WSJ: How concerned are you about the issue of immigration dividing the Republican Party?Do I need to add that calling someone "anti-people" or similar is something that I've only seen those on the far-left do? If he really means this, does he not have the brain power to see how to both oppose illegal immigration and not be "anti-anybody"? Does he not realize he's playing by the far-left's rules and on their field when he puts things in such terms? Does he think anyone in the world can just come here? Is he completely nuts? (Don't answer the last one.)
GWB: Getting hammered is what happens when you take tough, principled positions. I don't want our party to be viewed as anti-anybody. If you get labeled as anti-people, you can't win elections. I believe the philosophy of our party is the most hopeful philosophy. It says to any person from any country: 'You have a chance to succeed.' It relies upon individuals. It empowers individuals to be able to realize their potential, as opposed to saying the government is going to do it for you. I know that sounds trite, but that's how I view the difference of philosophy.
I hope I can get a bill through the Congress so that the issue is dealt with in a rational way, before the [presidential] election process [begins].Our laws say they should be "kicked out". If Bush says they can't be "kicked out", then he's admitting that the U.S. has been invaded and settled on his watch and he's refusing to do anything about it. If all we knew about him was that statement and none other, we could say that he's clearly extremely incompetent, he's extremely unable to do his sworn duties, and he might be considered a Quisling.
WSJ: Do you think that will be easier with a Democratic Congress?
GWB: I think it's going to be hard either way. I think it's going to be [a] hard bill to get through. And I'll tell you why. The ultimate question is what happens to 12 million people who are here. My view is that you can't kick them out, nor should you grant them automatic citizenship. And so there's got to be rational middle way.
WSJ: What is it about this issue that causes so many conservatives to abandon their free-market principles? Raiding businesses, becoming protectionists, etc.?Wanting to enforce our laws or wanting to establish a moratorium on immigration is not "nativistic" per se. Claiming it is is a construct of the far-left.
GWB: I think raiding a business is more about enforcing the law. And conservatives tend to want to enforce the law. . . . This is an emotional issue. It's interesting. There have been periods in our history where nativism has had a strong appeal. Sometimes nativism, isolationism and protectionism all run hand in hand. We've got to be careful about that in the United States. The 1920s was a period of high tariff, high tax, no immigration. And the lesson of the 1920s ought to be a reminder of what is possible for future presidents.
I'm going to work hard on this. I feel strongly about the issue. I gave a speech from the Oval Office on the issue. And I hope we can get something done. But it's going to be hard.It's not nap time yet, George, just hold on for one more paragraph.
This is an issue where you can distort words and label things. Amnesty. That's all you've got to say. He's for amnesty. Whether it's amnesty or not. So it's a tough debate for us all. We'll see how it goes.What he and the Democrats are proposing will be perceived by millions and millions of prospective illegal aliens around the world as an amnesty. He can call it "strawberries" if he wants, but what matters is how it will be perceived. That perception will result in millions of people coming here illegally in the hopes of receiving the next amnesty.
Immigration2007a · Thu, 02/01/2007 - 09:49 · Importance: 1