Bush reluctantly promotes immigration "reform" at Rumsfeld press conference
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Q Thank you, Mr. President. On immigration, many Democrats had more positive things to say about your comprehensive proposal than many Republicans did. Do you think a Democratic Congress gives you a better shot at comprehensive immigration reform?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I should have brought this up. I do. I think we have a good chance. Thank you. It's an important issue and I hope we can get something done on it. I meant to put that in my list of things that we need to get done.
I would hope Republicans have recognized that we've taken very strong security measures to address one aspect of comprehensive immigration reform. And I was talking to Secretary Chertoff today; he thinks that these measures we're taking are beginning to have measurable effects, and that catch and release has virtually been ended over the past couple of months. And that's positive.
And that's what some members were concerned about prior to advancing a comprehensive bill. In other words, they said, show me progress on the border, and then we'd be interested in talking about other aspects. Well, there's progress being made on the border in terms of security, and I would hope we can get something done. It's a vital issue. It's an issue that -- there's an issue where I believe we can find some common ground with the Democrats.
Q What are the odds for a guest worker provision?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's got to be an integral part of a comprehensive plan. When you're talking comprehensive immigration reform, one part of it is a guest worker program, where people can come on a temporary basis to do jobs Americans are not doing. I've always felt like that would be an important aspect of securing the border. In other words, if somebody is not trying to sneak in in the first place, it makes -- decreases the work load on our Border Patrol, and lets the Border Patrol focused on drugs and guns and terrorists. But that's a -- I appreciate you bringing that up. I should have remembered it.
Listen, thank you all very much for your time. I appreciate your interest.