January 16, 2004
BUSH IMMIGRATION PLAN: AN 'INCREDIBLE OPENING,' AN 'ELECTORAL GESTURE'
** President Bush's immigration proposal is a "striking
initiative" though "politically motivated."
** Even some Bush critics concede that electoral reasons "do
not diminish" the plan's merits.
** Skeptics accuse
Republicans of an election-year strategy to "exploit" the Latino
** Mexican papers are
guarded, don't expect a "new era of respect and reciprocity" with
Bush's 'dramatic new gesture' is 'right move'; U.S. 'needs
immigrants'-- Though there was no doubt that the initiative was politically
motivated, there were "far clearer" economic reasons for the U.S. to
implement a more "generous" immigration policy than just "vote
catching." Supporters of
immigration "liberalization" held that U.S. economic success would be
"inconceivable without millions of immigrants." German, Italian, Czech and Brazilian dailies
stressed that U.S. reliance on "cheap labor" makes the plan
"very logical." The U.S.
"needs foreign workers to do jobs that the average American is not willing
to do," declared liberal Folha de Sao Paulo. Inspired by Bush's "new openings,"
Swedish papers urged Europe to "change tack" and treat immigration as
Electoral factors notwithstanding, it was the 'right decision'-- Even outlets typically
critical of Bush called the plan a "good one," while noting it was
unlikely to get an "easy ride" in Congress. A liberal Brazilian daily reasoned that while
the motivation for the proposal was certainly "electoral," that does
not "diminish its merits."
Similarly, a conservative Colombian paper judged "the fact"
that immigration reform was being reintroduced in an election year "no
reason to discredit the initiative."
Also willing to overlook other possible motives, Ecuador's center-left Hoy
held that "each step taken toward liberalization...is a step
'Eye on' Latino vote moved Bush, not 'interest in his neighbor' --
mainly on the left, billed the initiative as a Republican "election
trick" to "net" the Latino vote from Democrats and "curry
favor" with all foreign communities.
Should Hispanics "swing" to the Bush side, the 2004 election
is likely to be a "walkover" for the president. Capturing the typical skepticism, the
center-left Irish Times dubbed the plan a "low paid guest worker
scheme" that was "very much a political kite aimed at the growing
Hispanic vote in an election year."
Writers in developing countries raised concerns about the plan's
"temporary" nature which a Pakistani writer noted was "no
lasting solution to the problem of illegal immigration."
Mexican editorials caution it's 'not time to celebrate' yet-- Mexican observers were wary of praising the
migration plan and "generating false expectations." One columnist in independent Reforma
found the proposal "quite reasonable"; another warned that
"degradation and submission can never be the basis of a mature
relationship" with the U.S. A
writer for independent El Norte
cynically predicted a "predominantly Republican Congress" was likely
to "block" or "dilute it to a point that it ends up becoming a
shadow of what it...intended to be."
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This analysis
is based on 34 reports from 18 countries, January 8-15. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
A commentary in the independent weekly Economist noted
(1/10-16): "As president, George
Bush floated the idea of a guest worker programme to reform America's
ramshackle immigration system. September
11 forced him to shelve it. Now he has
proposed the biggest overhaul of American's immigration laws for almost 20
years.... There are currently somewhere
between 8m and 12m illegal immigrants working in the United States, half of
them from Mexico. Mr. Bush's proposals
will help to reduce them from the shadows....
The proposals are far from perfect.
Critics such as The National Council of La Raza, a Latino pressure
group, argue that illegal workers might be putting themselves at risk by
applying for temporary residence.... But
for all their vagueness, Mr. Bush's proposals are clearly an improvement on the
current situation. The proposed
legislation could do a lot to repair Americas badly damaged relations with its
southern neighbor.... Mr. Bush's
proposals will also be a huge boost to Mr. Fox personally.... But in a re-election year the most important
consequences are clearly for the Latino vote at home.... The White House hopes that its willingness
to address a problem that is close to the hearts of most Latinos will help the
Republicans handsomely in such hotly contested states as Florida, New Mexico
and Nevada. The proposal is not
guaranteed an easy ride. Mr. Bush is
leaving most of the details to Congress, and many members wish to throw
spanners in the works."
