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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 9, 2007
Fact Sheet: Acting This Year to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President Bush Discusses Progress Securing Our Border And Outlines Five Objectives For Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Today, President Bush Toured The Yuma Sector Of The Border In Arizona And Made Remarks On Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In May 2006, President Bush visited the Yuma Sector Border and announced Operation Jump Start, under which up to 6,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to the Southern border to complement the work of the Border Patrol. Today, President Bush checked on progress in securing the Yuma Sector Border and dedicated the new Yuma Border Patrol Station.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Accomplish Five Clear Objectives
1. Securing The Border
Securing The Border Is A Critical Part Of Our Strategy For Comprehensive Immigration Reform, And We Are Increasing Manpower And Improving Infrastructure And Technology At The Border. Since the President took office in 2001, we have more than doubled funding for border security from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion in 2007. We have expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 agents in 2001 to about 13,000 agents today. By the end of 2008, we will have a total of more than 18,000 agents, doubling the size of the Border Patrol under the President's leadership.
Under Operation Jump Start, National Guard Members Are Supporting The Border Patrol In Texas, California, Arizona, And New Mexico. As we work to complete upgrades at the border, Operation Jump Start is providing the Border Patrol with immediate reinforcements. National Guard Troops deployed under Operation Jump Start are assisting the Border Patrol with surveillance, intelligence, construction, and logistics.
We Have Effectively Ended The Practice Of "Catch And Release" For Every Non-Mexican Apprehended At The Southern Border. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants caught crossing the Southern border are Mexicans, and virtually all are sent back home within 24 hours. For years, however, most apprehended non-Mexican illegal immigrants were released back into society on this side of the border with a notice to appear at a future court date because the government did not have enough detention space to hold them. The President believes this practice is unacceptable, and we have effectively ended it for every non-Mexican apprehended at the Southern border.
2. Creating A Temporary Worker Program
We Cannot Fully Secure The Border Unless We Take Pressure Off The Border And That Requires A Temporary Worker Program. By creating a lawful and orderly channel for foreign workers to come to America on a temporary basis, a temporary worker program would help reduce the number of people trying to sneak past the Border Patrol, freeing agents to focus on apprehending violent criminals and terrorists who pose a threat to our security.
3. Holding Employers Accountable For The Workers They Hire
Enforcing Immigration Laws At The Worksite Is A Vital Part Of Any Successful Reform. We are cracking down on employers who knowingly violate the law. To make worksite enforcement practical on a large scale, the President has called for the creation of a tamper-proof identification card for legal foreign workers and a better system for businesses to verify the legal status of their workers. By taking these steps, we will make it easier for businesses to obey the law and leave them no excuse for violating it.
4. Resolving The Status Of The Millions Of Illegal Immigrants Already In The Country
The Administration Is Working With Democrats And Republicans To Find A Practical Answer That Lies Between Granting Automatic American Citizenship To Every Illegal Immigrant And Deporting Every Illegal Immigrant.
5. Finding New Ways To Help Newcomers Assimilate Into Our Society
We Will Honor The American Tradition Of The Melting Pot And Help Immigrants Assimilate By Learning Our History, Our Values, And The English Language.
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