strategy for enhancing the United States’ homeland
security through comprehensive immigration reform would
involve better securing of U.S. borders by preventing illegal
crossings and strengthening enforcement of immigration laws,
according to a White House fact sheet released November
The release coincided with the president’s
speech to Customs and Border Protection agents in Tucson,
Arizona, in which he outlined that strategy and key elements
of his proposed temporary worker program.
Following is the fact sheet:
(begin fact sheet)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 28, 2005
Securing America Through Immigration Reform
Today's Presidential Action:
Today, President Bush Outlined The
Strategy To Enhance America's Homeland Security Through
Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Addressing the
Customs and Border Protection agents stationed in southern
Arizona, the President discussed the strategy to secure
the border, prevent illegal crossings, and strengthen enforcement
of immigration laws. The President also proposed to take
pressure off the border by creating a Temporary Worker Program
that meets the economy's demands while rejecting amnesty
for those who break America's laws.
Securing The Border Is Essential
To Securing The Homeland. Since he took office,
the President has increased funding for border security
by 60 percent. Border agents have apprehended and sent home
more than 4.5 million people coming into the country illegally
– including about 350,000 with criminal records. The
U.S. border must be open to trade and tourism – and
closed to criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.
The President Will Work With Congress
To Pass And Sign Into Law Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for the
Administration. Already, Congress is making great strides
and has a chance to move forward on a strategy to enforce
immigration laws, secure America, and uphold the Nation's
deepest values. The President will continue working with
Congress so that he can sign a comprehensive immigration
reform bill into law in 2006.
The President's Strategy For
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Begins With Securing The Border. To secure the
border, the President is pursuing a three-part plan.
First, The U.S. Will Return Every
Illegal Entrant Caught Crossing The Southwest Border
– With No Exceptions. More than 85 percent of apprehended
illegal immigrants are from Mexico, and most are immediately
escorted back across the border within 24 hours. To prevent
them from trying to cross again, the Federal government
is using interior repatriation whereby Mexican illegal entrants
are returned to their hometowns, making it more difficult
for them to attempt another crossing. This approach is showing
great promise. In a West Arizona desert pilot program, nearly
35,000 illegal immigrants were returned to Mexico through
interior repatriation, and only about 8 percent turned up
trying to cross the border in that sector again. The Administration
is working to expand interior repatriation to ensure that
when those who violate the country's immigration laws are
sent home, they stay home.
• The Administration Is Ending The
Practice Of "Catch And Release." Because detention
facilities lack bed space, most non-Mexican illegal immigrants
apprehended are released and directed to return for a court
appearance. However, 75 percent fail to show. Last year,
only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across
our Southwest border were sent home. Addressing this problem,
the President has signed legislation increasing the number
of beds in detention facilities by more than 10 percent
over the next year. The Federal government is also using
"expedited removal" to detain, place into streamlined
judicial proceedings, and deport non-Mexican illegal immigrants
in an average of 32 days – almost three times faster
than the usual procedure. Last year, more than 20,000 non-Mexicans
caught crossing the border between Laredo and Tucson were
deported using expedited removal. The use of expedited removal
is now being expanded across the entire Southwest border.
When illegal immigrants know they will be caught and sent
home, they will be less likely to cross illegally in the
• The Administration Is Taking Further
Steps To Accelerate The Removal Process. The U.S. is pressing
foreign governments to take back their citizens more promptly,
while streamlining bureaucracy and increasing the number
of flights carrying illegal immigrants home. Testing these
steps, "Operation Texas Hold 'Em" along the Rio
Grande Valley of the Texas Border recently resulted in Brazilian
illegal immigration dropping by 90 percent in the Rio Grande
Valley – and by 50 percent across the entire border.
These efforts are helping change a policy of "catch
and release" to a policy of "catch and return."
Second, The Administration Will
Work With Congress To Reform Immigration Laws.
The President is seeking to eliminate senseless rules that
require the government to release illegal immigrants if
their home countries do not take them back in a set period
of time. Among those the government has been forced to release
are murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent
criminals. The President is also working with Congress to
address the cycle of endless litigation that clogs immigration
courts, rewards illegal behavior, and delays justice for
immigrants with legitimate claims. Lawsuits and red tape
must not stand in the way of protecting the American people.
Third, The Federal Government Will
Act To Stop People From Illegally Crossing The Border In
The First Place. The Administration is increasing
manpower, technology, and infrastructure at the Nation's
borders, and integrating these resources in innovative ways.
