After undergoing heart bypass surgery in January, Les Kinsolving is Back!
MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon. I want to welcome all those who are back from the great state of Texas, and welcome back to Les, too. Glad to see that you’re doing well. It’s good to have you back and you’ve been in our thoughts and prayers.
MR. KINSOLVING: Thank you very much. I appreciate it very much. [Note: this is the first time I recall the official the White House gaggle transcript identifying a reporter by name.]
And Les hit the ground running with – A CHALLENGING QUESTION!
Q Mexico’s President Fox announced during his news conference that our border fence between San Diego and Tijuana, in his words, must be demolished. My first question: During their subsequent Waco summit, did President Bush in any way reply to this Fox demand, which Senator Kyl of Arizona called, downright insulting, other than Mr. Bush denouncing the American Minutemen as “vigilantes”?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, a couple things. First of all, this goes to a much larger issue, this question, and the larger issue is making sure that we have a safe, orderly and humane migration system. We have worked closely with Mexico on issues relating to our borders. There is more that we can do to control our borders, and the Department of Homeland Security is working to do that every day. We have an increase in the number of agents along the border, they’re working to address the situation in some of the areas where you’re referencing, as well.
And the President put forward an initiative, his temporary worker initiative… [Blah-blah, president’s wise initiative – blah.]
Q The Washington Times has listed nine countries who have either built or are building border fences. Has President Fox, to your knowledge, condemned any border fence, beside our border fence? And why is denouncing the Arizona Minutemen any better than denouncing neighborhood crime watchers?
MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. I mean, the President spoke to this issue last week and I think he addressed it very clearly for you all.
In terms of President Fox, I’m not going to try to comment for him — you might want to direct those questions to his office. But I know that the Department of Homeland Security, regarding the question you’re bringing up, tomorrow is going to be having an announcement in Tucson, Arizona, about an initiative they’re undertaking along the Arizona border to better control the border there.
In terms of the issue of the Minutemen that you bring up, again, the President spoke to that issue last week. And it’s one thing if people are working along the border, simply to report suspicious activity, and that activity should be reported to the proper authorities — the Department of Homeland Security officials, who are there to enforce our borders. If people are operating outside of the law, that cannot be tolerated. That’s a different —
Q Well, that’s my point. That’s what they’re doing — they’re neighborhood crime watch.
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. Hang on. That’s a different matter. People cannot take things into their own hands. But if they see suspicious activity, they should report that suspicious activity to the proper authorities and —
Q And that doesn’t make them vigilantes, does it?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you’re talking about a group of armed, untrained individuals roaming around the desert, that would be something that would concern us and it would increase the chance that someone could get hurt. And we don’t want people operating outside the law — the President made that very clear last week. So if you’re talking about people reporting suspicious activity, that’s one thing. If you’re talking about people operating outside the law, that’s another matter and it’s one that cannot be allowed to happen.
Now I may not buy Les’ view that these border xenophobes are a “neighborhood watch group” but I love to see him make Little Scottie squirm.