Skip to comments.Radio Address by the President to the Nation, 03-25-06
Posted on 03/25/2006 11:10:02 AM PST by Salvation
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 25, 2006
President's Radio Address
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Monday, I will attend a naturalization ceremony here in Washington. It's always inspiring to watch a group of immigrants raise their hands and swear an oath to become citizens of the United States of America. These men and women follow in the footsteps of millions who've come to our shores seeking liberty and opportunity, and America is better off for their hard work and love of freedom.
Comprehensive immigration reform begins with securing our borders. Since I took office, we've increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and the Department of Homeland Security has caught and sent home nearly 6 million illegal immigrants. To improve security at the border, we're hiring thousands more Border Patrol agents. We're deploying new technology, like infrared cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, to help our agents do their job. And we're installing physical barriers to entry, like fences in urban areas.
We're also working to end the unwise practice of catch-and-release. For decades, many illegal immigrants were released back into society soon after they were caught, because we did not have enough detention space. So we're adding more beds so we can hold the people we catch, and we're reducing the time it takes to send them back home. When illegal immigrants know they will be caught and sent home, they will be less likely to break the rules, and our immigration system will be more orderly and secure. We're making good progress, but we have much more work ahead, and we will not be satisfied until we have control of our border.
Comprehensive immigration reform also includes strengthening the enforcement of our laws in America's interior. Since I took office, we've increased funding for immigration enforcement by 42 percent. We're increasing the number of immigration enforcement agents and criminal investigators, enhancing work site enforcement, and going after smugglers and gang members and human traffickers.
Finally, comprehensive immigration reform requires a temporary worker program that will relieve pressure on our borders. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. By reducing the number of people trying to sneak across the border, we would free up our law enforcement officers to focus on criminals and drug dealers and terrorists and others who mean us harm.
One thing the temporary worker program would not do is provide amnesty to those who are in our country illegally. I believe that granting amnesty would be unfair, because it would allow those who break the law to jump ahead of people who play by the rules and wait in the citizenship line. Amnesty would also be unwise, because it would encourage waves of illegal immigration, increase pressure on the border, and make it more difficult for law enforcement to focus on those who mean us harm. For the sake of justice and for the sake of border security, I firmly oppose amnesty.
In the coming days, the United States Senate plans to consider proposals on immigration reform. This is an emotional debate. America does not have to choose between being a welcoming society and being a lawful society. We can be both at the same time. As we debate the immigration issue, we must remember there are hard-working individuals, doing jobs that Americans will not do, who are contributing to the economic vitality of our country.
To keep the promise of America, we must enforce the laws of America. We must also ensure that immigrants assimilate into our society and learn our customs and values -- including the English language. By working together, we can meet our duty to fix our immigration system and deliver a bill that protects our country, upholds our laws, and makes our Nation proud.
Thank you for listening.
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In Focus: Immigration
Securing America Through Immigration Reform
March 23, 2006
[Photo deleted] President George W. Bush speaks with participants in a meeting on immigration reform Thursday, March 23, 2006, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
White House photo by Eric Draper
President Bush Outlined The Strategy To Enhance America's Homeland Security Through Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Addressing the Customs and Border Protection agents stationed in southern Arizona, the President discussed the strategy to secure the border, prevent illegal crossings, and strengthen enforcement of immigration laws. The President also proposed to take pressure off the border by creating a Temporary Worker Program that meets the economy's demands while rejecting amnesty for those who break America's laws.
Securing The Border Is Essential To Securing The Homeland.
Since he took office, the President has increased funding for border security by 60 percent. Border agents have apprehended and sent home more than 4.5 million people coming into the country illegally including about 350,000 with criminal records. The U.S. border must be open to trade and tourism and closed to criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.
The President Will Work With Congress To Pass And Sign Into Law Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for the Administration. Already, Congress is making great strides and has a chance to move forward on a strategy to enforce immigration laws, secure America, and uphold the Nation's deepest values. The President will continue working with Congress so that he can sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill into law in 2006.
The President's Strategy For Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Begins With Securing The Border.
To secure the border, the President is pursuing a three-part plan.
First, The U.S. Will Return Every Illegal Entrant Caught Crossing The Southwest Border With No Exceptions.
More than 85 percent of apprehended illegal immigrants are from Mexico, and most are immediately escorted back across the border within 24 hours. To prevent them from trying to cross again, the Federal government is using interior repatriation whereby Mexican illegal entrants are returned to their hometowns, making it more difficult for them to attempt another crossing. This approach is showing great promise. In a West Arizona desert pilot program, nearly 35,000 illegal immigrants were returned to Mexico through interior repatriation, and only about 8 percent turned up trying to cross the border in that sector again. The Administration is working to expand interior repatriation to ensure that when those who violate the country's immigration laws are sent home, they stay home.
The Administration Is Ending The Practice Of "Catch And Release."
Because detention facilities lack bed space, most non-Mexican illegal immigrants apprehended are released and directed to return for a court appearance. However, 75 percent fail to show. Last year, only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our Southwest border were sent home. Addressing this problem, the President has signed legislation increasing the number of beds in detention facilities by more than 10 percent over the next year. The Federal government is also using "expedited removal" to detain, place into streamlined judicial proceedings, and deport non-Mexican illegal immigrants in an average of 32 days almost three times faster than the usual procedure. Last year, more than 20,000 non-Mexicans caught crossing the border between Laredo and Tucson were deported using expedited removal. The use of expedited removal is now being expanded across the entire Southwest border. When illegal immigrants know they will be caught and sent home, they will be less likely to cross illegally in the first place.
The Administration Is Taking Further Steps To Accelerate The Removal Process.
The U.S. is pressing foreign governments to take back their citizens more promptly, while streamlining bureaucracy and increasing the number of flights carrying illegal immigrants home. Testing these steps, "Operation Texas Hold 'Em" along the Rio Grande Valley of the Texas Border recently resulted in Brazilian illegal immigration dropping by 90 percent in the Rio Grande Valley and by 50 percent across the entire border. These efforts are helping change a policy of catch and release" to a policy of "catch and return."
Second, The Administration Will Work With Congress To Reform Immigration Laws.
The President is seeking to eliminate senseless rules that require the government to release illegal immigrants if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of time. Among those the government has been forced to release are murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals. The President is also working with Congress to address the cycle of endless litigation that clogs immigration courts, rewards illegal behavior, and delays justice for immigrants with legitimate claims. Lawsuits and red tape must not stand in the way of protecting the American people.
Third, The Federal Government Will Act To Stop People From Illegally Crossing The Border In The First Place.
The Administration is increasing manpower, technology, and infrastructure at the Nation's borders, and integrating these resources in innovative ways.
Since 2001, 1,900 Border Patrol agents have been added, and the President has signed legislation allowing the addition of another 1,000 agents in the year ahead. When the hiring is completed, the Border Patrol will have been enlarged by about 3,000 agents from about 9,500 when the President took office to about 12,500 next year. This is an increase of more than 30 percent.
Deploying New Technology.
The Administration is giving Border Patrol agents the tools to expand their reach and effectiveness including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and infrared cameras. In Tucson, agents using UAVs to patrol the border have improved their interception of illegal immigrants and drugs on the border. Legislation signed by the President is providing $139 million to further upgrade technology and bring a more unified, systematic approach to border enforcement.
Constructing Physical Barriers To Entry.
The President has signed legislation providing $70 million to install and improve protective infrastructure across the border. In rural areas, the government is constructing new patrol roads to give agents better access to the border and new vehicle barriers to keep illegal immigrants from driving across. In urban areas, the government is expanding fencing to shut down human smuggling corridors. The Administration recently authorized the completion of a 14-mile barrier near San Diego. Once held up by litigation, this project is vital to helping border agents do their jobs and make those who live near the border more secure.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Requires Improved Enforcement Of Immigration Laws Within The United States.
Catching and deporting illegal immigrants along the border is only part of protecting the American people. Our immigration laws must be enforced throughout America.
The Federal Government Is Improving Worksite Enforcement.
The President has signed legislation that more than doubles the resources dedicated to worksite enforcement. The government is placing a special focus on enforcement at critical infrastructure. This year, Operation Rollback the largest worksite enforcement case in American history resulted in the arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants, criminal convictions against a dozen employers, and a multi-million dollar payment from one of America's largest businesses. Worksite enforcement is critical to the success of immigration reform.
To Help Businesses Comply With Immigration Laws, The Government Is Addressing Document Fraud.
Even the most diligent employers find it difficult to spot forged employment documents and verify workers' legal status. So the Administration is expanding the Basic Pilot program enabling businesses to screen the employment eligibility of new hires against Federal records. Since 2001, this program has expanded from only six states to now being available nationwide. The Administration will work with Congress to continue to improve employment verification. [Note: No mention of making this mandatory.]
The President Has Committed The Resources Necessary To Enforce Immigration Laws.
