White House press secretary Scott McClellan acknowledged that the Bush administration spent the first term “emphasizing” a guest-worker program over tougher border security. But that emphasis is shifting, in part to placate conservatives who have long railed against illegal immigration.
Mr. Bush insisted that the two initiatives are not mutually exclusive.
“America has always been a compassionate nation that values the newcomer and takes great pride in our immigrant heritage,” he said. “Yet we’re also a nation built on the rule of law.
“The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society,” he added. “We can have both at the same time.”
He was careful to have much tough rhetoric in his speech, promising “to promptly return every illegal entrant we catch at the border with no exceptions.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said that promise is “not just a surrender to the far right, it’s an irresponsible policy that does little to make America safer.”
By James A. Lyons
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