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Bush pushes for US guest worker plan

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US President George W. Bush sought support for his guest worker plan for foreigners, hoping to persuade conservatives by promising to fight illegal immigration.

Bush and his advisers are caught between their business supporters, who believe the economy needs foreign workers, and conservatives whose priority is to get tough on illegal immigration.

"As we improve and expand our efforts to secure our borders, we must also recognise that enforcement cannot work unless it is part of a larger comprehensive immigration reform programme," Bush said on 18 Oct.

"If an employer has a job that no American is willing to take, we need to find a way to fill that demand by matching willing employers with willing workers from foreign countries on a temporary and legal basis," he said.

Bush made the pitch for his immigration policy at the White House just before signing the $32 billion homeland security bill, which includes large increases for patrolling borders but fewer grants for local emergency first responders and a freeze in transit security funding. (AP)