Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bush: Migrant workers do the jobs Americans don't want to do

Bush defends role of migrant workers
By Caroline Daniel and Edward Alden in Washington (FT)

Immigration dominates southern US politics
By Matthew Wells in Carlsbad, Southern California (BBC)

The debate on illegal immigration has intensified after protests in a number of cities against a bill passed in the House of Representatives making it a felony for immigrants to remain in the country illegally. Bush has proposed tightening border security alongside a guest worker program to address the problem of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the US. The House last year approved a bill that would crack down on illegal immigration without offering new channels for legal workers.

The Senate judiciary committee on Monday night approved legislation, by a 12-8 vote, that will be debated by the full Senate this week. But the committee also pledged to beef up enforcement by hiring as many as 14,000 additional border patrol agents over the next five years and increasing detention facilities for those caught in the country illegally.

Immigration reform was initially put on the agenda by Mr Bush’s advisers as a way of attracting Hispanic voters, helping to forge a permanent Republican majority. It is estimated that approximately 12 million people are living in the US illegally.

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