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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bush: Border policies are working

    President Bush is greeted by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano after arriving at the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station yesterday in Yuma.
    President Bush is greeted by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano after arriving at the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station yesterday in Yuma.

    President Bush praised successes in border enforcement policies during a visit to Yuma yesterday and said he thinks it’s time to adopt a temporary-worker program while still holding U.S. employers accountable for the workers they hire.

    Although Congress is divided about how to enforce the law without eroding the labor pool or drastically altering people’s lives, Bush said his plan is working.

    “”It’s amazing the progress that’s been made,”” Bush told border officials. “”I was most impressed by your strategy, but more impressed by the fact that it’s now being implemented.””

    In a bill passed in October, Bush called for more than 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Bush noted that there were two new layers of fencing at the Yuma border site that were not there when he gave a speech in Yuma last May.

    During his visit, Bush also took a look at one of the unmanned “”Predator”” airplanes that have recently been deployed to the border region.

    The president’s new immigration policy would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain work visas, but then require them to return to their home country and pay fees to become legal U.S. residents. The immigrants could apply for three-year work visas that are indefinitely eligible for renewal, with the cost for each renewal at $3,500.

    Some UA professors said they are skeptical of Bush’s plan.

    John A. Garcia, a political science professor, said he noticed the costs for the visas were higher than Bush had previously said they would be.

    Garcia said he thought Bush succeeded in his main plan to get a comprehensive immigration reform back on Congress’ agenda, but falls short in other areas.

    The national budget is already “”stretched out to the max”” in other areas and with the cost of the border fencing project exceeding millions of dollars per mile, there has to be a better solution, Garcia said.

    Bush’s plan would allow illegal immigrants to get permanent U.S. resident status by applying for a green card through a U.S. embassy, but they would have to pay a $10,000 fee prior to gaining approval.

    While the president has said he wants to make employers pay fines for hiring illegal workers, companies claim they can’t operate successfully without immigrant workers.

    Garcia agreed with the president’s initiative to formulate a guest worker program for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants that work in U.S. each day.

    “”Maybe more fines should be imposed on the employers of illegal immigrants rather than enforcing heavy fines on poor workers,”” Garcia said.

    Lynn Marcus, director of the UA immigration clinic and an adjunct law professor, said Bush hasn’t shown the necessary leadership necessary regarding the immigration debate.

    “”With a multifaceted problem you have to have a multifaceted solution,”” Marcus said.

    Marcus said undocumented workers are being forced to bring their families into the U.S. illegally, and become entrenched in the country as a result of Bush’s plan.

    Bush’s plan focuses too much on enforcement and will not be able to stop the reasons why immigrants continue to enter our country in the first place, Marcus said.

    Bush said his border enforcement policy is working and needs to be ramped up, but Marcus said many Americans have been disappointed with the progress up to now.

    – The Associated Press contributed to this report

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