Bush Proposes New Program for Undocumented Workers

President Bush is proposing a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing U.S. employers when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. The program would be open to new foreign workers and to the undocumented men and women currently employed in the United States. This new program would allow workers who currently hold jobs to come out of hiding and participate legally in America’s economy while not encouraging further illegal behavior.

Applicants who wish to participate in the program must prove they have a job here to become eligible for an initial three-year work permit. The program will require the return of temporary workers to their home country after their period of work has concluded. During the temporary work period, workers would be allowed movement across the U.S. borders so they can maintain roots in their home country, according to Bush, who says that he believes the program will make America a more compassionate and more humane country, while strengthening the economy.

Undocumented workers now will be required to pay a one-time fee to register for the temporary worker program. Those who seek to join the program from abroad, and have complied with U.S. immigration laws, will not have to pay any fee.

“The contributions of immigrants to America continue. About 14 percent of our nation’s civilian workforce is foreign-born. Most begin their working lives in America by taking hard jobs and clocking long hours in important industries. Many immigrants also start businesses,” said Bush.

“As a nation that values immigration, and depends on immigrants, we should have immigration laws that work and make us proud. Yet today we do not. Instead, we see many employers turning to the illegal labor market. We see millions of hard-working men and women condemned to fear and insecurity in a massive, undocumented economy. Illegal entry across our borders makes more difficult the urgent task of securing the homeland. The system is not working. Our nation needs an immigration system that serves the American economy, and reflects the American Dream,” he said.

Source: “President Bush Proposes New Temporary Worker Program,” www.whitehouse.gov.

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