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President George W. Bush says that he wants to work with the United States Congress on a comprehensive immigration plan. Mr. Bush says he supports an increase in border enforcement and a guest-worker program with a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants:
"I strongly believe that we can, and must, get a comprehensive immigration plan. . . .It's important for us because in order to enforce our border, in order for those Border Patrol agents who we've increased down there and given them more equipment and better border security, they've got to have help and a plan that says, if you're coming into America to do a job, you can come legally for a temporary basis to do so."
White House spokesman Tony Snow said President Bush understands the need to prevent people from illegally entering the United States and to prevent those already in the United States from working illegally:
There are concerns about finding out who is here illegally, who are these people. We need to know. And, therefore, he's talked about a tamper-proof I-D card. There is concern that employers may be knowingly hiring illegal aliens. In recent years, this administration has upgraded the punishment for knowingly hiring an illegal from a civil fine to a criminal punishment and asset forfeiture."
The current system, says President Bush, is forcing people seeking to enter the United States to rely upon smugglers and forgers, which often leads to inhumane treatment. Comprehensive immigration legislation, he says, is the key to enforcing U.S. borders "in a humane way."