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Bush On Immigration Reform

During his State of the Union address to both houses of the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush said he supports comprehensive immigration reform:

"Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America - with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country."

Immigration reform, said Mr. Bush, should include both stepped-up enforcement and a guest worker program:

"To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology. Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border - and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. We'll enforce our immigration laws at the work site and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law."

President Bush said that immigration reform should reflect America's historical openness to immigrants:

"We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty."

The United States, said President Bush, needs "a serious, civil, and conclusive debate" over immigration, leading to comprehensive reform.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.