Thursday, February 10, 2005

Dear President Bush: No subject about which I write brings me a bigger, more favorable response than when I make a case for shutting down our southern border. What should be most alarming for the Republican party is that much of the e-mail comes from people such as myself who have twice voted for you.

It’s fine for you to claim that your work program merely brings together employers seeking willing workers with workers willing to do jobs that Americans don’t want. The problem is that there is no such job?so long as the job pays a decent wage. But so long as you allow illegals to stream across our porous borders, there’s no compelling reason for the folks who own farms, hotels and restaurants, to pay anything over the basic minimum.

My question to you, Mr. President: With something like 12 million illegal aliens already in the United States, how is it we don’t already have sufficient numbers to change our sheets, bus our tables and pick our lettuce? At what point are you finally prepared to say, “Enough already”?

Aside from those businesses with a selfish interest in maintaining a constant stream of under-educated, willing-to-work-for-peanuts, employees, the only groups supporting your position are the Catholic hierarchy, looking to fill church pews, and the Hispanics in the Democratic party, looking to expand their own power bases.

The fact that you are man enough to cut farm subsidies in your proposed budget strongly suggests that you have faced up to the reality that family farms are a thing of the past. Today’s farms are nothing less than fiefdoms. The agribusiness can well afford to pay Americans a decent wage to pick their lettuce. I can guarantee that we’d all prefer paying an extra nickel a head than have to deal with all the headaches that illegals bring with them. After all, the risk to our national security aside, the flood of aliens has already helped destroy the quality of life in every place they’ve settled.

What I’m suggesting will require you to face up to the fact that Mexico’s President Fox is no friend of yours. With his constant demand for open borders and dual citizenship, his refusal to extradite murderers and rapists, and his opposition to our invasion of Iraq, it is plain that he regards our country as nothing more or less than a dumping ground for Mexico’s most pernicious problems. The fact that you treat him with kid gloves when he is nothing but Jacques Chirac in cowboy boots does not reflect well on your administration.

It’s not even smart politics. Back in 2002, I was telling anyone who would listen that, in spite of the polls, Bill Simon could defeat Gray Davis in California’s gubernatorial race if only he made border closure the main plank in his platform. Instead, he skirted the issue and lost by a scant four percent. Had he heeded my advice, not only would he have defeated Davis, but we Californians would have been spared a recall election which put Schwarzenegger in the governor’s mansion. As I’m sure you know, the Terminator is a Republican in name only. In truth, he’s Maria Shriver with muscles!

Hispanics who are here legally have no more use for the illegals than do the rest of us. They, too, resent the additional taxes they have to pay to provide schooling, medical attention and prison cells, for those sneaking into America. This is a political fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton has already recognized. As a result, it is an issue that in 2006, and especially in 2008, Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats will use to turn a number of red states blue.

You, as a lame duck, are in an ideal position to shut down the border. On the one hand, you would appear to be risking political fallout for no reason other than principles. At the same time, you would be depriving Mrs. Clinton of an issue she is counting on to win her millions of votes throughout the Southwest.

Finally, Mr. President, it will be the worst kind of pyrrhic victory if you gain sovereignty for Iraq while you simultaneously lose it for America.

Burt Prelutsky is the author of “Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco.” An award-winning Hollywood writer, his credits include “Homeward Bound,” “A Small Killing,” “Hobson’s Choice,” “A Winner Never Quits: The Pete Gray Story,” “MASH,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Dragnet” and “Diagnosis Murder.”

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