Bush, in his tour of Latin America, vowed to make immigrating to the US easier. However, his push for immigration reform has met staunch opposition from his own Republican party.
In his last stop in Mexico, Bush stood alongside Mexican President Felipe Calderon and said that a good migration law would help both economies as well as the security of both nations.
"If people can come into our country, for example, on a temporary basis to work, doing jobs Americans aren't doing, they won't have to sneak across the border," Bush said.
He added that he was optimistic about the changing mood in the new Democrat-controlled Congress and feels confident that he can persuade moderate Republicans on reforming immigration laws, such as instituting a guest worker program and providing a path to citizenship for those already residing in the US illegally.
Past bills introduced into Congress on both sides of the issue have so far failed to pass into law.
Democrats favor a moderate approach, mainly centering on the guest worker program, easing family reunification requirements and paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. Republicans want to focus on strengthening the boarders and imposing stricter punishments for illegal immigrants and those who help them.
Bush states that he is confident a bill addressing reform will pass both Houses this year. He stated that "members of Congress are now feeling more comfortable that the country is committed to the rule of law" with his administration's crackdown of employers that hire illegal aliens and the passing of legislation to wall off parts of the US-Mexican boarder.
Bush said that August was the unofficial deadline for an immigration reform bill to get through Congress. After that, there is little hope that enough attention from Congress can be focused on the issue with the 2008 presidential primaries coming into swing.
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