Thursday, October 26, 2006

700 Miles Of Fence To Go Up - Finally!

President Bush signs the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House yesterday. Image Credit: Associated Press

700 Miles Of Fence To Go Up - Finally!

His heart really isn't in it.

He signed the bill in the "Rose Garden" and not along the border in Arizona, or California.

I guess the administration didn't want the back of the photoshot with the President signing the bill to be filled with people making their way toward Tucson, or Anaheim!

Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! News -

Bush signs U.S.-Mexico border fence bill
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer (Associated Press Writer Suzanne Gamboa contributed)

WASHINGTON - President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they're tough on illegal immigration.

"Unfortunately the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades and therefore illegal immigration has been on the rise," Bush said at a signing ceremony.

"We have a responsibility to enforce our laws," he said. "We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility serious."

He called the fence bill "an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our borders."

The centerpiece of Bush's immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.


Still, Bush argues that it would be easier to get his guest worker program passed if Republicans keep their majorities in the House and Senate after the Nov. 7 elections. His proposal would allow legal employment for foreigners and give some of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a shot at becoming American citizens.
Mexican officials have criticized the fence. Outgoing Mexican President
Vicente Fox, who has spent much of his six years in office lobbying for a new guest worker program and a chance at citizenship for the millions of Mexicans working illegally in the U.S., calls the fence "shameful" and compares it to the Berlin Wall.

Others have doubts about its effectiveness.

"A fence will slow people down by a minute or two, but if you don't have the agents to stop them it does no good. We're not talking about some impenetrable barrier," T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, said Wednesday.

Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, both Texas Republicans, had wanted to amend the fence bill to give local governments more say about where fencing is erected. They lost that battle, but Republican leaders assured them the Homeland Security Department would have flexibility to choose other options instead of fencing, if needed.

President Bush speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006. Image Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.

"The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?" Cornyn said. "I think that's how the vote was viewed."

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