GERMANY: "Bridge To Legality"
Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland
commented (1/9): "America is a country of immigrants, and President Bush
is right. Economic success of the U.S. would be inconceivable without millions
of immigrants. His proposal to build a
bridge to legality for those living illegally in the country and to get more
guest workers to the U.S. is very logical. The economy relies on cheap labor,
and forces from Mexico are welcome in areas where U.S. citizens no longer want
to work. Over ten million people live in
the U.S. without permission, and their number is growing every year. A president who stresses internal security
since 9/11 cannot accept this development.
But the conservative government does not want to go all the way and amnesty
illegal immigrants. Work permission will
be granted for three years only. If
worst comes to worst they will be deported afterwards. Still, the approach is going in the right
direction. Workers get at least a temporary
legal status and become more attractive for employers. They, in return, have to
pay the minimum wage. If only a quarter
of illegal immigrants accepted the offer, the program would be a great success.
Bush can become more popular with Hispanics, the largest minority in the
U.S. They make up some 12 percent of the
electorate, and the President is not very popular with them. But Bush will only make points if he gets his
plans through Congress - which he will hardly achieve until the elections in
ITALY: "America Is Still The Promised Land"
article in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (1/9): "The record
number of immigrants [to the U.S.] was not in the period between 1901-1914 when
half of the factory workers in New York, Chicago and Detroit were born abroad
and arrivals were approximately 923 thousand per year. The record number was
established in our time, with an average yearly arrival of 984,000 legal
immigrants since 1989.... President Bush
has begun, with a liberalizing move (regarding the 500,000 illegal workers that
enter the U.S. annually) a revision that Congress and the public opinion could
push away, in the search for sustainable immigration. The American case should
be kept well in mind in virtue of a Europe that today is the real frontier with
a third of the world's immigrants moving towards Europe or within Europe....
The overabundance of foreigners represent 'an enormous and growing cost that
the Americans are aware of,' states the Federation for American Immigration
Reform (FAIR). It is the most active among the many lobbies that want to change
the rules.... The White House proposal, which Congress will have to decide
on...is even more massive than the preceding one introduced by Ronald Reagan in
1986.... Commentators as well as the President's friends all said this is an
electoral measure to take away Hispanic and Asian votes from the
"Bush's Reform: Resident Permits For Workers"
An editorial in Rome
center-left Il Messaggero (1/8): "Millions of illegal immigrants
working clandestinely in the recesses of American society will obtain a
resident's and worker's permit, and they will no longer risk deportation. This
is the important political card that George Bush played yesterday, now in the
middle of the electoral campaign. He recuperated the promise he had made in
August 2001 but was then forgotten due to the September 11 attacks. Bush
managed to agitate American political waters to such a point that yesterday the
left was praising him and the right criticizing him. In truth, the President's
proposal is full of 'stakes,' of controls and limitations, but it is
nonetheless an incredible opening at a time when regulations of foreigners have
become very hard and often indifferent towards the privacy of
"Green Light To Illegal Immigrants Only If Employed"
Giampaolo Pioli noted in conservative, top-circulation syndicate Il
Resto del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno (1/8): "His plan for illegal
workers could turn out to be even more revolutionary than President Reagan's
twenty years ago. Yesterday George Bush launched what could be the 'winning
move' for the upcoming electoral campaign.... These are fundamental changes in
the current law on immigration with which the White House strategists think
they will assure Bush the decisive Hispanic vote, currently one of the dominant
groups in the country in key states like Florida, Arizona and New Mexico,
considered the real battlefields in the November elections.... Considered a
populist gesture and of apparent great effect, the presidential 'amnesty' is
enraging the Democrats that will battle both in the House and Senate but also
many conservative fringes that don't at all agree with 'rewarding those who
entered the country illegally."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Good News, Amigos"
Hana Kabeleova wrote in the political weekly Respekt
(1/11): " President Bush outlined the new immigration bill last week based
on legalization of immigrant workers. It
did not come out of the blue. [Bush]
talked about it at the very beginning of his term in a meeting with his Mexican
counterpart Vicento Fox, but then, only four days later, 9-11 came and the plan
to open the U.S. to immigrants was frozen.
