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September 5, 2001
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President and Minority Leader Discuss Priorities, September 4, 2001
Q Mr. President, do you agree with President Fox's assessment that immigration reform would take four to six years? And are you going to -- why won't you have a guest worker deal at the summit this week?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I look forward to talking with my friend again about this subject. Immigration reform is a very complex subject. It's one that obviously entails dealings with Mexico, but there are other immigrants in the nation -- other folks from countries other than Mexico.
I have explained to the President that there's no appetite for blanket amnesty in Congress. I've also told him our desire is to make it easier for an employer looking for somebody who wants to work and somebody who wants to work to come together. But that in itself is a complex process. And so this is a complex issue. This is going to take a while to bring all the different interests to the table.
But we've made good progress so far. And I'll tell him that this administration -- I know many members of Congress are committed to treating Mexicans with respect when they come to our country. We want them to be treated like you'd want any neighbor to be treated.
Secondly, that we've got to do a better job of making our borders more safe. Thirdly, that we'll look at a guest worker program that will benefit America as well as benefit the Mexicans. But there's a lot of work to be done. But we're making good progress. You're going to find that this is a -- two administrations that are cooperating more closely than other administrations in the past have. And it's a -- we've got a great relationship. You just happened to mention one issue that's quite complex.
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