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Bush Calls for Immigration Reform, Senate Prepares for Heated Debate

  • VOA News

President Bush is calling for comprehensive immigration reform, as the US Senate prepares for what is expected to be a contentious debate on the issue.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush highlighted his proposed temporary worker program that would allow immigrants to enter the country legally for a certain period of time to do jobs Americans are not willing to do.

Meanwhile, thousands of people packed the streets of Los Angeles to rally on Saturday against proposals to toughen immigration laws. The demonstration comes one day after thousands staged similar rallies in Los Angeles and other cities.

The Senate is to consider in the coming week bills that would strengthen immigration laws and make it a felony to be in the United States illegally. The legislation also calls for the building of fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexico border, and would impose penalties for employers who hire illegals.

In his radio address, President Bush said the United States must enforce its laws and that he firmly opposes amnesty for immigrants who are already in the country illegally.

He acknowledged that debate on the issue is emotional, but said the United States does not have to choose between being a welcoming society and being a lawful society -- he said it can be both.
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