The motives behind Bush's proposal are both political and economic. He may seek the support of Hispanic Americans
in the next election, but the bill will also enhance registration of immigrants
and that will improve [the security situation in the country]. The economic
reasons are by far clearer. The U.S.,
just like every other developed country, needs immigrants, first, because its
own citizens keep increasing their level of education, and second, because the
country's rate of retired people over those at productive age is growing
fast. The high work ethic among
immigrants is also an important factor.
[Furthermore,] the migration cannot be stopped; restrictions only alter
the way the immigrants choose to get to their destination. Illegal migration includes everything that a
responsible politician seeks to prevent from happening."
"Bush Deals With The Illegal Migration Problem"
Pavel Masa commented in the center right Lidove noviny
(1/8): "George W. Bush with his
proposal to legalize the work of millions of immigrants to the U.S. would have
a fair chance of winning a contest for 'the most effective political step.' Not only will he gain the support of Hispanic
voters (most 'illegals' are their countrymen), pacify his Mexican colleague
Fox, who has been calling for such an action for years, but he will also deal
with the problem of the gray economy and immigration.... The critics of this
proposal should take the time to see what the drawbacks are of a restrictive
policy applied by one small European country [CR]."
"Bush Immigrants Law Does Irish No Favors"
The center-left Irish Times carried an
editorial by Ray O'Hanlon stating (1/13): "It was difficult to discern a
precise opinion on the part of President Bush last week when he stood up in the
White House and proposed a set of immigration law changes that would amount to
the biggest reform package in two decades. President Bush waxed lyrical about
America's roots as a nation of immigrants and then outlined a series of
proposals that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to work legally
in the United States but never attain the full American dream of legal
residence followed by citizenship. It was a glass half full, half empty and
very much a political kite aimed at the growing Hispanic vote in an election
year. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from central and
south America.... Still, President
Bush's move is significant and will initiate a debate on immigration reform
that immigrant advocates say has been too long delayed.... What President Bush is proposing is a low
paid guest worker scheme. It's unlikely that many illegal Irish will reveal
themselves to the immigration authorities in order to take minimum wage jobs
that most Americans supposedly shun. Even the ability to travel freely back to
Ireland to see loved ones is unlikely to sway too many Irish minds should the
White House proposals actually become law....
What is more likely is that those undocumented Irish who have committed
themselves to life in America will wait in the hope of witnessing the emergence
of a broader reform initiative, one that will promise eventual legal
status. And for that they will be
looking to Congress where several bills that promise more than what President
Bush spoke of have been stewing for months. In the meantime, the cops will
watch over the illegals in the car park and the local economy will be paid back
many times over by their cheap labor. Nothing's for free in this
ROMANIA: "The Real
Cause For These Measures Is of An Electoral Nature"
In the respected Adevarul foreign policy analyst Serban
Mihaila commented (1/8): “At the beginning of an election year during which he
greatly needs the Hispanic population’s votes in Florida and California,
President George W. Bush prepares the largest reform in the American
immigration system in the last 20 years....
The real cause for these measures is of an electoral nature. Bush hopes to obtain in this way the votes of
four million Mexicans who are already American citizens.… The immigration
system reform will contribute as well to improve the relations between the
United States and Mexico, which are considered by Washington to be very
important. The provisions of the new
measures will influence, in a positive way, the citizens of other states, which
are illegally staying in America. On the
other hand, the White House’s plan can prove to be extremely risky for Bush,
because the latest polls show that the majority of American citizens dislike
the illegal immigrants, especially after 9/11.”
