borders?

I am reasonably certain it is because the backroom deal you made with Vicente Fox is threatened by the American Voter.

We are putting pressure on Congress, and it is having an effect.

You had no intention of being bothered with what the American Voter had to say. You were going to ram this down our throats, like it or not. But the whole thing is heating up and backfiring, isn't it?

159 posted on 05/15/2006 6:56:16 PM PDT by SerpentDove (We will not stand by and allow politicians to destroy our country through open borders.)
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To: Thunder90
Now, now that isn't true b/c after they bring all the poor and criminals here then the Dems will want to make things "fair".....they won't be happy until they drag every one of us into the poverty hellhole of socialism; you know so everyone will be "equal"
160 posted on 05/15/2006 6:56:16 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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