Since 2001, the Administration has increased funding for interior enforcement by 44 percent; increased the number of immigration and customs investigators by 14 percent; and new funding will allow for an additional 400 immigration enforcement agents and 250 criminal investigators. These skilled officers are getting results. In Arizona alone, 2,300 people have been prosecuted for smuggling drugs, guns, and illegal immigrants across the border. Operation Community Shield has resulted in the arrest of nearly 1,400 illegal immigrant gang members including hundreds of members of violent gangs like "MS-13." Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), agents have apprehended nearly 27,000 illegal immigrant fugitives.
As Part Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, The President Has Proposed The Creation Of A New Temporary Worker Program.
To match foreign workers with American employers for jobs that no American is willing to take, temporary workers will be able to register for legal status for a fixed time period and then be required to return home. This plan meets the needs of a growing economy, allows honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law, and relieves pressure on the border. By reducing the flow of illegal immigrants, law enforcement can focus on those who mean this country harm. To improve worksite enforcement, the plan creates tamper-proof I.D. cards for every legal temporary worker.
A Temporary Worker Program Would Not Provide Amnesty.
The program does not create an automatic path to citizenship or provide amnesty. [It only let's them stay here.!] The President opposes amnesty because rewarding those who break the law would encourage more illegal entrants and increase pressure on the border. A Temporary Worker Program, by contrast, would promote legal immigration and decrease pressure on the border. The President supports increasing the annual number of green cards, but for the sake of justice and security, the President will not sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty. [Bush definition of amnesty: an automatic path to citizenship.]
By Reforming Immigration Laws, The United States Will Preserve The Promise Of America.
Immigrants play a vital role in strengthening American democracy. This is a land in which foreigners who respect the laws are welcomed as contributors to American culture not feared as threats. The United States has been strengthened by generations of immigrants who became Americans through patience, hard work, and assimilation. Like generations of immigrants that have come before them, every new citizen has an obligation to learn this Nation's customs and values. At the same time, America will fulfill its obligation to give each citizen a chance to realize the American dream. By enforcing immigration laws, the Federal government is protecting the promise of a tolerant, welcoming America and preserving opportunity for all.
Press 2 for English.
Thanks for bumping the thread.
You might want to have the date changed in the headline by the mods.
Thanks for linking that "In Focus" piece to whitehouse.gov
Not nearly enough..Mr Bush ..band aids on a gaping wound.
Secure the border and remove the illegals nothing less.
The EU's official language is English!?
You mean, like vote?
I realize the difficulty involved in dealing with the 12+ million illegals currently here. I don't know what political methods are feasible to deal with them in a very practical method. The enforcement is necessary, because it sends a clear message that we're getting more serious, and we're not balling up into a little white flag.
I would expect some sort of outrage either way. If it passes or it fails. It's fairly sad that we have to wait till the problem is so big...we need better nominated leaders whom confront things immediately.
I am afraid that the subject of today's message is going to be the cause of some different responses than usual.
Thanks, I was concentrating on the 25 so much I missed that I put it in February!
Moderators, could you please fix the date in the headline to 03-25-06
In what way?
Freep this poll posted by blackie on the "I can breathe now" thread - #41
March 24, 2006
Oregonians for Immigration Reform:
KATU-TV (Channel 2) is running a poll on illegal immigration at:
The multiple-choice question is: How do you feel about illegal immigration?
The choices of answers are:
All illegal immigrants should be deported.
Illegal immigrants fulfill an important role in our society.
Illegal immigrants should be given the chance to get citizenship.
We need tougher laws on proof of citizenship requirements.
Lax immigration laws are a national security threat.
Hard not to laugh!
please take me off the list at this time, thanks
Please, don't leave me hangin' here, who was it?
Hard not to laugh!
Hmmm, was it Barbara Boxer?
Have you seen this thread yet? It's Bush's radio address and talking points regarding immigration reform.
If the Republicans want to do as well as possible in the upcoming election season, I would suggest that the leadership stop using the phrase "... to fill jobs that Americans will not do."
I stopped reading after this. If we are a nation of laws Mr. President; then why don't we ENFORCE our laws? Seems pretty simple to me. Rumor has it that 12,000,000 ILLegal immigrants have broken the law.
We spend more time and effort busting a college kids for smoking weed.
I guess I'm just stuck on stooopid.
Nonetheless, it's encouraging to see that he clearly understands just how wildly unpopular such an idea is.
Some Arkansan named Marion Berry or Barry. Truly he sounded a little out of this world. Substance abuse perhaps?
He began by saying he is a pharmacist. That the President's prescription drug plan is horrible and the seniors ought to have the time extended for when they can sign up.
A contradiction in the first sentence.
It made no sense, but then dem libs never do make sense.