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George W. Bush on Immigration

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


It's time to permit temporary guest workers

America's immigration system is outdated, unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people and deny businesses willing workers and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech Feb 2, 2005

Temporary workers ok, but no amnesty

Q: What should we do about the 8,000 people cross our borders illegally every day?

BUSH: We're increasing the border security of the US. There ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer, so long as there's not an American willing to do that job, to join up. I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. If they want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too. And here is where my opponent and I differ. In September 2003, he supported amnesty for illegal aliens.

KERRY: We need a guest-worker program. We need is to crack down on illegal hiring. And thirdly, we need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

A time-limited worker card for the illegal immigrants

Q: At least 8,000 people cross our borders illegally every day. How do you see it? And what do we need to do about it?

A: We're increasing the border security of the US. We've got 1,000 more Border Patrol agents on the southern border. We're using new equipment. We're using unmanned vehicles to spot people coming across. We'll continue to do so over the next four years. They're coming here to work. In order to take pressure off the borders, in order to make the borders more secure, there ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer to mate up, so long as there's not an American willing to do that job, to join up in order to be able to fulfill the employers' needs. It makes sure that the people coming across the border are humanely treated, that they're not kept in the shadows of our society, that they're able to go back and forth to see their families. The card it'll have a period of time attached to it. It also means it takes pressure off the border.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Don't believe we ought to have amnesty

BUSH: I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. And we ought not to crowd these people ahead of them in line. If they want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too. Kerry supported amnesty for illegal aliens.

KERRY: The borders are more leaking today than they were before 9/11. We haven't done what we need to do to toughen up our borders, and I will. We need a guest-worker program, but if it's all we have, it's not going to solve the problem. We need to crack down on illegal hiring. It's against the law in the US to hire people illegally, and we ought to be enforcing that law properly. We need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Support temporary worker program but oppose amnesty

I ask Congress to reform our immigration laws so they reflect our values and benefit our economy. I propose a new temporary-worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. This reform will be good for our economy, because employers will find needed workers in an honest and orderly system. A temporary-worker program will help protect our homeland, allowing border patrol and law enforcement to focus on true threats to our national security.

I oppose amnesty, because it would encourage further illegal immigration and unfairly reward those who break our laws. My temporary-worker program will preserve the citizenship path for those who respect the law, while bringing millions of hardworking men and women out from the shadows of American life.

Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

New temporary worker program includes illegal aliens

President Bush, saying the nation has failed millions of illegal immigrants who live in fear of deportation, yesterday proposed an ambitious plan that would allow undocumented workers to legally hold jobs in the US for the first time. The program that would bestow temporary legal status for at least 6 years on 8 million undocumented immigrants, as long as they keep their jobs. But it would not automatically put them on a path to obtaining citizenship or even permanent resident status.

"We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane," Bush told 200 Latino supporters attending his first White House announcement of the election year. "I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens." What Bush calls his "temporary worker" program was eagerly embraced by business groups but condemned as stingy and impractical by advocates for immigrants. Many said it has little chance of passing Congress in the form Bush described.

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A1 Jan 8, 2004

Mexico: immigration reform in exchange for oil development

Bush envisioned a Mexican border open to labor, to trade, and open to investment-especially investment in energy. Mexico had banned foreign investment in its energy industry in 1938, and ever since, Mexican oil production has been controlled by the creaky, corrupt, and polluting state monopoly, Pemex. If Mexico opened itself to the exploration and development of its oil resources by American entrepreneurs & technology, Mexican oil might possibly displace Arab oil from the US market altogether.

For this energy "quid," Mexico would of course demand some equally valuable "quo"-and in Bush's mind that "quo" was immigration reform. Bush believed that immigration was valuable to the US and praised it again and again in public speeches and his private conversations.

So the Bush administration designed a system for regularizing the Mexican-US labor relationship-not an amnesty like that of 1986, but a grander system for enabling Mexicans to work in the US temporarily and then to go home again.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 84-85 Jun 1, 2003

Respect other languages, but teach all children English

Q: Should English be made the country’s official language?

A: The ability to speak English is the key to success in America. I support a concept I call English-plus, insisting on English proficiency but recognizing the invaluable richness that other languages and cultures brings to our nation of immigrants. In Texas, the Spanish language enhances and helps define our state’s history. My fundamental priority is results. Whether a school uses an immersion program or a bilingual program, whichever effectively teaches children to read and comprehend English as quickly as possible, I will support. The standard is English literacy and the goal is equal opportunity - all in an atmosphere where every heritage is respected and celebrated.

Source: Associated Press Nov 1, 2000

$500M to cut INS application time to 6 months

Expanding on a proposal to improve the INS, Bush pledged $500 million in new spending yesterday to cut the time needed to process an immigration application to an average of six months. Bush said the process now takes three to five years. Late last year, the INS announced that average times had been reduced from two years to 12 months, and were headed lower.

’’We will bring to the INS a new standard of service and a culture of respect,’’ Bush said. The new spending, to be doled out over five years, is the latest part of an INS overhaul plan that Bush’s campaign believes will resonate with Latino voters. ‘’We’ve got an INS that is too bureaucratic, too stuck in the past,’’ he said.

Last week, Bush announced that he wants to split the INS into two agencies: one for legitimate immigrants and one for border enforcement. He also proposed allowing relatives of permanent residents to visit the US while their own immigration papers are being processed.

Source: Paul Shepard, Associated Press, in Boston Globe, page A12 Jul 6, 2000

Welcome Latinos; immigration is not a problem to be solved

Latinos come to the US to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: they want a better life for their children. Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande. Latinos enrich our country with faith in God, a strong ethic of work, community & responsibility. We can all learn from the strength, solidarity, & values of Latinos. Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is the sign of a successful nation. New Americans are to be welcomed as neighbors and not to be feared as strangers.
Source: Speech in Washington, D.C. Jun 26, 2000

Make INS more “immigrant friendly”

Bush [would] divide the INS into two agencies: one to deal with the enforcement components of border protection and interior enforcement, and another to deal with the service components of naturalization. Bush will change the INS policy so that spouses & minor children of permanent residents can apply for visitor visas while their immigration applications are pending. He will reverse the presumption that such family members will violate their terms of admission, and will encourage family reunification.
Source: Speech in Washington, D.C. Jun 26, 2000

High tech: More H-1B worker visas; less export controls

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Farm policy: Open markets abroad; more H-2A worker visas

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Latinos enrich us; family values go past Rio Grande

Latinos have come to the US to seek the same dreams that have inspired millions of others: they want a better life for their children. Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. Latinos enrich our country with faith in God, a strong ethic of work and community and responsibility. Immigration is not a problem to be solved; it is the sign of a successful nation. New Americans are not to be feared as strangers; they are to be welcomed as neighbors.
Source: Reforming the INS, in “Renewing America’s Purpose” Feb 9, 2000

More border guards to compassionately turn away Mexicans

We must do a better job of stopping those who seek to come into our country illegally. I support strict border enforcement programs such as Operation Hold the Line, which concentrate border patrol officers and resources at known border-crossing points. I believe it is far more compassionate to turn away people at the border than to attempt to find and arrest them once they are living in our country illegally.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.237. Dec 9, 1999

Guest workers, maybe; citizenship waiting period, yes

Bush pledged to revisit guest worker programs and other ways for immigrants to come into the country, but said he would insist on immigration controls and a waiting period before citizenship.
Source: Mike Glover, Associated Press Aug 6, 1999

Other candidates on Immigration: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts