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 Home > News & Policies > May 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 29, 2007

Fact Sheet: Securing the Border First
Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill Includes Meaningful Border Security And Worksite Enforcement Triggers

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Glynco, Georgia
     Fact sheet In Focus: Immigration

"…[T]he fundamental question is, will elected officials have the courage necessary to put a comprehensive immigration plan in place that makes it more likely we can enforce our border and, at the same time, uphold the great … immigrant traditions of the United States of America. … Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like.  If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people.  Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all..."

- President George W. Bush, 5/29/07

Today, President Bush Discussed The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill At The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) In Glynco, Georgia.  The United States depends on Federal agents like those trained at FLETC to enforce immigration laws at the border and across the country.  By making enforcement of immigration laws the highest priority and addressing all elements of comprehensive reform, the bipartisan immigration bill now under consideration by the Senate will help put an end to illegal immigration and keep the U.S. economy strong.

Three Key Points On The Bipartisan Immigration Bill's Commitment To Border Security And Worksite Enforcement

  1. Under The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill, Temporary Worker And Z Visas Will Not Be Issued Until Meaningful Benchmarks For Border Security And Worksite Enforcement Are Met.

  2. The Bill Commits The Most Resources To Border Safety And Security In U.S. History.

  3. The Bill Recognizes That Enforcement Alone Will Not Work To Secure The Borders And Meet The Needs Of The U.S. Economy.  The temporary worker program will help immigration enforcement officers control the border by creating a lawful and orderly channel for foreign workers to fill jobs that Americans are not doing.

Enforcing Immigration Laws Is The Bill's Highest Priority

Under The Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill, Temporary Worker And Z Visas Will Not Be Issued Until Border Security Benchmarks Are Met.  These triggers include:

  • Increasing border fencing.
  • Increasing vehicle barriers at the Southern border.
  • Increasing the size of the Border Patrol.
  • Installing ground-based radar and camera towers along the Southern border.
  • Ensuring resources are available to maintain the effective end of "Catch and Release" for every non-Mexican apprehended at the borders.

A Reliable Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) Must Also Be Ready To Process New Hires Before Any Temporary Worker Or Z Visas Are Issued.  Employers will be required to verify the work eligibility of all employees using the EEVS, and all workers will be required to present stronger and more readily verifiable identification documents.  Tough new anti-fraud measures will be implemented to restrict fraud and identity theft.

  • The EEVS Will Require Workers To Present A Limited Range Of Secure Government-Issued Or Government-Authorized IDs, Which Will Be Checked Electronically Against Federal And State Databases.
  • Employers Who Knowingly Hire Illegal Workers Will Face Stiff New Criminal And Civil Penalties.  The maximum civil fine for hiring illegal workers will rise from $2,000 to $5,000 for first offenders and from $10,000 to $25,000 for three-time offenders.  The maximum criminal penalty for a pattern or practice of hiring illegal workers will increase 25-fold, from $3,000 per alien to $75,000 per alien. 

The Bill Builds Upon The Administration's Record Of Achievement In Border Security And Worksite Enforcement

Since The President Took Office In 2001, The Administration Has More Than Doubled Funding For Border Security From $4.6 Billion In 2001 To $10.4 Billion In 2007.  As a result of this investment and other deterrence factors, the number of people apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border is down by nearly 27 percent in 2007 from this point in 2006.

The Administration Is Expanding Manpower And Improving Infrastructure And Technology At The Border. 

  • The Administration has expanded the Border Patrol from approximately 9,000 agents in 2001 to more than 13,000 agents today – and by the end of 2008, there will be a total of more than 18,000 agents, doubling the size of the Border Patrol since the President took office.
  • Today, there are in place 78 miles of permanent vehicle barrier and 86 miles of primary fencing, part of 370 miles of fencing planned by the end of 2008.

Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) Has Adopted A Much More Aggressive Approach Toward Cracking Down On Employers Who Knowingly Hire Illegal Aliens.  Arrests for criminal violations brought in worksite enforcement actions – the most effective means of enforcement and best measures of ICE's new approach – have increased significantly from 24 in FY 1999 to a record 716 in FY 2006. There have been 588 criminal arrests since the beginning of FY 2007.

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