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George W. Bush on Free Trade & Immigration

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

Add Chile, Brazil, Argentina, & others to NAFTA

Q: Would you pursue a hemispheric trade deal extending the benefits of NAFTA to Central and South America and the Caribbean?

A: My administration will foster democracy and level barriers to trade. If elected, my goal will be free trade agreements with all the nations of Latin America. We can do so in cooperation with our NAFTA partners. We should also do so with Chile, and Brazil and Argentina, the anchor states of Mercosur. We will also work toward free trade with the smaller nations of Central America and the Caribbean. We must be flexible because one-size-fits-all negotiations are not always the answer. But the ultimate goal will remain constant, free trade from northernmost Canada to the tip of Cape Horn. In the near term, we will renew trade preferences with the Andean nations - enacted in 1991, and set to expire next year.

Source: Associated Press Oct 31, 2000

Don’t link trade to environment and labor

    Free trade is a subject on which both candidates appear to start from the same position, commitment to free trade. From that point, their positions swiftly diverge. Bush would:
  • supports restoration of “fast-track” negotiating authority for the president
  • opposes linking trade agreements to labor and environmental issues
  • supports the expansion of NAFTA throughout the Americas
  • supports the admission of China and Taiwan to the WTO
  • wants strict enforcement of anti-dumping and other laws against “unfair” trade
  • intends to revise export controls to tighten control over military technology and ease restrictions on commercial technology
  • wants to make international financial institutions more accountable and transparent
  • strongly supports free trade, saying that the case for it is “not just monetary but moral” and pledging to make the expansion of trade a consistent priority“
Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” Sep 30, 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

No trade barriers from Alaska to the tip of Cape Horn

Bush went campaigning in Mexico today, dedicating the World Trade Bridge in Laredo. “In the past there have been walls of divide between Mexico and the US,” Bush said. “We must be committed to raise the bridges of trade & friendship & freedom.” Bush said the opening of the bridge was an example of the growing economic ties between the US and Mexico. In promising to push aggressively for free trade in this hemisphere, Bush said he would tear down trade barriers from Alaska to “the tip of the Cape Horn.”
Source: Jim Yardley, New York Times Apr 24, 2000

Fast Track in west; WTO in east

Bush said he would seek “fast-track” negotiating status from Congress to expand free trade in the Western Hemisphere: “I will work to create an entire hemisphere in free trade,” he said. “I will work to extend the benefits of NAFTA from the northernmost Alaska to the tip of Cape Horn.” He said he wanted to build on NAFTA to bring other countries throughout Latin America Meanwhile, the Bush campaign distributed a policy statement that said he supports admission of China and Taiwan to the WTO.
Source: Kelley Shannon, Associated Press, in L.A. Times Apr 24, 2000

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

    Supports meaningful, broad-based tort reform to protect our most innovative companies from frivolous and junk lawsuits
  • Supports lifting the current limit on H-1B visas; believes long term solution to the shortage of high tech workers is education
  • Called for reforming the high tech export control system by allowing American companies to sell products in the international marketplace when these products are readily available in foreign or mass markets
Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

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

  • Calls upon European Union to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization and allow importation of genetically modified farm products
  • Would work aggressively to open markets for U.S. products and producers
  • Supports reviewing and expanding the H-2A temporary agriculture workers program so that willing workers can provide much needed help to America’s farmers
Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Supports Fast Track; WTO; NAFTA; anti-dumping

  • Supports Fast Track negotiating authority for the President
  • Called for eliminating trade barriers & tariffs everywhere so the whole world trades in freedom
  • Called for strict enforcement of anti-dumping & other unfair trade laws
  • Supports expansion of NAFTA throughout the Americas
  • Supports China’s & Taiwan’s admission into the WTO
  • Supports revising export controls, to tighten control over military technology & ease restrictions on technology already available commercially
Source: ‘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

Sow free trade and farmers will reap

Q: What will you do as president to help farmers get sufficient pay for their work?
A: I would be a free trading president, a president that will work tirelessly to open up markets for agricultural products all over the world. I believe our American farmers. can compete so long as the playing field is level. That’s why I am such a strong advocate of free trade and that’s why I reject protectionism and isolation because I think it hurts our American farmers.
Source: Republican debate in West Columbia, South Carolina Jan 7, 2000

A free market promotes dreams and individuality

[After visiting China], I’ll never forget the contrast between what I learned about the free market at Harvard and what I saw in the closed isolation of China. Every bicycle looked the same. People’s clothes were all the same. a free market frees individuals to make distinct choices and independent decisions. The market gives individuals the opportunity to demand and decide, and entrepreneurs the opportunity to provide.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 61. Dec 9, 1999

Import fees are not the answer to foreign competition

In 1999, when a glut of foreign oil drove prices below $12 a barrel, many of my friends in the oil business wanted the government to rescue them through price supports. . . I understand the frustration of people. but I do not support import fees. . . I believe it makes sense to use the tax code to encourage activities that benefit America. But I do not want to put up fees or tariffs or roadblocks to trade.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p. 65-66. Dec 9, 1999

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

The fearful build walls; the confident demolish them.

I’ll work to end tariffs and break down barriers everywhere, entirely, so the whole world trades in freedom. The fearful build walls. The confident demolish them. I am confident in American workers and farmers and producers. And I am confident that America’s best is the best in the world.
Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jun 12, 1999

  • Click here for 6 older quotations from George W. Bush on Free Trade & Immigration.
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Other candidates on Free Trade & Immigration: George W. Bush on other issues:
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Al Gore
Ralph Nader

Minor Candidates:
Harry Browne
John Hagelin
David McReynolds
Howard Phillips

V.P. Candidates:
Dick Cheney
Ezola Foster
Winona LaDuke
Joe Lieberman

Alan Keyes
Bill Bradley
John McCain
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Juvenile Crime
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
Welfare/Labor Our "Who Do You Agree With?" (Issues Match) quiz is a modified version of "Vote Match," a product of, "a political portal on the web that invites you to learn more about the day's hot issues, then SpeakOut and be heard." VoteMatch was developed by Jesse Gordon of

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