As I posted earlier, Rush’s interview with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was something that made me “Proud to be a Conservative. After reading the transcript of the interview, I’m even more proud. Here’s the first of a couple of the more contentious exchanges:
RUSH: But, you know, I’ve always fantasized about having your job for one day, and I generally have this fantasy after watching David Gregory and the “zoo” that you referred to earlier, that was really hit a peak with poor old Scott McClellan. But I don’t think I would want it right now, because I would have a tough time doing your job. I know you’re speaking to the press, but I don’t understand the disconnect that exists between Washington and constituents. It’s a bigger disconnect than I’ve seen in 18 years: illegal immigration, the reaction of the House leadership to the William Jefferson search, office search. Everybody in Washington seems tone deaf on immigration to what the American people want and say, and it defies logic, and I don’t know how you explain it to people.
SNOW: Well, I mean, for instance, the issue came up today, and you and I probably disagree at least in part on this, but my view is the president’s right, and I’m not just saying this; I said it while I was running a radio show, that if you’re going to deal with this problem, you gotta deal with everything at once, and here’s the reason why. I think border security is something that’s going to take a couple of years to get right. So already, by the way, the president is going to start moving assets first week of June. He’s not going to need a special bill from Congress, and that’s the good news. But the fact is it’s going to take a couple of years to get every
I’ve agreed with that from the beginning. If you don’t deal with all of that on a legislative level from the start, then there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to come back later and fix this or that thing. If the wall is built but we still have catch-and-release and we don’t beef up the internal security measures like the biometric card that employers have to check, then there will be gaps in our security.
Putting the biometric cards into the legislation while beefing up the catch-and-return operations seems like the logical thing to do.
RUSH: You’re talking about the wall?
SNOW: I’m talking about the wall; I’m talking about electronic surveillance; I’m talking about getting Border Patrol agents trained up, because at different places you’re going to need different stuff. In some places you need a wall. In some places you need agents, and in some places where you’ve only got, you know, 200 miles of Sonoran desert and mountains, you probably need sensors and surveillance. You put in place what’s necessary to make that part of the border secure. So it takes a while to do it. Now, I don’t think anybody wants to sit around and wait to go after employers who are hiring people illegally and know it. You want to go after them right away, and I don’t think people want to wait to figure out who the illegals are. You want to find out that is rapidly as possible, and I, frankly, don’t think people want to wait to start figuring out what we do with the 11 or 12 million illegals, and that’s really what the president… It’s interesting. I’ve heard… Every conservative I talked to on Capitol Hill says, “We want to do that stuff, but we want to do it later.” My answer is, “Why? Don’t you want to go after employers now and don’t you want to figure out who the illegals are now and don’t you want to start solving this mess now?”
RUSH: But the Senate bill doesn’t do any of this though!
SNOW: Well, sure it does. What the president’s proposing does. I mean, you take a look, for instance, at the issue of illegals. You get these tamper-proof IDs with biometric stuff. You can’t fake that. Now, once you have that in place, employers no longer can say, “Man, I don’t know. That birth certificate looked okay to me, and that fake driver’s license, I thought it was legitimate.” Suddenly you’ve got something you can’t fake.
Why on earth wouldn’t we want to start cleaning up all phases of this problem ASAP? After all, punishing employers who willfully hire illegal aliens isn’t something that conservatives should tolerate any more than we should tolerate illegals crossing the border. I agree with King from SCSU Scholars. Putting that card in place is essential to improving internal security.
RUSH: Why should we believe there’s going to be enforcement now when there hasn’t been since ’86, there hasn’t been in Simpson-Mazzoli?
SNOW: Well, a couple of reasons.
RUSH: Because the enforcement appears to be voluntary on the illegals. They’ve got to show up to pay the fine. They’ve got to show and up go to the back of the line. They’ve got to show up and do this. Now they’ve got to show up and get this card, this ID card. What’s the incentive for them?
SNOW: There are several reasons. First, on the ID card, again, you get the discipline from the employer side. The employer doesn’t have it, and they’re doing it, and you and I have seen places, you know, in our neighborhoods and elsewhere where guys were probably illegally, they get there they work early they do all the stuff but they’re illegal! Now if all of a sudden somebody shows up and says, “Show me your cards,” and they don’t have it, that does change behavior. The other thing is, this issue is of far more concern now than it was in 1986. From 1986 until, what, eighteen months ago, most people didn’t give a rip. I mean, they really didn’t. Now all of a sudden it’s top of mind, which means the people who see activity that they find objectionable and illegal, they now think, “Okay, I can call the government to do this. I can call the cops on this. I can call the Border Patrol. I can call the legal enforcement.” They suddenly realize that you’re going to have a government that also has gotten a message because for a long time people didn’t the give a rip, and, as you know, this town, Washington, response when people say, “Hey, you gotta do something,” and I think the message has been received pretty loud and clear. We need to do something.
