May 13th, 2007 06:53 EST
Bush and Comprehensive Immigration Reform
President Bush called on senators to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that will respect U.S. federal laws, meet the legitimate needs of workers and employers and treat people with dignity.
Speaking to the American public May 12 in his weekly radio address, Bush looked ahead to the upcoming week when the Senate is expected to take up the issue of immigration reform.
“Reforming our immigration system is an important opportunity to show that elected officials in Washington can work together to find practical solutions to the problems that matter most,” the president said.
Bush noted that a new comprehensive immigration reform bill must address and accomplish five clear objectives in order to be successful:
• Continue efforts to improve border security;
• Provide employers with better tools to help verify work eligibility status of their employees;
• Create a temporary work program that allows foreign workers to legally enter the United States to fill jobs that Americans are not taking;
• Resolve “without amnesty and without animosity” the status of illegal immigrants already residing in the United States;
• Uphold “the American tradition of the melting pot” by helping foreigners to assimilate into American society and learn to speak and write the English language;
“We must address all elements of this problem together, or none of them will be solved at all,” the president said.
Bush expressed optimism about the possibility of passing comprehensive immigration legislation this year, saying: “We've been addressing our differences in good faith, and we're building consensus.”
“Coming together on a good bill that includes all five elements, we will make America more secure. We will make our economy more competitive,” he said. “And we will show the world that America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.”
For more information on U.S. policy, see Visas and Immigration.
An audio link to the address is available on the White House Web site.
Following is the transcript of the president’s radio address:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
10:06 A.M. EDT
Saturday, May 12, 2007
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, the Senate will take up an important priority for our Nation: comprehensive immigration reform.
Over the past few weeks, leaders from both parties have met at the White House and on Capitol Hill to find areas of agreement and iron out our differences. These meetings have been productive. We've been addressing our differences in good faith, and we're building consensus. Both Republicans and Democrats understand that successful immigration reform must be bipartisan.
Democrats and Republicans agree that our current immigration system is in need of reform. We agree that we need a system where our laws are respected. We agree that we need a system that meets the legitimate needs of workers and employers. And we agree that we need a system that treats people with dignity and helps newcomers assimilate into our society.
We must address all elements of this problem together, or none of them will be solved at all. We must not repeat the mistakes that caused previous efforts at immigration reform to fail. So I support a comprehensive immigration reform bill that accomplishes five clear objectives:
First, America must continue our efforts to improve security at our borders.
Second, we must hold employers to account for the workers they hire, by providing better tools for them to verify documents and work eligibility.
Third, we must create a temporary worker program that takes pressure off the border by providing foreign workers a legal and orderly way to enter our country to fill jobs that Americans are not doing.
Fourth, we must resolve the status of millions of illegal immigrants who are here already, without amnesty and without animosity.
Finally, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot. Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, and an ability to speak and write the English language. And the success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society and embrace our common identity as Americans.
Coming together on a good bill that includes all five elements, we will make America more secure. We will make our economy more competitive. And we will show the world that America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.
Reforming our immigration system is an important opportunity to show that elected officials in Washington can work together to find practical solutions to the problems that matter most. I thank the Senators who have been working hard on this issue. I am optimistic we can pass a comprehensive immigration bill and get this problem solved for the American people this year.
Thank you for listening.