A fearsome fissure is developing in the GOP over a bill that would send millions of Chihuahuas back to Mexico, pitting Republican against Republican, with President Bush backing a measure that would allow some Chihuahuas to stay in the US on a temporary basis.
There are currently an estimated three million Chihuahuas in the US living with American families, taking up precious space that would otherwise go to "American breeds" such as Poodles or Dachshunds, say Republicans who back the Chihuahuas Go Home bill, lead by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
"While Democrats focus more on protecting the rights of foreign dogs than encouraging domestic dog ownership, Republicans have voted to secure our pet sales, give dog catchers new tools to enforce our canine laws, and help prevent dog loving terrorists and criminal aliens from moving freely throughout our society," said Boehner.
While the legislation seeks to fix the unstoppable flow of Chihuahuas coming from Mexico into America's pet stores and kennels - a situation Frist has termed "one of this nation's greatest canine problems" - President Bush has been vocal in support of adding a measure to the Chihuahuas Go Home Bill that would allow the little, cute animals to stay in the country if they were contributing to the economy as guard dogs, seeing eye dogs or mascots for Mexican-style fast food chains.
Backers of the bill have accused the president of self-interest in his support for the "guest dog program" because he personally has two Scottish terriers (Miss Beazley and Barney), dogs from "Old Europe" that would likely get deported if the current bill becomes law.
"What would happen if a Chihuahua just happened to belong to a terrorist who sent it across the border from Mexico to go live with an unknowing American family as part of a sleeper cell?" said Don Waller, a member of the Hourglass Citizens Patrol, an anti-foreign dog militia that is currently patrolling the Mexican border, in case any Chihuahuas or other alien dogs are attracted by America's ample smells and food sources. "Think of this: Chihuahuas sleep a lot. Why exactly is that? If that doesn't have 'sleeper cell' written all over it, I don't know what does."
While the fiercest opposition to the president's position is coming from citizen's groups like the Hourglass Citizens Patrol, he is also facing increasing pressure within his own party to back down from his position.
"It's sick that the president is playing politics with his own party over the safety of the American people on this issue," said Representative Scott Dale (R-AZ). "How would he like it if America was invaded by Chihuahuas? Those little, yappy, hairless dogs make me sick, frankly."
The infighting in the GOP over dog immigration reform is being seen by the Democrats as a likely win-win situation for the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections.
"The Democrats are going to take back the dog issue," said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "This is nothing but old fashioned racism by the GOP which ever way you look at it."
Schumer added that he is the proud owner of three Chihuahuas that he legally purchased from a breeder in New Mexico and urged all Chihuahua owners to vote Democrat because his party is the only one that truly cares about the plight of the animals.