Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Congress should make sure that President Bush's guest-worker proposal does not grant amnesty or U.S. citizenship to those now in the country illegally, says Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, who has vigorously sought upgraded security along the nation's southern border.
"The president, of course, espoused broad principles," said Mr. Kyl, chairman of the Senate Judiciary terrorism, technology and homeland security subcommittee, and a member of the subcommittee on immigration.
"It is appropriately up to Congress to work with the administration on the details. I hope we can make a real effort to find some consensus on a guest-worker program," he said. "But any such legislation must not create opportunities for amnesty, nor confer U.S. citizenship to those who have violated U.S. laws."
Mr. Bush's proposed immigration initiative, announced Jan. 7, would allow millions of illegal aliens now in the United States to remain in the country as guest workers for renewable three-year periods if they have jobs. The aliens eventually could apply for permanent legal residence.
From 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens, mostly Mexican nationals, are estimated to be in the United States.
Mr. Kyl has steadfastly argued that the government lacks either the will or the ability to enforce existing immigration laws and that legal immigrants - those who "followed all the rules, waited patiently and sometimes left their homelands at great risk to become American citizens" - have watched as illegal aliens continue to flood the United States.
He has blamed the government's failure to enforce immigration laws on the lure of cheap labor, the costs of hiring and deploying border agents and other necessary resources, and a "politically correct expression of sympathy with the violators that is often exploited for perceived political gain."
"Because of these obstacles to border enforcement, I approach the notion of 'guest-worker' legislation very cautiously," he said. "If we are not enforcing current immigration laws, the question naturally arises: Why would we be any more likely to enforce new laws? …