- Jul 5, 2004
- Reaction score
Bush spoke in Yuma today about immigration reform. He is appealing to Republican right wingers in order to pass immigration bill.
Bush to relaunch push for immigration reform
70 HOUSE GOP VOTES NEEDED TO CONSIDER BILL, SPEAKER SAYS
By Jonathan Weisman
Article Launched: 04/09/2007 01:32:01 AM PDT
WASHINGTON - President Bush will relaunch his push for a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration laws today in Arizona, with a fresh speech on the border, a new congressional leadership that is friendlier to his views but facing the same dynamics that scuttled his last attempt: a cooperative Senate but bipartisan opposition in the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, 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 she considers a vote on comprehensive immigration legislation, a task that might be difficult for a president saddled with low approval ratings.
Her 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, and are not eager to relive the experience, Democratic aides and lawmakers say. Some of those freshmen - such as Reps. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., Nick Lampson, D-Texas, and Heath Shuler, D-N.C. - are opposed to any bill that would allow any of the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants legal residence or citizenship, at least until new border controls are implemented and working.
"I've been respectful with my leadership, but I have been very firm on where I stand," said Boyda, who endured a string of attack ads last fall from former Rep. Jim Ryun accusing her of favoring "amnesty" for undocumented workers. "I think they know I will be voting to represent my district, and they want me to do that."
In his speech in Yuma, Bush will stress four elements that he has to see in an immigration bill: more border security; better enforcement of immigration laws, especially laws against the hiring of undocumented workers; a temporary-worker program to address labor shortages; and "resolving without amnesty and without animosity the status of the millions of illegal immigrants that are here right now," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.
A recently leaked White House presentation devised after weeks of closed meetings with Republican senators suggests some hardening of his positions, however.
As spelled out in the White House presentation, which aides describe as ideas for debate, undocumented workers could apply for three-year work visas, renewable indefinitely at a cost of $3,500 each time. To get 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 $10,000 fine.
In a new twist, 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.