State of Disunion

In his State of the Union address, President Bush said that he wants to resolve the nation's immigration woes without animosity and without amnesty. But for the millions of undocumented people in this country hoping for amnesty, there's bound to be plenty of animosity if they don't get their wish.

Bush dedicated less than two minutes of his speech to immigration, but in those two minutes he spelled out a dream resolution: He said the border needs to be secured, but that no amount of technology will secure it without a viable guest-worker program to match low-paying jobs with migrant labor, thereby easing the Border Patrol's burden of stopping every would-be tomato-picker when they could instead concentrate their efforts on drug smugglers and terrorists. (In this, he sounded a lot like Colorado's Helen Krieble, profiled here.)

Bush also said that he wants worksite enforcement of immigration laws, but that employers need the tools to verify an employee's legal status. He asked Congress for a serious, civil and conclusive debate in order to pass and sign comprehensive immigration-reform legislation.

It's the same request he presented to Congress when his own party was in control and he delivered a speech from the Oval Office specifically aimed at addressing the immigration problem. And Congress did exactly zero on the immigration front after that -- although it did manage to stir up a lot of animosity that remains today.

Both Republicans and Democrats stood to applaud after the two minutes on immigration were up. It may be the only time they work together on the issue. -- Luke Turf

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun