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Bush administration unveils new immigration reforms

[JURIST] The Bush administration Friday announced new reforms [fact sheet] that are designed to "address border security and immigration challenges." In a statement [text] Friday, Bush said that the new meausres "represent steps my Administration can take within the boundaries of existing law to better secure our borders, improve worksite enforcement, streamline existing temporary worker programs, and help new immigrants assimilate into American society." Bush continued:

Although the Congress has not addressed our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform legislation, my Administration will continue to take every possible step to build upon the progress already made in strengthening our borders, enforcing our worksite laws, keeping our economy well-supplied with vital workers, and helping new Americans learn English.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez [official profiles] said that the federal government will bring the number of Border Patrol agents to 18,300 and build an additional 370 miles of fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers by the end of 2008. The administration will also seek to allocate more funding to increase detention capacity so additional illegal aliens "caught trying to cross the border illegally are held until they can be removed." The Department of Homeland Security will also implement stricter rules on illegal hiring [JURIST reports] as well as phase back in the passport identification entry requirement for all sea and land ports of entry beginning on January 31, 2008. The administration will also seek to "streamline existing guest-worker programs" to encourage foreign workers to legally enter the United States.

The measures are the latest efforts by the administration to address immigration reform [JURIST news archive] following the rejection [JURIST report] of a proposed immigration reform bill by the Senate in June. AP has more.

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