Skip to comments.Bush Pushes Congress to OK Immigrants
Posted on 03/30/2006 6:00:20 PM PST by NormsRevenge
CANCUN, Mexico - With Mexican President Vicente Fox at his side, President Bush gave Congress a long-distance push Thursday to open the United States to immigrant workers who have been sneaking across the borders to fill low-paying jobs.
"We don't want people sneaking into our country that are going to do jobs that Americans won't do," Bush said at the end of a private meeting with Fox, where the issue was on top of the agenda. "We want them coming in in an orderly way, which will take pressure off both our borders."
The meeting between the Mexican and U.S. leaders came on the first day of a two-day North American summit that also includes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper, meeting with Bush for the first time since taking office two months ago with the promise of building stronger ties with Washington, said the two countries are moving past their "tension" over Iraq.
Still, he took a combative stance on their long-standing dispute over U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, saying Canada would "pursue all its legal options" if he and Bush can't work out an agreement.
But it was the immigration debate, which has dominated the U.S. Senate this week, that took center stage in talks conducted in a beachfront resort surrounded by bikini-clad spring breakers. A new immigration law could affect as many as 6 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States about half of all those who are estimated to have sneaked in from other countries seeking new opportunities they can't find at home.
Bush is pushing for a guest worker program that would let foreigners in low-paying jobs stay temporarily, which Fox says is a good first step toward some form of legal status for all Mexican illegal immigrants.
The issue has united the two leaders, whose friendship dates back to Bush's time as Texas governor but was strained over Fox's objections to the war in Iraq. But immigration has divided Bush's Republican party, with business interests who want cheap labor battling conservatives who want a get-tough policy against illegal immigrants.
Fox suggested the issue is largely out of their hands now.
"The matter is in the Congress of the United States and that is where the decision will be made," Fox said. "It is no longer between President Bush and President Fox."
But both leaders were clearly trying to sway the debate.
"I told the president there is a legislative process that's going forward," Bush said. "And that it may look cumbersome to some, but that's how our democracy works."
Bush added, "I'm optimistic that we can get a bill done."
The summit included plenty of time to be neighborly. The three leaders dressed casually in open-collared shirts and strolled together among the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza before sitting down for more intense one-on-one meetings. Fox planned a lavish dinner for his guests.
After spending the morning sightseeing, Bush had a few hours off before the formal meetings began. He used part of the time to work up a sweat in his hotel's gym.
There was tight security despite the fun-loving atmosphere generated by college students who have flocked to Cancun for spring break. Gunboats patrolled the turquoise waters off Bush's spa resort, and fencing kept out all but hotel guests. "I'd like to make sure you work more than you play," Bush joked to reporters.
The trilateral meeting was expected to be Fox's last, since he is set to leave office this year because of term limits. Bush lauded Fox for stabilizing the Mexican economy and improving the net worth of his people.
"That's important for the American economy as well," Bush said. "The more net worth there is in Mexico, the more likely it is the Mexican may be wanting to buy a U.S. product. And vice versa, by the way."
In his meeting with Harper, Bush sought to make the newly elected leader look good at home, making it a point to stress how hard the Canadian leader had pressed him on the softwood lumber issue. Harper "made an emphatic case," Bush said.
"I appreciate his steely resolve to get something done," the president said. "I appreciate your pushing."
But Bush didn't give Harper much of substance, saying only that "my intent is to negotiate in good faith and a timely fashion to resolve this issue."
On the Net:
U.S. Trade Representative: http://www.ustr.gov
White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov
President Bush and Mexico's President Vicente Fox shake hands after their bilateral meeting in Cancun, Mexico, Thursday, March 30, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) shakes hands with U.S. President George W. Bush at the end of a bilateral meeting in Cancun, Mexico March 30, 2006. Harper, Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox are in Cancun to discuss security and immigration issues at the three-way summit of North American leaders. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
L-R: US President George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox and Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper talk during tour at the arqueologic area of Chichen Itza in Yucatan State. The leaders took the tour prior to embarking on serious talks about North American trade and immigration.(AFP/Alfredo Estrella)
The Three Amigos
McCain is on H&C now. at least Hannity is asking some real questions.
Be a good time to put up that border fence...but I guess Air Force One would just fly over it...
Thanks for the heads-up
George Will says it would take 200,000 buses to round up all the illegals and that the Reagan amnesty didn't work.
Maybe we could borrow some of NO's buses, they don't seme to have much use for them.
Another lie from a corrupt third world leader..this will be the end of the of American sovereignty..given 30 years or so...
If they do, they will surely lose my vote.
Oh, please give us a report afterwards...
What could he have meant by that bizarre statement?
For what reason did we break away from England over 200 years ago?
THERE IS NO JOB AMERICANS WON'T DO! There is only a wage that Americans won't work for. And if you took away welfare, you'd see that little bit of pickity-snippit vanish, too.
Just once, I'd like to hear someone ask a proponent of mass immigration and amnesty (like McCain) about the insane, potentially massive collision between racial preferences and the mass importation of people eligible for them (though it will be a bigger deal for the children of such immigrants).
I know I'm never going to hear that from a Katie Couric or some presidential debate moderator, but it would be nice if someone like Hannity would think to ask it.
He is a new worlder doing his father's bidding. This will mark the beginning of a nation of warring factions.
Was Ronald Reagan an "arrogant psychopath who deems himself King, Lord, and Master" when he signed amnesty into law?
I promised my spouse I would no longer post anything negative about this issue.
Whew I kept my promise :)
I heard that too. does someone have the actual quote?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.