Bill O'Reilly asks some semi-tough questions
Bill O'Reilly interviewed President Bush, and the first part of the interview was broadcast on Monday. I didn't see it, but a transcript is here. I couldn't find an official transcript, but since that agrees with the quote printed in Bush: Militarizing Border Won't Stop Illegal Deluge (link). I'm going to assume it's largely accurate.
O'Reilly brings up the recent Time Magazine cover story Who Left the Door Open? (link) where it's revealed that up to three million illegal aliens will cross our borders this year.
Many of O'Reilly's viewers will have read that Time Magazine cover story, and many are also readers of the Washington Times and World Net Daily, two sources that frequently provide clear-headed discussion of immigration matters.
Many of O'Reilly's viewers will be aware that workplace enforcement is a tried-and-true method to stop illegal immigration, and that there's been almost no workplace enforcement for the last several years. For instance, in 2002 just 13 companies were fined for immigration violations in the whole U.S., and in the first five months of this year just one company was fined.
With that in mind, O'Reilly allows Bush to give the impression that the only real way to prevent illegal immigration is at the border. That's certainly a necessary part of stopping illegal immigration, but so is workplace enforcement and stopping incentives such as the acceptance of Mexican ID cards. *
While O'Reilly does raise the topic of illegal immigration, he didn't ask the tough questions that would have brought all the facts of this matter into sharp focus. For that, we'll have to wait for the debates or a better interviewer. Or, we might be waiting for a long time.
In the interview, Bush attempts to excuse illegal immigration, falling back on platitudes and compassion and sounding uncomfortably like an AILA advocate: "Now look. People are comin' 'cause they wanna work ya' know. Family values don't stop at the border... If you can make fifty cents in the interior of Mexico and five dollars in the interior of the United States, you're comin' for the five bucks and, therefore ... and so long as moms and dads feel the necessity to feed their children, they're gonna come and try to make a livin'."
Bush goes on to state that he won't be placing the military on the border and he discusses free trade and his egregiously bad "guest worker" plan. For more on that plan, see Analysis: Bush temp worker plan open-ended (link) and Bush "guest worker" program to be "open to any type of employee". From the first link, we learn that the only wage-related restriction on the plan would be the minimum wage, and from the second we learn that the program would be open to "nurses, teachers, high-tech workers" and others. Combining those two facts results in the disastrous scenario I outlined in my third comment at reason . com/hitandrun/2004/09/new_at_reason_175.shtml. Maybe one of these days someone somewhere will ask Bush about that plan or about our lack of workplace enforcement, but apparently O'Reilly won't be that person.
UPDATE: I listened to the section of the O'Reilly interview that deals with immigration and border control, and the transcript at the first link is almost exactly correct except for two insignificant changes that almost don't bear noting but just for completeness:
"cause they wanna work ya know. Family values"
"cause they wanna work... ya know, family values"
"five dollars in the interior"
"five bucks in the interior"
This was previously cross-posted at redstate . org/story/2004/9/28/115557/290
* Link was originally to redstate . org/story/2004/9/19/225351/640