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."
I understand your statement. How will it be enforced and by whom?
IMO, the State of the Union address is one moment in time, where the President has a certain amount of time to address issues that face our country. Time constraints limit the amount of dialogue a President can give on any one issue. It seems to me that the SOTU address summarizes those issues and where our President stands on those issues. I'm sure that President Bush will be "directing Congress on immigration reform", but I do not believe he had to explain every fine detail to them in his SOTU address. He stated his opinions on Immigration very clearly, but apparently not some of our Senators seem to think that this was the only chance they had to get their "homework". LOL
Drop the "not" in my last sentence.
* El-pingo *
I would support that.
You know who we never see on these immigration threads? -- farmers who have to get their crops harvested and to market before they rot. When I start seeing regular Americans lining up to work in the fields of America, I'll be convinced that some sort of guest worker program isn't necessary.
Guest worker program visas will be BIlateral treaties with individual nations.
Each employer who hires a guest worker will be given a "must terminate" date. As long as each visa is tied to a specific employer then the person will be tracked.
Overstayes will be ineligible for future work visas.
That sounds rational to me.
Then lets get them from countries like Thailand.
Gee, how do the Japanese and other countries that don't allow mass immigration manage? I guess their citizens starve, or they all moonlight as farmhands.
A "clue by four" indeed! Well done!
Illegals are not immigrants, they are criminals, an should be subject to a far greater scrutiny then other candidates who have demonstrated their willingness to patiently abide by our laws. The President is dead wrong in his characterization of the issue.
Good for you! I appreciate your patience and determination to do things the RIGHT way!
This 'shamnesty' program is just that for one reason:
The government cannot force the illegals to sign up for anything, no matter how many programs they throw at them!
The illegals are HERE and giving them yet MORE 'goodies' as a result of jumping the border will just encourage more.
The government acts like it's rocket science when it's all so VERY simple:
1) Employing an illegal should be an automatic 5 years in jail and a $5,000 fine PER ILLEGAL
2) NO government food, health-care or welfare
3)No anchor babies....period!
4) Give the Border Patrol standing orders that if they are fired upon, they are to return fire, whether the target is Mexican military OR civilian
5)BUILD THE FENCE NOW!!!
And it took us five years and many bribes to get official residency (no green card or citizenship, of course) in Mexico. (I didn't pay the bribes, but the company lawyer did--he had to or else the permits never would have been issued).
You folks can just give up and go home. You heard Bush. He practically wagged his finger at you and said you're being a bad citizen if you criticize illegal immigration. You heard the man, the economy would grind to a halt without em.
So grab your IUD, morning after pill or abortion on demand and rest comfortable in the knowledge this government is going to make up the shortfall in reproduction numbers one way or another. The go go economy DEMANDS IT.
Overstayes will be ineligible for future work visas.
Who tracks the "guest worker" after the job ends? Who tracks and makes certain that the visa overstays leaves the country? My point is where is the guarantee that these workers actually leave our country.
Yeah, they're pretty happy with the status quo. Tell you what. You start paying all your little mexicans minimum wage and withholding the proper payroll and income taxes, or you go to jail. How's THAT for immigration reform.
Hiring illegals any other way is fraud, illegal labor practices, and tax cheating. Period, end of. Spin that, pennies.