Immigration Plan Envisions 'Incentives' to Illegal Aliens; Document Fills out Details of Bush Proposal

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Immigration Plan Envisions 'Incentives' to Illegal Aliens; Document Fills out Details of Bush Proposal


Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Millions of illegal aliens in the United States would be free from arrest and deportation, have access to tax-deferred savings accounts and Social Security credits, and get unrestricted travel to and from their home countries under President Bush's guest-worker program.

According to previously undisclosed details of the president's plan, which some critics have described as a limited amnesty, the proposal offers numerous "incentives" for the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens to come "out of the shadows," Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, the nation's border and transportation security czar, told a Senate panel.

Mr. Hutchinson, in a written response to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the Bush plan would help eliminate sleepless nights for illegal aliens worried that a simple misstep, such as a traffic ticket or accident, "could result in bringing them to the attention of federal authorities and their subsequent deportation."

"Eliminating the fear of deportation will be an incentive," Mr. Hutchinson said in the 13-page response. "Undocumented aliens will tell you they often have trouble sleeping at night, and leaving for work each day, not knowing if they will make it home at the end of the day."

Mr. Hutchinson said the president's guest-worker plan recognizes that some aliens working illegally in this country who decide to pursue citizenship should be "allowed to apply for lawful permanent residence in the normal way."

But, he said, in order not to give an "unfair advantage" to illegal aliens over those immigrants "who have followed legal procedures from the start," the Bush plan would seek "a reasonable annual increase in legal migrants."

In January, Mr. Bush proposed a guest-worker program that would allow millions of illegal aliens in the country to remain if they have jobs and apply as guest workers.

The Senate panel sent Mr. Hutchinson its questions at that time. Mr. Hutchinson responded within a few weeks, although his answers were not made public.

Under Mr. Bush's proposal, the aliens could stay for an undetermined number of renewable 3-year periods, after which they could seek permanent legal status.

The proposal has been met with criticism from law enforcement authorities and has been challenged by both Republicans and Democrats. Some have called the plan an amnesty program that invites aliens in this country illegally to gain perpetual legal status. Others said it was unpractical and could become a scheme to identify illegal aliens and deport them.

The National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 10,000 of the Border Patrol's nonsupervisory agents, has called the Bush plan a "slap in the face to anyone who has ever tried to enforce the immigration laws of the United States."

In the written response, Mr. Hutchinson said the Bush plan would:

*Allow illegal aliens working in the United States to create tax-deferred savings accounts that could be withdrawn on return to their home countries. …

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Immigration Plan Envisions 'Incentives' to Illegal Aliens; Document Fills out Details of Bush Proposal
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