SPAIN: "Liberalization With Bottom Of Ballot Boxes"
Conservative ABC wrote (1/11): "Bush
seems to be trying to disorientate the Democratic opposition and to make his
mark on the political agenda with his proposal on immigration. His intention to increase his electoral
attractiveness with the decisive Hispanic vote is also clear.... The liberalization falls within the policy of
'compassionate conservatism' that the Bush Administration advocates and
proposes the idea that the country 'is always open to those who work hard and
look for a better life'.... The
regulation, that has been received with caution by the Latin American
community, will contribute to the improvement of the relations between the U.S.
and its southern neighbors.... The
liberalization constitutes a moderate but indisputable step forward in the
right direction, influenced by the closeness of the presidential
elections.... The right measures will be
welcomed, even if they are a response to interested electoral motivations. This is one of the advantages of
democracy. What the governments don't do
out of conviction, at least they do out of self interest."
"Wink At The Hispanics"
Left-of-center El País judged (1/9):
"The initiative, lacking many details that Bush will leave to the
Congress, is another expression of Bush's 'compassionate conservatism.'... It is not interest in his neighbor that moved
Bush on this matter. This is a gesture
full of purely electoral reasons. But it
allows him to regain the initiative in domestic policy again, in an atmosphere highly charged due to the
situation in Iraq, where U.S. soldiers continue to die; and to steal in advance
a part of the agenda from the Democrats, with no fear of a backlash from the
right, because Bush has no rivals there."
"Bush's Initiative Gives New Openings"
The conservative Stockholm morning Svenska
Dagbladet (SvD) opined (1/9):
"What is most striking about President George W. Bush's initiative
to have a more generous immigration policy is that it is based on the
conviction that most illegal immigrants in the U.S. hold jobs and are
beneficial to themselves, their fellow citizens, and the economy as a whole. To
force them to leave would be both inhuman and dangerous to society.... President Bush's initiative gives new
openings, and if there was not wide popular support for a dynamic view of economics
and social life, the experienced politician George W. Bush certainly would not
take this initiative in a year when he is campaigning for his
"Just Like Bush"
South Sweden's major morning daily, the liberal
Malmo-based Sydsvenskan editorialized (1/9): "There is no doubt that President Bush's
initiative (to improve the situation for illegal immigrants) is strategic...but
it is not downright vote-catching. Bush
touched upon the issue already in the 2000 election campaign. But after the 9/11 terrorist attacks the
reform promises disappeared from the agenda. That they now re-appear is good
news.... There are reasons to note the
fundamental view of the American President's initiative: he emphasizes that the
U.S. is 'a country built by the dreams of immigrants' and says, 'their motive
to come here is to create a better life for themselves and their children.'
Such strains are seldom heard from politicians in the Nordic countries. Instead
immigration is regarded a burden to the national economy.... Shortly there will be shortage of labor in
Sweden, and to avoid our welfare being demolished we better start to regard
immigration as a resource instead of a burden. Just like President Bush."
"Europe Can Learn From U.S."
West Sweden's major daily, liberal Goteborgs-Posten
's lead editorial stated (1/9): "Regardless of what made President George
W. Bush propose some kind of amnesty to people that have entered the U.S.
illegally, it still is a political change of course that should make Europe
reconsider its immigration policy....
Despite the fact that there likely will be problems the day the
temporary work permits..expire...President Bush's initiative is a glimpse of
hope of a better future [for them].
Europe's aging population will need new blood. Therefore it is time [for
us to change tack and open up for immigration of labor, which also would remove
the base for those profiting from trafficking in human beings."
"George Bush Wants to Legalize Illegal Immigrants"
Aziza Nait Sibaha commented in semi-official Le Matin du Sahara
(1/9): "A dramatic new gesture in
the American presidential strategy 10 months before elections. George W. Bush, always looking for ways to
rise in the polls, announced last Wednesday a large-scale reform of immigration
laws.... George W. Bush had drawn heavy
fire from the opposition, who saw in his policies the confirmation of the
anti-immigrant line his party is criticized for. With these new proposals, the American
President is trying to curry favor with all foreign communities, essentially
the Latino community, to win votes for the Republicans."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"Election-Year Immigration Proposal"
The top-circulation, moderate-conservative Yomiuri's
Washington correspondent Nagata observed (1/9):
"President Bush unveiled an election-year proposal to allow
millions of Hispanic immigrants to work legally in the U.S. for as long as
three years in what would be the largest overhaul of U.S. immigration law in
two decades. The President's planned
relaxation of the immigration law, despite strong objection from Republican
conservatives, was indicative of his firm determination to win votes of support
for his presidential re-election bid from Hispanic Americans, many of whom are
traditional supporters of the opposition Democratic Party. Political observers
predict, however, that the deliberation of the new immigration bill in Congress
would be long and difficult."
