10.19.2005

Senate Hearings/Bush Push

The day after the Senate hearings and new White House positioning, the New York Times (reg.req.) writes: "President Bush vowed on Tuesday to get tough on illegal immigrants even as he urged Congress to adopt a temporary-worker program that would allow some to remain in the United States for as long as six years." The story goes on to sum up appearances by Chertoff and Chao: "Similar sentiments were voiced earlier in the day by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that increasing enforcement along the nation's borders would not alone repair the nation's immigration system. They urged the adoption of a temporary-worker program." The usual arguments were made back and forth, but Chertoff summed things up this way:"'It's a three-legged stool," Mr. Chertoff said. "It requires tough enforcement at the border, tough interior enforcement and a temporary-worker program to deal with the very real draw.'"

The story made no mention of other testimony, but you can read the official statements of Sharry here, Krikorian here and Massey here. Transcrips are also available of official statements by Chertoff, Chao, and Senators Cornyn and Kennedy at the hearings' official page here.

For coverage contrast, here's the right-leaning Washington Times: "President Bush said yesterday that his goal is eventually to expel "every single" illegal alien from the United States as his administration pressed Congress to pass a guest-worker program ... The sudden hard line comes as Mr. Bush is trying to assuage his conservative political base, much of which is upset over his nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court."

You can read Bush's full statement here, made during the signing ceremony for the Homeland Security Appropriations Act for 2006. After reviewing a laundry list of border enforcement policies and increased spending, Bush said this: " Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to put food on the table. But because there is no legal way for them to do so, through a temporary worker program, they're putting pressure on our border. It makes sense to have a rational plan that says, you can come and work on a temporary basis if an employer can't find an American to do the job."