On Immigration

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Mar 27, 2006 9:58 AM

A transcript of Bush's speech today. I picked out the gist of it:

I've laid out a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform that includes three critical elements: securing the border, strengthening the immigration enforcement inside our country, and creating a temporary worker program...

The first element is securing our border. Our immigration system cannot function if we cannot control the border. Illegal immigration puts a strain on law enforcement and public resources, especially in our border communities. Our nation is also fighting a war on terror, and terrorists crossing the border could create destruction on a massive scale. The responsibility of government is clear: We must enforce the border...

The second part of a comprehensive immigration reform is strengthening enforcement of our laws in the interior of our country. Since I took office, we've increased funding for immigration enforcement by 42 percent, and these resources have helped our agents bring to justice some very dangerous people: smugglers, terrorists, gang members, and human traffickers. For example, through Operation Community Shield, federal agents have arrested nearly 2,300 gang members who were here illegally, including violent criminals like the members of MS-13...

The third part of comprehensive immigration reform is to make the system more rational, orderly, and secure by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would provide a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do. Workers should be able to register for legal status on a temporary basis. If they decide to apply for citizenship, they would have to get in line. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy and would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.

The Post updates on the Senate's progress on the issue:

Senators writing an immigration bill broke from the House's get-tough approach by refusing Monday to make criminals of humanitarian groups or individuals who help illegal immigrants with more than emergency assistance.

Catholic clergy, immigrants and other groups rallied over the weekend in Los Angeles and other cities and again Monday at the Capitol against a bill the House passed in December that would make such assistance a felony.

And, Rich Lowry on "jobs Americans won't do."