Skip to comments.Bush Calls For 'Rational, Humane' Guest Worker Program
Posted on 02/01/2006 12:04:11 PM PST by Icelander
Advocates on both sides of the immigration debate said President Bush missed an opportunity in his State of the Union address Tuesday night to direct Congress on immigration reform, weeks before Senate lawmakers begin to tackle the divisive issue.
Breezing by the issue in just a few sentences, Bush endorsed a program that would allow foreigners to work temporarily in this country, saying the nation needs orderly and secure borders but that the economy couldn't function without immigrants.
His brief mention drew a disappointed rebuke from Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who has led an effort to tighten the nation's borders and enforce immigration laws.
Bush could have "broken the Washington stalemate and secured the most significant immigration reform in a decade," Tancredo said.
Angela Kelley, deputy director of the pro-immigrant National Immigration Forum, also said Bush fell short. "It's really important for him to step up and provide some leadership on this issue," she said.
Senators are expected to take up immigration legislation in the coming weeks.
Immigration has featured heavily in Bush's State of the Union speeches in past years. But with his own party deeply divided over the issue, he devoted just over a paragraph to the subject Tuesday.
Still several lawmakers praised Bush.
Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, said he was pleased Bush "called for an immigration system that deals with the influx of illegal immigrants realistically. Now it's time for both the House and the Senate to rise to the president's challenge and enact meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform."
How to deal with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country now _ and the thousands crossing the border each year _ has divided Congress and is becoming an increasingly volatile issue at the state and local level.
Even non-border states are wrestling with how to provide government services, such as health care, to illegal immigrants and whether to restrict drivers' licenses and withhold benefits to illegal workers.
Jennifer Allen, who directs the Border Action Network, based in Tucson, Ariz., said immigrants she works with are watching anxiously as Congress talks about building walls at the Mexican border and increasing the penalties for being in the country illegally.
She and other advocates are loudly calling for Congress to fix the nation's troubled immigration system.
This summer, Democratic Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Janet Napolitano, of Arizona declared a state of emergency in their border counties to free up money for immigration-related needs.
Richardson said Bush's brief mention in the State of the Union was a signal the White House would not make it a major issue in the coming months.
"The message I received is that on immigration, we're going to leave the burden on the states like New Mexico and Arizona, and it's sort of like 'You're on your own,'" Richardson said.
In the Senate, Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., have proposed programs that regulate when and how immigrants can come to the U.S.
Kyl said Tuesday that he would have liked to hear more from Bush about immigration, but he was glad "the key elements were there" in his speech.
"It is a very serious problem for Arizona," Kyl said. "I think everyone in the Senate wants to get something done ... whether the president mentions it or not."
A legal plan is meaningless as long as the illegal activity continues with impunity.
The wall is the only realistic start to any reform.
Cut off their taxpayer freebees, (heavily) fine employers who hire them, and end the anchor baby incentive. ......and then watch them self-deport.
Can the states take action to close their borders?
Here's one: Get out. Now.
I would only be for a guest worker program if it EXCLUDED illegals.
Time to whack the RNC over the head with a clue-by-four. They won't see another dime so long as they keep selling our nation out to illegals.
It seems that he cares not a whit for our borders, or for our language or for our culture.
The only rational guest worker program is NO GUEST WORKER PROGRAM.
All this talk of Guest worker Amnesty pisses us legal immigrants off. I waited over 4 years for my greencard.
We are not up to guest anything.
How about "guest workers" come from countries whose people have not violated our borders? I always invite people to my home who have shown me and mine courtesy and respect for not having trashed it or broken in before.
King Jorge is at it again with his nonsense about allowing illegals to have any status here other than illegal.
We raised hades with the House in November and December and even got a lot of Dims to vote a great set of laws in.
Now that law is handed over to the Senate who will come up with their own version.
The Senate is going to get an earfull, just like the House did.
Please join www.numbersusa.com and help in this grass roots effort to stop the illegal immigration or any kind of so call guest worker program.
We lambasted the House with over 175 thousand calls, letters and faxes every day! Believe me, it works.
The most humane thing we could do with the illegals is send them home. The economy does not need them and politicians who are hoping to give them citizenship in exchange for a vote are in for a rude awakening.
OK lets be rational:
Rational: Guest worker visa is NOT convertable to another type of visa.
Rational: Guest workers are ineligible to convert a work visa into US citizenship.
Rational: Children of guest workers are ineligible for us citizenship the same way foreign diplomat children born int the USA are ineligible for citizenship.
Rational: Guest workers are REQUIRED to leave the USA after ten years and may not return for work for a period of one year.
Fair enough. But I'll be expecting to see you picking tomatos in the fields outside our town.
For the cheap labor/wage depression industries "immigration" is always the solution.