18 July 2006
US immigration reform unlikely before election
President Bush has reportedly cast doubt on a major overhaul of America's immigration laws taking place before the forthcoming elections in November.
Mexican President Vicente Fox revealed that Bush spoke to him about the Immigration Reform bill currently being debated by Congress when the two leaders met at the G-8 summit in Russia at the weekend.
Both men are advocates of reform but Bush cautioned that time was against them in this term.
"He pointed out that this period is very short, there are only two or three weeks before Congress members go on the election campaign," Fox told Mexican radio.
"So the chance of the immigration issue reaching approval in the House of Representatives and reaching joint approval isn't very high."
Immigration reform plans in the US stalled after conservative Congress members and Senate leaders failed to reach a compromise deal.
The Senate passed a bill that combines tougher enforcement rules and border security with a guest worker program and a plan to give many of the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country a path to U.S. citizenship.
The House-passed bill focuses solely on border security and enforcement. A solid group of House Republicans oppose the Senate bill, calling it an amnesty that rewards people who broke U.S. law. Many senators say they cannot accept the House's enforcement-only approach.