Jan 8 2004
Bush Proposes Sweeping Changes In Immigration Policy
President George Bush announced a new immigration program that would revolutionize the status of immigration policy in the U.S. and would give millions of illegal immigrants the opportunity to become legal residents in the U.S. The new Guest Worker Program will offer legal status as temporary workers to nearly eight million illegal immigrants currently working in the U.S. or wishing to enter the U.S. to participate in the program.
The Guest Worker Program, which still needs Congressional approval, will enable illegal immigrants currently holding jobs for which American workers are not available to change to legal status and work temporarily in the U.S. for a period of three years. These Guest Workers will then be able to apply for permanent residency, like any other nonimmigrant in the U.S.
Illegal immigrants currently in and outside of the U.S. can participate in this program if they can find an employer in the U.S. for a position for which an American worker is not available. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. will be required to pay a small fee for this program.
"Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling," said Bush, regarding these proposed changes in immigration policy. "Workers who seek only to earn a living end up in the shadows of American life --fearful, often abused and exploited. When they are victimized by crime, they are afraid to call the police, or seek recourse in the legal system …. We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane. And I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the lives of American citizens."