BTS 5/15/06: Immigration - Reaction and Analysis to Bush’s Speech

Listen: George W. Bush Speech on Immigration - Antonio Gonzalez - Elsa Martinez - Gustavo Arellano - David Brooks

President Bush’s 20 minute speech on immigration tonight sought to satisfy his base, the right wing of the Republican Party who want to curb ‘illegal immigration’ -- without alienating those who support his plan to create a guest-worker program.

With his ratings at an all time low, Bush faces a breach in his party over what to do about the 11-12 million undocumented workers in the US – and predictably he concentrated on border enforcement, promising 5000 more border guards, activating the National Guard on the border, building high tech fences in urban areas and using motion detector technology in rural areas. There is nothing planned for the Canadian border – nor will the National Guard do anything to apprehend people crossing on the Southern one. Bush has asked for comprehensive immigration reform, but he needs to placate his base, who just want to get tough. The speech had more to do with the November elections than it did with actual border policy – but he did mandate the Senate to come up with a bill by the end of the month.

To understand the political dynamics of Bush’s speech, we’ll go beneath the surface with Antonio Gonzalez, Elsa Martinez, Gustavo Arellano and David Brooks.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Antonio Gonzalez is the President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) & William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), host of KPFK’s Strategy Session, heard Monday’s at 8pm; and just last year was named by Time Magazine one of America’s twenty most influential Hispanics.

2. Elsa Martinez is a former INS Prosecutor and founder of the Law Offices of Martinez Goldsby & Associates, which concentrates exclusively in the field of U.S. immigration and criminal law, as it effects criminal aliens. With vast experience in all aspects of immigration and nationality law, her firm offers its clients years of "insider" experience dealing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

3. Gustavo Arellano is a staff writer with OC Weekly, where he writes the "¡Ask a Mexican!" column.

4. David Brooks is the Washington Correspondent for La Jornada, the leading progressive daily newspaper in Mexico.