• Increasing Manpower. Since 2001,
1,900 Border Patrol agents have been added, and the President
has signed legislation allowing the addition of another
1,000 agents in the year ahead. When the hiring is completed,
the Border Patrol will have been enlarged by about 3,000
agents – from about 9,500 when the President took
office to about 12,500 next year. This is an increase of
more than 30 percent.
• Deploying New Technology. The Administration
is giving Border Patrol agents the tools to expand their
reach and effectiveness including unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) and infrared cameras. In Tucson, agents using UAVs
to patrol the border have improved their interception of
illegal immigrants and drugs on the border. Legislation
signed by the President is providing $139 million to further
upgrade technology and bring a more unified, systematic
approach to border enforcement.
• Constructing Physical Barriers To
Entry. The President has signed legislation providing $70
million to install and improve protective infrastructure
across the border. In rural areas, the government is constructing
new patrol roads to give agents better access to the border
and new vehicle barriers to keep illegal immigrants from
driving across. In urban areas, the government is expanding
fencing to shut down human smuggling corridors. The Administration
recently authorized the completion of a 14-mile barrier
near San Diego. Once held up by litigation, this project
is vital to helping border agents do their jobs and make
those who live near the border more secure.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Requires Improved Enforcement Of Immigration Laws Within
The United States. Catching and deporting illegal
immigrants along the border is only part of protecting the
American people. Our immigration laws must be enforced throughout
The Federal Government Is Improving
Worksite Enforcement. The President has signed
legislation that more than doubles the resources dedicated
to worksite enforcement. The government is placing a special
focus on enforcement at critical infrastructure. This year,
Operation Rollback – the largest worksite enforcement
case in American history – resulted in the arrest
of hundreds of illegal immigrants, criminal convictions
against a dozen employers, and a multi-million dollar payment
from one of America's largest businesses. Worksite enforcement
is critical to the success of immigration reform.
To Help Businesses Comply With Immigration
Laws, The Government Is Addressing Document Fraud.
Even the most diligent employers find it difficult to spot
forged employment documents and verify workers' legal status.
So the Administration is expanding the Basic Pilot program
enabling businesses to screen the employment eligibility
of new hires against Federal records. Since 2001, this program
has expanded from only six states to now being available
nationwide. The Administration will work with Congress to
continue to improve employment verification.
The President Has Committed The
Resources Necessary To Enforce Immigration Laws.
Since 2001, the Administration has increased funding for
interior enforcement by 44 percent; increased the number
of immigration and customs investigators by 14 percent;
and new funding will allow for an additional 400 immigration
enforcement agents and 250 criminal investigators. These
skilled officers are getting results. In Arizona alone,
2,300 people have been prosecuted for smuggling drugs, guns,
and illegal immigrants across the border. Operation Community
Shield has resulted in the arrest of nearly 1,400 illegal
immigrant gang members – including hundreds of members
of violent gangs like "MS-13." Since the creation
of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), agents have
apprehended nearly 27,000 illegal immigrant fugitives.
As Part Of Comprehensive Immigration
Reform, The President Has Proposed The Creation Of A New
Temporary Worker Program. To match foreign workers
with American employers for jobs that no American is willing
to take, temporary workers will be able to register for
legal status for a fixed time period and then be required
to return home. This plan meets the needs of a growing economy,
allows honest workers to provide for their families while
respecting the law, and relieves pressure on the border.
By reducing the flow of illegal immigrants, law enforcement
can focus on those who mean this country harm. To improve
worksite enforcement, the plan creates tamper-proof I.D.
cards for every legal temporary worker.
A Temporary Worker Program Would
Not Provide Amnesty. The program does not create
an automatic path to citizenship or provide amnesty. The
President opposes amnesty because rewarding those who break
the law would encourage more illegal entrants and increase
pressure on the border. A Temporary Worker Program, by contrast,
would promote legal immigration and decrease pressure on
the border. The President supports increasing the annual
number of green cards, but for the sake of justice and security,
the President will not sign an immigration bill that includes
By Reforming Immigration Laws, The
United States Will Preserve The Promise Of America.
Immigrants play a vital role in strengthening American democracy.
This is a land in which foreigners who respect the laws
are welcomed as contributors to American culture –
not feared as threats. The United States has been strengthened
by generations of immigrants who became Americans through
patience, hard work, and assimilation. Like generations
of immigrants that have come before them, every new citizen
has an obligation to learn this Nation's customs and values.
At the same time, America will fulfill its obligation to
give each citizen a chance to realize the American dream.
By enforcing immigration laws, the Federal government is
protecting the promise of a tolerant, welcoming America
and preserving opportunity for all.
(end fact sheet)