When the president does it, it's not illegal. That was an outrageous statement made more than 30 years ago by President Richard Nixon.
Forever immortalized in a TV interview with TV personality David Frost, Nixon's words captured the cowardice of a man unable to stand up to his own actions and represented his complete lack of respect for the rule of law and the American people.
Unfortunately, Nixon wasn't the last president to show blatant disregard for the law.
The Bush administration's actions over the last eight years mirror the presidential-power-above-all policy implemented by Nixon, which, in presidential la-la land, places the commander-in-chief in a gold-laced, Pegasus-drawn chariot high above the heads of America's working-class citizens.
In reality, however, actions taken by Bush are placing the American people in harm's way, particularly when it comes to opening our border to unsafe Mexican trucks. Last week, the Bush administration extended the illegal and reckless plan allowing unsafe trucks from Mexico on our highways for another two years.
The order by Bush to open our border to trucks that do not meet U.S. safety standards first came nearly one year ago with a shady "pilot program." Though it was dubbed a trial, in reality, the order was the first step toward unfettered access for trucks from anywhere south of the border. Only after the Teamsters outed the administration did officials actually admit the plans they had hiding up their sleeves.
Those plans are nothing short of illegal. Playing the NAFTA card, Bush administration officials, under the direction of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, claim open borders will benefit the economy by keeping costs down. Unfortunately, those who support such actions are forgetting the price Americans must pay in order to keep goods cheap -- their jobs and their safety.
The agency aiding Peters in opening the border, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA,) claims that border inspectors can check all Mexican trucks and are able to ensure that U.S. safety standards are met on all on south-of-the-border vehicles. That, as Congress and the American people have found, is an outright lie. Not only do many Mexican truck drivers not speak English, but, among many other violations, their vehicles are not equipped with anti-lock breaks--the most basic of safety measures required on all U.S. vehicles.
To combat these issues, Congress has tried desperately to turn the tide by passing laws to stop the dangerous trucks from crossing into the United States. But despite Congress's overwhelming support and action against the unsafe program, the Bush administration continues to push for open borders and unsafe vehicles in the name of fair trade.
In an effort to stop the outright lawbreaking being conducted by Peters and the Bush administration, the Teamsters have taken our case to court, asking that the border be closed. Though we are still awaiting the judges' opinion, we cannot go it alone. Please contact your congressional representative and tell them that allowing unsafe Mexican trucks into the United States is not only outrageous, dangerous and completely unacceptable, but it is against the law.
Because, as those in the real world know, when it's illegal and the president does it, it's still illegal.
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