24 April 2006

Bush to outline immigration reform

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President Bush will today explain his plans to allow more foreigners to work legally in the United States in a speech in Irvine, California, a state that has been the scene of recent protests calling for immigrant rights.

The President wants a law that would create a temporary worker program for foreigners and undocumented workers to fill jobs that U.S. employers have trouble filling with Americans.

The program would also improve internal security by creating tamper-proof identification cards that would allow the authorities to keep track of every temporary worker who is in America on a legal basis and help authorities identify those who are there illegally.

The plans also include building a fence along much of the U.S.-Mexico border, making it a felony to be in the country illegally and include the ability to penalise Americans who aid illegal immigrants.

Democrat and Republic politicians in America are united in the opinion that the current immigration system is not working, particularly on the nation’s southern border with Mexico, where thousands continue to enter the country illegally every week.

But both Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided over how to deal with immigration. Republicans are looking to balance the needs of conservatives who are angry about illegal immigration and businessmen who want access to cheap labour, whilst Democrats face opposition to any plan that allows foreign workers to fill U.S. jobs, and at the same time satisfy calls from an increasingly political Hispanic community that wants to see some illegal immigrants given legal status.

Some Conservatives have opposed the Senate bill on the basis that provisions allowing for eventual citizenship to some of the illegal immigrants already in the United States amount to an amnesty.

Sen. Carl Levin, Democrat, Michigan, said it was possible the Senate can pass a bill if `the administration will weigh in and the president will take a leadership role on this.'

`We need a bipartisan bill. We need a comprehensive bill,' added Specter on ``Late Edition' on CNN. `It's very possible we can get one, providing we address all of the problems, and not just one or two of them, since it's obvious our system is now broken.' Recent weeks have seen well supported rallies across the southern United States calling for legal rights for immigrants.


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