That card, coupled with the threat of being raided, will change thinking in a heartbeat. Suddenly, the employer has to think that that ‘cheap labor’ might get awfully expensive. Some idiots will accept that risk but I’ll bet that most won’t.
Furthermore, when jobs for illegals dry up, that incentivizes them to go through the legal channels.
RUSH: We are not enforcing the laws of Simpson-Mazzoli now, and because we didn’t enforce them we’ve got this problem.
SNOW: We’re not enforcing a law that said it was a misdemeanor for which there’s no punishment! How do you enforce a law that says, “Oh by the way? There’s no punishment.” How do you enforce it? I mean, the whole point of having enforcement is to have a penalty —
RUSH: That’s not what I’ve been reading.
SNOW: — and guess what important thing they forgot to do? They forgot to do what the punishment was.
RUSH: It’s not misdemeanor. It’s a felony to cross the border illegally.
SNOW: No, it’s a misdemeanor.
RUSH: It is a misdemeanor?
SNOW: They wanted to make it a felony in the House bill. It’s a misdemeanor!
RUSH: All right, then I am misinformed on that. By the way, in 1986, just two more points here, they developed a form called the I-9 and the employers were to question employees and those forms are to be audited, and they rarely are including in this administration. The I-9 formed contained information about an employee’s place of birth, et cetera. Now we’re going to have the card, the ID card apparently replacing the I-9. What’s the difference in a piece of paper form and a card if it’s not going to be audited and if the —
SNOW: Number one there’s going to be money set aside for more vigorous enforcement, and I think if you’ve been…You can have somebody do a Google, or you can Google, you’re computer-literate. You can take a look and see that there has been pretty stepped-up enforcement. If you look at a lot of local papers recently, you’ll find businesses where they’ve gone in and been forced to pay fines or in some cases shut down because they’ve been knowingly using illegals and in some cases these guys can’t even fake it. They don’t even have the fake ID or the fake birth certificate. There’s a big difference between being able to, you know, to go to some convenience store and have somebody in the back room make up a fake ID. You can’t fake your fingerprints or the, I mean I don’t know what kind of Jack Bauer stuff they’re going to use, but it’s going to be something that is unique to that person. You can’t fake that stuff.
RUSH: I’ve researched the card. I understand all of that, but it’s still, if an employer still takes somebody who doesn’t have a card and you don’t find out about it, the government doesn’t find out about it, then —
SNOW: Yeah, but don’t you think, and this gets back, you don’t want the government monitoring every business. You and I both know that if you said, “Okay, we’re going to deploy somebody to look at every business,” you and I would both be absolutely going crazy about it.
RUSH: They already do. That’s the point!
SNOW: But, but, but, but —
RUSH: These small business owners are so papered over with regulations —
RUSH: — the IRS and everything else, and these people are getting a free pass!
SNOW: Yeah, but, as I said before, you know generally what industries are going to be affected and you also know that their competitors are playing by the rules. In the past, as a competitor, you think, “What do I do here?” Now what they can say is, “Okay, you go over and find out if that guy’s got the cards. You find out if that guy is doing what he needs to do.” The marketplace sometimes does, as you know, there’s fierce competition, and from time to time guys –
RUSH: I understand that.
SNOW: — more often than certainly happens now, people are going to blow the whistle on those who are bad actors. Right now you’re absolutely right. Why do you do it? Well, it’s not happening as often as it should. Now you’re going to have a law that has a specific penalty that lays out the steps, you know, is going to have fines for employers and other sanctions against employers. All of that stuff has just sort of been kind of whimsical. It’s a lot firmer now than it used to.
Once conservatives start hearing these facts, the more likely it is that they’ll grudgingly admit that the President will be serious about enforcing the borders. Once that trust is re-established, the rest of this issue will become less contentious. That doesn’t mean it’ll drop off the radar but it will, I believe, become less contentious.
I strongly recommend that everyone read the transcript of the interview and/or watch/listen to the podcasts of this. You’ll need to be a Rush 24/7 member to listen to the podcasts.
Cross-posted at California Conservative