On October 26, 2006, President Bush signed a bill authorizing the construction of a 700-mile long fence separating the United States from Mexico.
At the time, Bush said:
|Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and, therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise... We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously.|
Just a few days after the signing of the bill, DHS refused to commit to a timetable for fence construction.
And loopholes in the legislative process left the administration with leeway as to when, where and how long a fence would be created. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff reportedly set a goal of two or three years for construction, but only "after completion of an immigration overhaul."
Construction of the fence, as mandated in the bill, was not contingent upon any such overhaul. So is it any wonder that the new, monstrously complex immigration bill -- a document that makes War and Peace look readable -- can't get traction?
How's that 700 miles of fence coming? And why would we believe border security will be taken seriously this time?
The net result of this disconnect is that even staunch Republicans have abandoned the President for deserting his conservative base. The Bush approval-o-meter stands at below 30 percent (and that's still above the Democrat-controlled Congress).
Here's my stab at a bumper sticker. Feel free to email it to your Representative in Congress.
Build the fence that was signed into law. Then we'll talk immigration reform.