by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Democratic Party uses the president's hell-on-the-border message to remind Arkansas voters that the Republican gubernatorial candidate used to be in charge of that security detail.
News release on the jump.
PRESIDENT INTERVENES TO ADDRESS HUTCHINSON’S BORDER SECURITY FAILURES
LITTLE ROCK -- In an address to the nation last night, President George Bush proposed a $1.9 billion plan to curb illegal immigration, citing failure in three areas of border and immigration security, all responsibilities of Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson during his tenure at the Department of Homeland Security.
“The President is prepared to spend nearly $2 billion in tax-payer money to fix the job Asa Hutchinson left undone as former Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security,” Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Jason Willett said. “Nobody expected Asa Hutchinson to stop every illegal immigrant coming across the border, but we sure expected him to do something.
“Despite more funding and more staff, Asa Hutchinson did little to nothing to secure our borders, send illegal immigrants home or hold employers responsible for hiring illegal immigrants. He failed at Homeland Security. We can’t afford that record of failure in the Arkansas Governor’s Office.”
Securing the Border
“First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign Nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.”
– President George Bush, Address to the Nation, 5/15/06
In the 25 months Asa Hutchinson was responsible for border security, the number of illegal immigrants in the country increased by more than a million based on data from the Pew Hispanic Center. That is more than 9,300 illegal immigrants per week, the equivalent of adding a new city of illegal immigrants the size of Hot Springs, every month.
Returning Illegal Immigrants
“We must ensure that every illegal immigrant we catch crossing our Southern border is returned home.” – President George Bush, Address to the Nation, 5/15/06
“Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security’s man in charge of border security, shut down a border-patrol initiative to catch illegal aliens. Reason? It was catching too many illegal aliens.” John O’Sullivan (National Review, 12/13/04)
In June 2004, a Border Patrol “12-member mobile patrol group arrested more than 400 people on the streets of cities in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties. The arrests, dubbed ‘sweeps’ by the community, stopped after Asa Hutchinson, former Undersecretary of Border and Transportation Security, said the group acted within its legal authority, but without prior approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters.” (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 05/12/05)
Holding employers responsible for hiring illegal immigrants
“We need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally.”– President George Bush, Address to the Nation, 5/15/06
Under Asa Hutchinson’s management, there was a 99.3 percent drop in the attempts to take action against employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Under Asa Huchinson’s watch in 2004, immigration authorities issued penalty notices to only three companies. (The New York Times, 3/05/06) But in Fiscal Year 1999, the federal government attempted to take action against 417 employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants. [Government Accountability Office, “Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts,” Report GAO-05-813, 08/31/05]