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The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
January 8, 2004

Global Message

From remarks by President Bush on U.S. immigration, 1/7/04

America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work, faith, and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants.

About 14 percent of our civilian workforce is foreign born. More than 35,000 foreign-born men and women are on active duty in the United States military.

As a nation that values immigration and depends on it, we should have immigration laws that work and make us proud.

But instead, we see many businesses turning to the illegal labor market. We see millions of hard-working men and women condemned to fear and insecurity in a massive, undocumented economy.

Illegal entry across our borders makes more difficult the urgent task of securing our homeland. We need an immigration system that serves the American economy and reflects the American dream.

Reform must begin by confronting a basic fact: Some of the jobs in America
-- especially in construction and some service industries -- are jobs American citizens aren't filling. Yet these jobs represent a tremendous opportunities for workers from abroad who want them.

Common sense and fairness says our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans have not filled.

We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane -- without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens.