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  1. #1
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    Bush To Say Border Not Fully Under Control (well that's news

    Bush to Say Border Not Fully Under Control By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
    35 minutes ago



    President Bush is to order as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to increase enforcement at the Mexican border, part of a $1.9 billion drive to tighten security and win conservative backing in Congress for a broad election-year overhaul of the nation's tattered immigration laws.

    "We do not yet have full control of the border and I am determined to change that," Bush is expected to say in remarks prepared for a prime-time speech from the Oval Office.

    The speech will come as the Senate begins work on legislation to strengthen border security, authorize new guest worker programs and give an eventual chance at citizenship to most of the estimated 12 million people already living illegally in the United States.

    "Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border," Bush is expected to say.

    Congressional officials who were briefed in advance of the speech said the president would ask Congress to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and to support construction of additional facilities to detain illegal immigrants. They said the National Guard troops would not be involved in law enforcement, but would take support jobs currently held by federal agents, freeing them for front-line duty.

    On citizenship, the White House told congressional officials the president planned to say that illegal immigrants, required to stand in line behind legal immigrants applying to become citizens, are not being granted amnesty.

    Bush's plan to use National Guard troops at the border ran into criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

    "The National Guard already is stretched to the limit by repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from providing disaster assistance in their own states," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., though he commended Bush for "courage and leadership" in weighing in on the immigration debate.

    Bush was to say the nation has expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents during his presidency and has sent home about 6 million people entering the United States illegally. Still, he would add, that has not been enough.

    "We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly and fair," the president was to say.

    He would also call for enactment of a guest worker program to allow immigrants to take low-paying jobs, and he was to say employers must be held to account for hiring illegal immigrants. He was to say also that a tamper-proof identification card for workers would "leave employers with no excuse" for violating the law.

    Bush was to outline his plan in his first Oval Office address on a domestic priority, reflecting the major political issue that immigration has become. Hispanics comprise the nation's fastest growing minority and have demonstrated in rallies attracting tens of thousands of people this spring.

    The president's call for tougher border security is part of a broader plan to overhaul a system that he has described as inhumane, with desperate foreigners risking their lives for a chance to earn U.S. wages. The issue raises emotions on all sides, with many Americans and influential conservatives in Congress angry that foreigners are taking jobs and draining resources across the country.

    Bush was proposing a carrot-and-stick approach. Immigrants who follow the rules could be eligible for new temporary work permits that would allow them to take low-paying jobs and have an eventual chance at citizenship. Those who flout the law and try to sneak in would find a border that was more secure and harder to cross, at least in theory, with National Guard troops supporting Border Patrol agents along the 2,000-mile line with Mexico.

    The White House hopes that the tougher security will be enough to get House conservatives to support the work permits and citizenship proposals that they have been opposed to. A bill that passed the House last year ignored those ideas and instead would increase criminal penalties for illegal immigrants and construct 700 miles of fencing.

    Bush also will have to overcome concerns on Capitol Hill that sending National Guard troops to the border will overextend forces that are fighting in Iraq.

    However, conservative Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions (news, bio, voting record) of Alabama said sending the National Guard to increase border security would indicate Bush "gets it" and would be helpful in allaying concerns of members who oppose Senate legislation that focuses on guest workers and potential citizenship.

    He said enforcement "can't be a token effort," just a few raids of businesses or a short-term increase of the National Guard at the border.

    "The president has got to look the American people in the eye and he's got to tell them from his heart that he actually means to have a legal immigration system, that he's prepared to ask the Congress for the resources he needs to make that happen," Sessions said.

    Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said they expect the Senate to be able to pass comprehensive immigration legislation by Memorial Day. Then even tougher work would begin ironing out the differences with the more punitive House legislation.

    ___

  2. #2
    Senior Member moosetracks's Avatar
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    The Dems will use the guards as a political issue. They will keep saying the guards are in Iraq.

    Well, I would rather have my husband on the border or building part of the fence, than in Iraq!

    He's already worked on the San Diego fence.
    Do not vote for Party this year, vote for America and American workers!

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