PHILIPPINES: "President Bush's Immigration
Executive Editor Ana Marie Pamintuan noted in
her column in the third leading Philippine Star (1/9): "U.S. President George W. Bush
has...come under fire for a proposal unveiled this week to allow up to eight
million illegal migrants to work legally in the United States. Bush is accused
of pandering to the Latino vote. The
proposal will benefit millions of Mexicans in the U.S., but every Filipino with
a relative who is an undocumented alien or TNT--tago nang tago (rough
translation: someone who plays hide and seek with immigration authorities) --is
closely watching the proposal.... This could turn out to be a scheme to ferret
out illegals and deport them at the proper time, which is probably what Bush,
leader of the global war on terror, truly has in mind."
INDIA: "Indians To Gain From Bush
Immigration Poll Trick"
Washington-based diplomatic editor K.P. Nayar wrote in the
centrist Telegraph (1/9):
"President Bush has created a programme through which illegal
workers can become legal.... Most of the
eight million illegal aliens are Hispanics, the majority of them from
neighboring Mexico, but a few thousand Indians are also expected to benefit
from the amnesty, which the White House is loath to call an amnesty.... Republican electoral strategists expect that
if the scheme works, it could swing the large Hispanic vote...in favor of Bush
in this year's presidential election....
More than the numbers involved in the Hispanic vote, Bush is eyeing
their concentration: if Hispanic Americans swing to his side because of
yesterday's announcement, it is very likely that the big states where they are
present--California, New York, Florida and Texas--will go with the Republicans,
making the 2004 election a walkover for the President. Conservative opinion makers have already
expressed fears that the amnesty will encourage even more Latinos to sneak into
the U.S. without papers.... Political
aides to Bush calculate that Conservatives will not, however, defect to [a]
PAKISTAN: "A Sop For Illegal
The most widely read English language Karachi
Dawn remarked (Internet Version, 1/9):
"President George Bush's proposed plan to give limited amnesty to
an estimated eight million illegal foreign workers--69 per cent of them Hispanics--in
the U.S. is billed largely as an attempt to net the Hispanic vote in the
forthcoming election.... If passed by Congress into law, it would require the
beneficiaries to seek a further extension of their work permits after three
years, provided they can prove that Americans do not need the jobs they may be
doing. This very condition in the
proposed plan has come in for a lot of criticism by illegal workers'
representatives and rights groups.
Thus, the general impression is that amnesty granted on such terms
amounts to exploiting the Hispanic vote in an election year, and that it offers
no lasting solution to the problem of illegal immigration.... President Bush's latest amnesty plan may
help document this majority and make it easy for the Republicans to bag the
Hispanic vote in the process, but it will not serve to improve the economic or
social condition of immigrant workers or tackle the problem of illegal
"New U.S. Immigration Rules"
The English-language rightist Islamabad-based Pakistan
Observer held (1/9): "Bush's
decision represents a positive approach on the part of the U.S. Government
since the people coming to the U.S. for better prospects of life deserve a fair
deal. The fact is that the foreigners, especially the Muslims coming to the
U.S., are being subjected to humiliation through a series of curbs imposed as a
result of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, which had caused
unprecedented problems to the immigrants, who were supposed to re-register
themselves. The recent decision demanding the entrants in U.S. to register
themselves at the airports along with finger printing had eased their problems
somewhat, but still it has an element of humiliation for the visitors as well
as the immigrants from many countries. President Bush and his team have
seemingly not yet recovered from the shattered pride as a result of
9/11.... The latest move to enable the
illegal immigrants to work legally in the United States is, however, being
linked to the forthcoming Presidential elections in the country. As the
stagnation in U.S. economy and dwindling productivity is bound to affect Bush's
image in eyes of the voters, the decision is said to be an attempt to dispel
the negative perception of his administration's performance in the economic
field. The fact is that Bush's popularity has suffered a serious set-back in
recent months after U.S. occupation forces' failure to find any weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's capture certainly helped retrieve his
image to some extent, but it has certainly not contributed towards improvement
of his popularity in the United States."
