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Bush's key points

Argues for comprehensive reform

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President Bush: "For decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- During a prime time address from the Oval Office Monday evening, President Bush offered a series of proposals meant to appeal to two sides of the immigration debate: those calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration and those concerned about the fate of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.

The president's initiatives include:

  • Strengthen the Border Patrol by 6,000 new officers by 2008 and deploy new technology, such as infrared cameras and unmanned aerial drones.
  • Deploy up to 6,000 National Guardsmen to the border to support the Border Patrol for up to one year. The guardsmen would be involved in gathering intelligence and building fences and patrol roads, not in the apprehension and detention of illegal immigrants.
  • End the "catch and release" policy that frees those caught illegally in the U.S. with the usually ignored order to appear at a later date for deportation. The president said he wants to expand detention facilities to increase the numbers of detainees that can be held before being deported.
  • Create a temporary worker program that would match willing workers with employers and require those workers to return to their home countries after a "limited period of time."
  • Create a tamper-proof identification card with biometric information, such as digital fingerprints, for legal foreign-born workers to improve employers' ability to verify a worker's legal status.
  • Launch a program that would allow illegal immigrants already in the U.S. to achieve citizenship after they pay a penalty, pay taxes, learn English and work at a job for a number of years. The president rejected critics that called such a program "amnesty."
  • The president called on Congress to pass a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill that addresses all elements of the immigration problem in order to achieve a solution.

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