The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 17, 2007

Fact Sheet: Border Security and Immigration Reform
Administration And Bipartisan Group Of Senators Reach Bipartisan Agreement On Comprehensive Immigration Reform

     Fact sheet President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Bill
     Fact sheet In Focus: Immigration

Today, Administration Officials And A Bipartisan Group Of Senators Reached Agreement On Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation.  The proposal includes:

Putting Border Security And Enforcement First

Border Security And Worksite Enforcement Benchmarks Must Be Met Before A Temporary Worker Program Is Implemented.  These benchmarks include:

The Proposal Establishes New Penalties For Border Crimes And Gives The Border Patrol Additional Tools To Stop Illegal Border Crossings.  Through the deployment of additional Border Patrol agents with supporting equipment, the construction of additional fencing and vehicle barriers in targeted areas, and the development of a proper mix of sensors, radar, and cameras, the proposal establishes a true commitment to securing our borders. 

Providing Tools For Employers To Verify The Eligibility Of The Workers They Hire

Employers Will Be Required To Verify The Work Eligibility Of All Employees, While All Workers Will Be Required To Present Stronger And More Verifiable Identification Documents.  Tough new anti-fraud measures will be implemented and stiff penalties imposed on employers who break the law.

Creating A Temporary Worker Program

To Relieve Pressure On The Border And Provide A Lawful Channel To Meet The Needs Of Our Economy, The Proposal Creates A Temporary Worker Program.  The program allows workers to enter the country to fill jobs that Americans are not doing.  The temporary worker program:

No Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants

Illegal Immigrants Who Come Out Of The Shadows Will Be Given Probationary Status.  To maintain their probationary status, they must pass a background check, remain employed, and maintain a clean criminal record. 

Illegal Immigrants Who Fulfill Their Probationary Requirements Can Apply For A Z Card, Which Will Enable Them To Live, Work, And Travel Freely.  Z card holders will be required to pay a $1,000 fine, meet accelerated English and civics requirements, remain employed, and renew their visa every four years.

Z Card Holders Will Have An Opportunity To Apply For A Green Card, But Only After:

Strengthening The Assimilation Of New Immigrants

The Proposal Declares That English Is The Language Of The United States And Calls On The United States Government To Preserve And Enhance It, As Well As Enacting Accelerated English Requirements For Some Immigrants.  The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society and embrace our common identity as Americans – our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, and an ability to speak and write the English language.  Therefore, the Secretary of Education is directed to make an English instruction program freely available over the Internet.  The DHS Office of Citizenship is expanded to include coordinating assimilation efforts in its mission, and additional funding is authorized for the Office.

Establishing A Merit System For Future Immigration

The Proposal Establishes A New Merit-Based System To Select Future Immigrants Based On The Skills And Attributes They Will Bring To The United States.  A merit system is used by many other countries.

Ending Chain Migration

In Place Of The Current System Where Nearly Two-Thirds Of Green Cards Are Awarded To Relatives Of U.S. Citizens, Our Immigration System Will Be Reformed To Better Balance The Importance Of Family Connections With The Economic Needs Of Our Country. 

Clearing The Family Backlog Within Eight Years

Family Members Who Have Applied Legally, And Lawfully Waited Their Turn In Line, Will Receive Their Green Card Within The Next Eight Years.  Today, millions of family members of U.S. citizens wait years in line for a green card, with some waits estimated at as long as 30 years.  


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