Bush Avoids Endorsing GOP Stance on Aliens; Renews Call for Citizenship Path
Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
As important as what President Bush said yesterday on the U.S.-Mexico border is what he left out, according to those who follow the issue: He did nothing to endorse the draft immigration principles to which the White House and Senate Republicans appeared to have agreed.
Mr. Bush also renewed his support for granting a path to citizenship, ending speculation that he was backing off a central piece of the Senate compromise reached last year by saying illegal aliens who meet conditions and pay fines "should be able to apply for citizenship."
"He didn't cozy up to the specifics of the PowerPoint, and he was really clear we need a practical answer that's somewhere between automatic citizenship, which nobody is advocating, and mass deportation," said Angela Kelley, deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, which wants Congress to pass a legalization bill. "If he wanted to close doors to people getting green cards, this would have been the time to do it."
The White House's PowerPoint presentation to key Republican senators two weeks ago shook the immigration debate. It seemed to indicate that the administration was taking a much harder line toward illegal aliens by proposing huge fines, requirements that aliens return home briefly and a much longer path to citizenship. It also suggested that future foreign workers not be allowed to bring their families or have a path to citizenship.
Advisers said Mr. Bush is using his public profile and speeches such as the one he gave yesterday to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Yuma, Ariz. …