- In the latest indication President Bush is having problems
with his conservative core political constituency, Michael Savage, one
of talk radio's biggest stars, tonight called for the impeachment of President
Bush over his plans to legalize millions of illegal aliens.
- "This is the worst betrayal of our country in my
lifetime," said Savage, whose program is heard on more than 350 stations
with an audience reaching some 6 million. His book, "The Savage Nation,"
last year was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller's list for five weeks.
His follow-up, "The Enemy Within," out just one week, is already
No. 8 on the list. Both were published by WND Books.
- Tonight Savage called Bush a liberal and described him
as part of the "enemy within" that is destroying the nation.
- Savage created the phrase "compassionate conservative"
in 1994, a term picked up by Bush during his presidential campaign ö
a campaign supported by Savage.
- "This is much more serious than dropping your pants
for an intern," said Savage. "This is a policy that represents
a danger to national security."
- Savage is hardly alone in his strong feelings of opposition
to Bush's proposal to offer legal status to illegal immigrants. A new ABC
News poll finds 52 percent of the nation opposes an amnesty program for
illegal immigrants from Mexico, while 57 percent oppose one for illegal
immigrants from other countries. Both results are roughly the same as when
the administration floated the idea two-and-a-half years ago.
- But today in Monterrey, Mexico, Bush reaffirmed his support
of the proposal, despite its unpopularity at home. He said it could help
illegal immigrants "leave the shadows and have an identity."
- At a joint press conference with Mexican President Vicente
Fox, Bush warned that his government will not allow the existence in the
United States of an underclass of illegal immigrants, but claimed again
his proposal is not an amnesty. Amnesty, he said, would only promote the
violation of the law and perpetuate illegal immigration.
- Bush said his immigration proposal would benefit both
the United States and Mexico as it recognizes the contribution of thousands
of honest Mexicans who work in the United States.
- For his part, Fox embraced Bush's proposal.
- "What else can we wish?" Fox said at the news
conference with the president.
- In the U.S., the latest poll on the controversy shows
at least twice as many Americans "strongly" oppose the proposal
as strongly support it.
- Opposition peaks in Bush's own party: Fifty-eight percent
of Republicans oppose his immigration proposal for Mexicans, compared with
50 percent of Democrats. For illegal immigrants other than Mexicans, 63
percent of Republicans are opposed.
- Bush reportedly will disclose more details of the plan
in his State of the Union address Jan. 20.
- Meanwhile, the National Border Patrol Council, which
represents all 9,000 of the Border Patrol's non-supervisory agents, has
told its members to challenge President Bush&laqno;s proposed guest-worker
program, calling it a "slap in the face to anyone who has ever tried
to enforce the immigration laws of the United States," the Washington
Times reported today.
- The agents were told in a letter from Vice President
John Frecker that the proposal offered last week during a White House press
conference "implies that the country really wasn't serious about"
immigration enforcement in the first place.
- "Hey, you know all those illegal aliens you risked
'life and limb' to apprehend? FAH-GED-ABOWD-IT," said Frecker, a veteran
Border Patrol agent. "President Bush has solved the problem. Don't
be confused and call this an 'amnesty,' even though those who are here
illegally will suddenly become legal and will be allowed to stay here.
The president assures us that it's not an amnesty," he said.
- Last week Bush proposed the sweeping immigration changes
that would allow the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens thought to
be in the United States to remain in the country if they have a job and
apply for a guest-worker card. The immigrants could stay for renewable
three-year periods, after which they could apply for permanent legal residence.
- Savage cited a <>new report published in the City
Journal by the Manhattan Institute suggesting there is a major crime wave
in the U.S. caused by illegal immigration.
- "Some of the most violent criminals at large today
are illegal aliens," the report charges. "Yet in cities where
the crime these aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the most
obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles,
for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have
sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder,
assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know
who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony.
Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gang-banger for felonious reentry, it
is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPDâs
rule against enforcing immigration law."
- The situation is similar, the report says in New York,
Chicago, San Diego, Austin and Houston. These "sanctuary policies"
generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration
violations to federal authorities, says the report.
- "These people are destroying America," said
Savage. "That's all I have to say on the subject. But you can talk
about it. Talk about it while you can - while America is still a free country,
because it's not going to last."