BRAZIL: "Bush Is Right"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (1/8):
"President George W. Bush's plan to facilitate the entry of immigrants
into the U.S. and to legalize the situation of foreign workers who are there
illegally is a good one. The proposal may certainly be called electoral, but that
does not diminish its merits....
Regardless of electoral interests, there are strong economic factors
that justify the White House's bill. If the estimated 8 million illegal workers
currently living in the U.S. are legalized, they will become taxpayers. Legalization
is also expected to increase salaries, because illegal immigrants work for less
money than those legalized. More important, perhaps, is the fact that the U.S.
needs foreign workers to do jobs that the average American is not willing to
do. Money that foreign workers - especially Latin Americans - send from the
U.S. has become an important source of revenue in their native lands. Such
transfers totaled US$33 billion in 2003.... [But] there is strong opposition in
the Congress, especially by representatives of the President's Republican
MEXICO: "Transforming Good Intentions"
Jorge A. Chávez Presa wrote in the nationalist Universal
(1/15): “Mexican migration to the U.S. has for our country an aspect of
national security. Its implications- besides
that of the bilateral relationship with our principal commercial partner and
the dominant economic and military force in the world- compel the Mexican
nation, and specifically the government of the Republic to be more careful so
that our interests are duly protected.
This means, among other things, not generating false expectations and
not allowing the management of this country to enter into the electoral
dynamics of our neighbor to the north.… President Fox now has a great
responsibility to help this proposal to move forward.”
"The Bush Proposal"
Soledad Loaeza observed in the left-of-center La Jornada
(1/15): “The satisfaction that the migration plan gave Fox could have been
similar to the feeling that we would have when a good friend finds a solution
to a severe problem. We would be jointly involved with it, even when the
problem was not ours. We have to acknowledge that the condition of illegal
aliens in the U.S. concerns us all and that we would like to help with their
vulnerability. However, the truth is
that migration to the U.S. has been the solution for the demographic and
economic problems that Mexico faces.
Moreover, the remittances that Mexican workers send back are an
important income for millions of Mexican families. Consequently, a plan to
bring back in three or six years the thousands of Mexican
researchers/academics --who left the
country looking for better jobs and better standards of living-- is not on the
horizon for the Mexican Government due to its limited capacity to make the
economy grow; this (should be) our problem and our priority, but the government
seems to have forgotten it.… Before praising ourselves because Mexicans in San
Diego will have no problems with Immigration Officers for three years, we
should first have a debate over a massive program to create employments in
Mexico. If there are no jobs in here,
what is the reason for them to come back?”
"So Far Away From God"
Modesto Suarez asserted in the independent Reforma
(1/15): "Mexico and the United
States share common destinies, but in order to reach them it is necessary to
put an end to the relationship of domination between both nations in order to
begin a new era of respect and reciprocity.
Degradation and submission can never be the basis of a mature relationship. Besides, there is nothing worse for a Mexican
president than to be perceived by his people as a man who is submitted to the
interests of our powerful northern neighbor."
"Bracero Program II"
Academic Lucrecia Santibañez commented in independent El Norte
(1/14): “Certainly the clear winners of President Bush’s proposed immigration
program are the Mexicans on both sides of the border. If the program jumps from
paper to real legislation let it go into effect. It is a difficult jump, if you
ask me. As a matter of fact, many assure that this is an electoral trick from
Bush to win Hispanic votes in 2004 and say: I tried! Just after a predominant
Republican Congress blocks the program or dilutes it to a point that it ends up
becoming a shadow of what it originally intended to be.”
