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Immigration bill: Bush hopes of Congress' nod

The House has passed a stricter bill that focuses on border security to keep immigrants out.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 09:17 IST

With US lawmakers preparing for the contentious work of negotiating a compromise on immigration reform legislation, President George W Bush tried to stress areas of agreement during a visit to New Mexico.

"We're making progress toward a comprehensive bill," Bush insisted, noting that since his last visit to the border last month the Senate has passed legislation that would allow foreigners to get temporary work permits in the United States.

The House has passed a stricter bill that focuses on border security to keep immigrants out. If Bush is to achieve his goal of getting a new comprehensive law, members of the House have to sign on to the more welcoming measures in the Senate bill, including provisions allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens.

"This is the toughest part of the bill for the Congress," the president acknowledged on Tuesday.

"While the differences grab the headlines, the similarities in approaches are striking," Bush said from the Border Patrol's training facility in Artesia (US).

"We all agree we need to control our borders. There's a common agreement that the federal government has a responsibility to control the borders so that every illegal immigrant caught at the border needs to be sent home."

But Bush said it's also necessary to have other reforms that not everyone supports -- a temporary worker programme for immigrants to take low-paying jobs and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States for a long time.

"I believe strongly this -- that if we don't address all the elements together, none of them is going to be solved at all," Bush said.