Legalizing immigrants: Good move by Bush

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

Just when we thought the federal government was cinching up the barbed wire encircling the country in an attempt to keep the threat of terrorism in check, politics reared its head.

President Bush announced Wednesday a sweeping plan to provide illegal workers in the U.S. with new legal status.

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On the surface, Bush and his advisors say the move just makes sense - and perhaps it does.

In many ways, it simply does not make sense for federal officials to continue spending valuable resources trying to track down illegal immigrants who are fast at work. Making the illegals part of the legal system means those immigrants would begin paying taxes and other costs of living. This only makes sense considering that in many cases the immigrants are already using many of the goods and services provided by taxpayers.

What is particularly interesting, however, is not the plan, but the timing.

President Bush and his team have made a wise political move. As Democrats bicker amongst themselves and collectively point their fingers at Bush, the president isn't fazed. Instead, he's chosen to out Democrat the Democrats.

Choosing to propose such a change is a smart move intended to lock up significant portions of the growing Hispanic vote population. In typical Bush fashion, his plan was long on emotion and short on detail. He always seems content with tossing out an idea and then moving on as Congress is forced to hammer out the details.

Democrats are still fighting over whether or not we should have gone to war with Iraq and arguing over which one of the plethoras of candidates is best suited to handle foreign policy. Meanwhile, Bush is now focusing efforts toward the politically advantageous domestic agenda.

As Bush prepares to jump out of the campaign starting blocks soon, if his latest effort is any indication, his political savvy may make him a shoe-in for another four years.