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Bush rejects mass deportations of illegals in new pitch for immigration reform bill

[JURIST] President Bush Monday rejected the option of deportation for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US, asking Congress to keep in mind “that we are talking about human beings, decent human beings” as it prepared to take up the immigration reform [JURIST news archive] issue again after a two week recess. In a speech [text] to the Orange County Business Council in Irvine, California, the President said:

Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work. You can hear people out there hollering it's going to work. It's not going to work. It just -- and so therefore, what do we do with people who are here?
Instead Bush offered his support of a stalled Senate immigration bill [JURIST report] that allows for the eventual citizenship of illegal immigrants and the creation of a temporary worker program. The administration hopes to have an immigration bill approved by the Senate soon so it can get to a conference committee where a compromise can be reached with a House version passed [JURIST report] earlier this year. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] indicated Friday that he will seek passage [JURIST report] of an immigration bill by Memorial Day by pushing the Senate version of the legislation, S 2454 [summary], which was held up before Easter despite a compromise agreement [PDF summary]. AP has more.

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