Excerpts From Bush’s Speech on Immigration

Excerpts of President Bush’s address Monday night on immigration, as released by the White House.


On Bush’s ideas for immigration overhaul:

“We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a
nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has
strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory
goals. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the
same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and
we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair.”


On border security:

“Since I became
president, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent
and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. …
We have apprehended and sent home about 6 million people entering
America illegally.

“Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border,
and I am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to
provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at
the border.”


On a temporary worker program:

“The reality is that
there are many people on the other side of our border who will do
anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk
across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of
18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our
border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border
effectively we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak


On enforcement:

“We need to hold
employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law
to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often
cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the
widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive
immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents
and work eligibility. …

“A tamper-proof card would help us enforce the law and leave employers
with no excuse for violating it. And by making it harder for illegal
immigrants to find work in our country, we would discourage people from
crossing the border illegally in the first place.”


On amnesty:

“We must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants
are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to
citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair
to those who are here lawfully and it would invite further waves of
illegal immigration.”


On assimilation:

“We must honor the
great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one
nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon
helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common
identity as Americans. Americans are bound together by our shared
ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly,
and an ability to speak and write the English language.”


On the tone of the debate:

“We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our
debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value
no matter what their citizenship papers say.”

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