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Bush To Renew Effort On Immigration Plan

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2007/04/09 12:09

President Bush returns to work Monday on the volatile issue of immigration, where his hope for a legislative breakthrough is complicated by cold relations with Congress. Bush will be back in Yuma, Ariz., to inspect the construction of border fencing and to push for the creation of a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The trip serves as a bookend to the visit Bush made to the same southwest desert city last May.

He will also make calls to "resolve without amnesty and without animosity the status of the millions of illegal immigrants that are here right now," according to White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

On the immigration issue Bush is facing a new congressional leadership that is friendlier to his views but is also facing the same dynamics that scuttled his last attempt: a cooperative Senate but bipartisan opposition in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has told the White House she cannot pass a bill with Democratic votes alone, nor will she seek to enforce party discipline on the issue.

Bush will have to produce at least 70 Republican votes before Pelosi considers a vote on comprehensive immigration legislation, a task that might be difficult for a president with low approval ratings.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party's conservatives, particularly freshmen who seized their seats from Republicans, had to weather a barrage of attacks on the issue before their victories in November last year, and are not eager to relive the experience.

A recently leaked White House presentation devised after weeks of closed meetings with Republican senators suggests some hardening of Bush's positions.

The new proposals will suggest that illegal alien workers apply for three-year work visas, renewable indefinitely at a cost of 3,500 U.S. dollars each time.

In order to obtain a green card that would make them legal permanent residents, they would have to return to their home countries, apply for re-entry at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and pay a fine of 10,000 dollars.

More green cards would be made available to skilled workers by limiting visas for parents, children and siblings of U.S. citizens.

Temporary workers would not be able to bring their families into the country.

Key Democrats have said the plan would unacceptably split families while creating a permanent underclass of temporary workers with no prospects of fully participating in U.S. society.


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