NOW we know why George W. Bush hired a new press secretary in Tony Snow. The president’s 17-minute talk Monday on immigration was the best speech of his life. The most significant positive of the speech was that he got the priorities right. “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,” Bush said. Enforcement was his first of five goals in the comprehensive program he wants Congress to pass. By the end of 2008, Bush has promised to hire and train 6,000 new Border Patrol officers, and back them up with fences, new roads along the border, motion sensors, infrared cameras and aerial vehicles. Meanwhile, an equal number of National Guard troops will be temporarily assigned for support duty along the border. Bush’s second goal is the creation of a temporary-worker program “that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time.” The program would reduce the appeal of using human smugglers, and would ease the financial burden on state and local governments by “replacing illegal workers with lawful taxpayers.” Will employers really be forced to hire only legal workers, with stiff penalties for those who ignore the law? Can a total of 18,000 border agents really seal the border, or will there be a necessity of building a wall (a word missing from Bush’s speech)? The answer lies in the priority American voters will place upon this issue on a long-term basis. Jennifer Solis was student body president of Belmont High School in 2003-04 and is now a pre-med student.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsHolding employers accountable for the workers they hire is the third goal. Existing law from the 1986 Reagan amnesty already forbids the hiring of undocumented workers, so Bush stated that a key requirement for enforcement would be a tamper-proof, biometric identification card for every legal foreign worker. The president’s fourth part of the plan would not give an automatic path for citizenship to illegals already here. Instead, it would offer legalization for illegal immigrants who pay penalties for breaking the law, pay taxes and learn English. Finally, Bush’s fifth goal would be to help newcomers assimilate into our society by having Congress define a path to citizenship (a phrase he did not use in his speech). Bush closed his speech by recognizing the importance of recruiting undocumented young persons into the military, by telling the story of a young man from Mexico who grew up picking crops, then joined the Marines. He was wounded in Iraq, sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he met the president. Bush said that he was honored to stand beside the Marine when he took the oath of citizenship. The president described immigrants as “people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom. And America remains what she has always been – the great hope on the horizon, an open door to the future, a blessed and promised land.” Democrats in Congress will be hard-pressed to disagree with these goals and priorities. Republicans will mumble, “Why did he wait so long to get it right?” But the big question is whether the administration, now and in the future, will have the willingness to follow through with the key requirements of immigration reform.