Posted by Mark Silva at 10:06 am, updated 2:22 pm CDT
President Bush will deliver the commencement address today at Miami-Dade Community College, the educational engine of a multicultural community that is home to political exiles, refugees from repressive regimes -- and simply people who arrived in the United States with the clothes on their backs.
On the way to the campus, the president will stop off at the private home of a Republican Party financier on Key Biscayne, home to some of the wealthiest people in Miami-Dade County, for a Republican National Committee fundraising luncheon. The president raised $1 million for the RNC at the home of Ed Easton, a Miami businessman who also is a very good friend of the president's brother, former Gov. Jeb Bush.
This is the role that Bush is playing in the 2008 presidential campaign -- raising money for a party whose candidates he will refrain from backing until a nominee is chosen, though the loyalties of his best operatives and even his own family are divided.
See the Tribune's story today on the White House's role in the '08 campaign.
And see the radio address on immigration that Bush delivered today, on the occasion of his trip to Miami-Dade: "Good morning. This weekend, I am traveling to Florida to address the graduating class of Miami Dade College. This college serves one of our Nation's most vibrant and diverse communities. Miami is home to people whose families have been in our country for generations -- and to people who have only just arrived. This diversity is one of the great strengths of that city -- and it is one of the great strengths of our country.
"""The opportunities America offers make our land a beacon of hope for people from every corner of the world. America's ability to assimilate new immigrants has set us apart from other nations. In this country, our origins matter less than our dreams. What makes us Americans is our shared belief in democracy and liberty. Our Nation now faces a critical challenge: to build an immigration system that upholds these ideals and meets America's needs in the 21st century.
"In Washington, we are in the midst of an important discussion about immigration. Our current immigration system is in need of reform. We need a system where our laws are respected. We need a system that meets the legitimate needs of our economy. And we need a system that treats people with dignity and helps newcomers assimilate into our society.
"We must address all elements of this problem together, or none of them will be solved at all. And we must do it in a way that learns from the mistakes that caused previous reforms to fail. So I support comprehensive immigration reform that will allow us to secure our borders and enforce our laws, keep us competitive in the global economy, and resolve the status of those already here -- without amnesty, and without animosity.
"I know convictions run deep on the matter of immigration. Yet I am confident we can have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate. My Administration is working closely with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. We are addressing our differences in good faith, and we are working to build consensus. And I am pleased that some of those who had doubts about comprehensive reform last year are now open to supporting it.
"There is a desire on the part of Republicans and Democrats alike to get this problem solved. And by working together, we can enact comprehensive immigration reform this year.
"Our nation deserves an immigration system that secures our borders and honors our proud history as a nation of immigrants. By working together, we will enforce our laws and ensure that America forever remains a land of opportunity and a great hope on the horizon.
Thank you for listening.''