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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 17, 2003

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer

June 17, 2003

[ ... ]

Q My second question, if you would be so kind. Yesterday, the authorities announced the detainment of 14 people involved with the illegal aliens who died in Victoria, Texas last month. Fourteen people have been charged, I think 56 counts. Has the President been following this thing? I know he's been pretty busy with this international agenda. Is this a subject that he's following?

MR. FLEISCHER: This is something that's very close to the President's heart. And this is where I think you've heard the President, as a Texan, someone who has seen some of the tragedies that have taken place on our borders, reflect on, because the President looks at this, he looks at it as a matter of values, of, as he puts it, a woman, a mother, who wants to feed a child and come to America for more opportunity. And we need to find a way to welcome people, to have opportunity in the United States. And, as he puts it, when a mother wants to feed a child, she's going to come, she's going to try to come into the United States and give her child a better life.

And that's why the President views the importance of improving relations with our allies, and our friends down in Central America and Latin America. That's such an important issue. This is why he was working so hard prior to September 11th to have a reform of our immigration laws. And it is a very sensitive and, I think, matter of compassion with the President.

[ ... ]

[ End ]