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December 21, 2004



BUSH SUPPORT OF GUEST WORKER PLAN DRAWS QUESTIONS

"President Bush said yesterday he wants to reform immigration policy so that the Border Patrol will be "chasing crooks and thieves and drug-runners and terrorists," and not the thousands who cross the border every day to find work," the Washington Times writes. "The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) yesterday asked Mr. Bush to clarify his comments on his proposed guest-worker proposal, which the White House plans to put before Congress next year. FAIR President Dan Stein said he wants Mr. Bush to provide 'a comprehensive list' of what jobs Americans will not do, which would require that they be filled by foreign nationals, and explain why those jobs are not subject to free-market competition."

Related FAIR Press Release: Some Follow-Up Questions for President Bush About Immigration Policy

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SPECIAL REGISTRATION PROGRAM A SUCCESS, DHS SAYS

"The counterterrorism program [registration of Middle Eastern foreign born men], created after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was hailed as a success by Justice Department officials, who said they had arrested suspected terrorists and gathered vital information about more than 83,000 immigrants from countries considered breeding grounds for terrorism," the New York Times writes. "Kris Kobach, the architect of the program at the Justice Department, disputes [negative assessments], saying the program was invaluable. He said it had provided the government with fingerprints, photographs, banking and credit card records about Arab and Muslim immigrants that were previously unavailable. The mass registrations were necessary, Mr. Kobach said, because there was no systematic way to track immigrants once they entered the country, a fault that became evident when it was found that some Sept. 11 hijackers had overstayed their visas. And he dismissed concerns about the impact of the program on immigrants, noting that only those living here illegally were subject to deportation."

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BASIC PILOT PROGRAM EXTEDED TO ALL 50 STATES

The Department of Homeland Security this week published notice that the pilot worker verification program is now available to businesses in all 50 states. "This notice announces the expansion of the Basic Pilot Program to all 50 states. This notice also announces that the USCIS is offering Web-Based Access for the Basic Pilot Program to all employers volunteering to participate in the Basic Pilot Program," the agency said. The web based access will begin next July.

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MEXICO PLANS TO STEP UP PRESSURE NEXT YEAR FOR AMNESTY

"Mexican President Vicente Fox's renewed efforts to lobby for change in U.S. immigration policy may hurt his cause more than help it and could galvanize opposition in a divided American Congress, senior U.S. officials said," according to the Dallas Morning News. "The Mexican government is planning a multipronged effort in the United States on behalf of the millions of Mexicans working without proper documentation. Targets would include agricultural groups and Latino organizations. Mexico wants a system to regulate the flow of workers back and forth and to provide legal protections for those in the United States. But some U.S. officials say that if the Mexican government inserts itself into what they call a highly sensitive domestic issue, it could complicate what already looms as a difficult task for President Bush."

According to the paper, "Mexican officials say they plan to spend "hundreds of thousands" of dollars to promote the issue through its 47 Mexican consulates in the United States, focusing on regions that government officials consider crucial to success. Mexico plans to hire lobbyists and to work closely with leading U.S. think tanks and universities to promote its national interests, the Mexican official said. The strategy is, 'take the message to local and state governments, lobby from the bottom up,' the official said. 'This is not about interfering in U.S. domestic policy, but about being part of a debate on immigration, which we consider one of the most important items in the U.S.-Mexico bilateral agenda.'"

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