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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Bush's Gambit

President Says Changes to Immigration Will Help Millions

Published: January 7, 2004

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — President Bush offered a plan today that he said would help millions of illegal immigrants working in the United States while also making the country more secure and prosperous and living up to its finest ideals.

"By tradition and conviction, our country is a welcoming society," Mr. Bush said at a special ceremony in the White House. "We welcome the talent, the character and the patriotism of immigrant families."

While Mr. Bush said again that he opposed amnesty, which he said would only encourage lawbreaking and perpetuate illegal immigration, his proposals would nonetheless effectively grant a measure of amnesty to illegal immigrants with jobs.

What Mr. Bush called "a temporary worker program" would allow foreign workers to come to United States for specific jobs with specific employers, provided that no American workers could be found to fill the jobs. It would also require the return of these temporary workers to their home countries after their work period was over.

The legal status granted by the program would last three years, and would be renewable — but it would not be permanent, Mr. Bush said.

"Participants who do not remain employed, who do not follow the rules of the program or who break the law will not be eligible for continued participation and be required to return to their home," the President said.

Bush is betting that this plan will not blow up in his face. He thinks if he can get this through Congress, by dealing with the realities of American immigration, and seem compassionate. The problem is that at a time with job and wage stagnation, this is going to play poorly with many, many voters.

And given American racism, this might well blow up on Bush.

While it's a good idea, it's going to meet a ton of resistance from a wide variety of people.

posted by Steve @ 5:45:00 PM

5:45:00 PM

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