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US still trying to reform immigration system

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There was a flurry of activity earlier this month in the Senate and by President Bush over proposals on immigration reform and the president's plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to the Mexican border to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

The Bush administration sent Congress a request for $1.9 billion to cover the costs of steps he announced Monday night, including the deployment of up to 6,000 troops to states along the Mexican border -- California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

"They will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, building infrastructure, analyzing intelligence, and providing training until new Border Patrol officers and technologies come online," Bush wrote in a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert that accompanied the funding request.

Bush toured the busiest stretch of the border Thursday, with stops in the Arizona cities of San Luis and Yuma, where he touted his plan to curb illegal immigration as a "comprehensive strategy to get the job done."

Last year, Border Patrol agents in the Yuma sector apprehended 70,000 illegal entrants, a 14 percent increase from the previous year, Bush said. He pushed for "full control of the border."

Bush made no mention during his trip of two competing proposals in Congress -- one approved by the House that would build 700 miles of fencing along the roughly 2,000-mile border and one in the Senate that would build half that.