My lovely wife, who is a legal immigrant from Japan, is a fan of President Bush but bristled at the line in his speech tonight about “jobs Americans aren’t doing.” It’s probably the worst single line in widespread political use today. Its one benefit may be that it’s ecumenical in its offensiveness–everyone outside the political class can find some reason to find it grating. To a legal immigrant, that line is offensive because it makes it sound as though Americans are somehow innately superior and should’t have to work. It comes across as condescending and racist at the same time. To American citizens, the line is offensive because it gives the impression that Americans are lazy and no longer capable of hard work. Do the politicians from Bush on down realize that that one single line slaps everyone outside the Beltway in the face? Do they care?

Our political class has lost touch on the immigration issue. The president is supporting the Senate immigration bill that may be the worst single bill in American history. The Heritage Foundation estimates that if passed as is, the Hagel-Martinez bill could invite in as many as 200,000,000 legal immigrants in the next 20 years through amnesty and family chain migration, while doing nothing at all to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.

The impact of 200,000,000 immigrants in 20 years’ time is mind-boggling. No country on earth could remain the same country after taking in so many immigrants so fast.

The president had the chance to show some leadership on the illegal immigration issue tonight, but in my opinion he failed. His prescriptions to shore up the border are weak in the short term and in the long term, just take too long before they’re effective. Terrorists could slip across that border tonight. The president and his team have had five years to do something about that, and they have stubbornly refused.

Tonight’s speech was a wasted opportunity to regain any of the stature he once had, and probably the last one he will get during his time in office. It’s a shame. He is a good man. He is just dreadfully wrong on this issue.

Confederate Yankee sums up the president’s speech in one sentence: He’s “The Divider.” I think I disagree. Presidente Arbusto has united the country around one thing: Roughly 71% of Americans are united in strongly disapproving of at least one of his policies.

Tags: immigration