The White House
President George W. Bush
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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

      President Bush Discusses Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Glynco, Georgia
      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:

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 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. 

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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