Sergio Sarmiento asserted in independent Reforma
(1/8): "President Bush's migration
proposal is quite reasonable. It does
not seek to simply grant amnesty to those who have entered the United States
illegally, but creating a means to legalize these people, without granting
permanent residence; without citizenship being the main prize.... The great risk (of this proposal), of course,
is creating a class of 'temporary' workers that remains in the United States
indefinitely but never getting access to the rights of a resident or citizen,
as was the case in Germany with the Gastarbeiter Turks."
An editorial in old-guard nationalist El
Universal declared (1/8): "The
proposal is certainly the first step toward the construction of a serious
debate over the issue (migration)....
The GOM said the initiative was interesting, but remained cautions about
it... The offer made yesterday (by the
U.S.) is not enough, because it does not seek to solve the real
problem.... It pretends to be softening
the more severe effects of labor demand in the United States."
"Security, Migration And Elections In The United States"
Ricardo Aleman writes in old-guard nationalist El
Universal (1/8): "It is not
that the United States got bitten by the bug of good will all of a sudden, and
was able to understand the tragedy that migrants go through as they leave their
countries and search for jobs in another nation – as reflected in the speech
delivered by Bush, a message that at some point seemed to be delivered by
someone that actually defends migrants….
No. The temporary-work program
for migrants, and especially for Mexicans, that President Bush announced
yesterday was only possible due to the fact that 'security within the fight
against terrorism' became a priority for the USG. This means controlling migrants, being able
to identify and find them, being able to determine their location and over all,
being able to keep track of their activities in the United States."
Editorial in business-oriented El Financiero
read (1/8): "In addition to the
benefits that the migration reform initiative announced yesterday by U.S.
President George Bush could bring to millions of undocumented Mexican workers,
our nation cannot begin to celebrate yet.
This because it is clear that this proposal – even though it evidently
is an electoral move – will pass through a tormented path through the House of
Representatives and Senate, as Sen. Bill Frist stated here yesterday. Beyond the votes he expects to win in
November, Bush said yesterday that his plan would strengthen the control and
registration of a large mass of population that lives under clandestine
conditions. The proposal came up right
when the strengthening of security became a priority in his
COLOMBIA: "Bush And The Immigrants"
An editorial in top national El Tiempo
stated (1/9): “At the moment that President Bush was presenting his proposal
on...illegal immigrants, everybody was discussing whether it would solve the
status of millions of persons, or benefit those that employ them, or was a key
electoral strategy.... Bush wants to
increase the Hispanic vote...which can be crucial for Bush if this year’s
election results are close.”
"An Inevitable Topic In The U.S.
The lead editorial in Medellin-based El
Colombiano noted (1/9): “ The fact that the George Bush is proposing
immigration reform beginning in an electoral year... is not a reason to
discredit the initiative... The fact is that U.S. is facing a growing economic
and social problem of around eleven million people that have entered without a
visa and are working in jobs that need to be legalized, even if this is temporary.”
An opinion column by Susana Klinkicht in Quito's center-left Hoy
(1/12): "Bush's [immigration]
proposal could be just one way of compensating businesses in need of cheap
labor that have been affected recently by increased border controls. But each step taken toward liberalization of
movement is a step forward."
GUATEMALA: "Kisses for Hispanics"
Influential El Periodico ran an op-ed by
columnist Gustavo Berganza stating (1/19):
"President Bush's proposal does not make the United States a more
open country, opposite to what one may think.
And it does not provide the stability or the rights that immigrants
seek. The proposal simply grants
temporary admittance, conditioned by the job market. He wants to win over the Hispanic vote, which
constitutes an important group, making foreigners believe he is really
concerned with the needs of their fellow countrymen and women."
Guatemala's largest circulation tabloid Nuestro
Diario held in its main editorial (1/9):
"The decision to legalize the condition of immigrants who work in
the United States must be applauded....
In time, this achievement may be extended to appreciate the influence
their work has on U.S. economy