Bush says temporary worker plan will not lead to amnesty for illegal immigrants

[JURIST] President George W. Bush Monday called for more stringent Mexican border controls [transcript] and rejected the idea that his immigration proposals would allow amnesty for illegal immigrants, while at the same time vowing to keep the US "a welcoming society" and a "compassionate nation that values the newcomer." Bush's proposed temporary worker program [press release; fact sheet] has been criticized by Republicans as providing "backdoor amnesty" for illegal immigrants at a time when the US is increasingly fearful of terrorists entering the country through its borders. The Republican party would prefer to strengthen borders and members have proposed a Mexican border wall [JURIST report] to combat illegal immigration. The President responded that "[t]he program that I proposed would not create an automatic path to citizenship. It wouldn't provide amnesty. I opposed amnesty." The proposal has been designed to give approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US a chance to register and work for up to six years before returning to their home countries for a year to apply for a new work permit. Bush said the plan would create incentives to encourage legal immigration while at the same time would identify who was in the country thereby serving national security interests. Reuters has more.

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