June 12th, 2007
02:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Bush: 'Now is the time' for immigration bill

Watch Bush's comments after meeting with GOP senators on the Hill Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After lunching with Republican senators Tuesday, President Bush said "now is the time" to pass a comprehensive immigration bill, and he urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make that happen.

The bill has been stalled in Congress since Thursday night, when the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to halt debate, thereby preventing the bill onto the floor for a vote.

"Some members in there (the lunch room) believe we need to move a comprehensive bill, some don't," Bush told reporters in a Capitol hallway. "I understand that. It's a highly emotional issue.

"But those of us standing here believe now is time to move to a comprehensive bill that enforces borders and has good workplace enforcement, that doesn't grant automatic citizenship, that addresses this problem in a comprehensive way.

"I believe without the bill, it'll be harder to enforce our borders."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky., said there was "good give and take" at the meeting, and sounded optimistic about the bill's chances. However, many senators remained against the measure, he told the media after Bush left the microphone.

"We didn't expect anybody to stand up and holler that they had a epiphany," McConnell added. "I do believe this bill is about 85 percent through, to the finish line."

Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, the minority whip, said, "The president made it clear to us that he won't sign just any bill. ... There are still problems remaining with it, and he wants to work with us to get this job done."

- CNN's Emily McCulloch contributed to this report

Filed under: Immigration • President Bush
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Samuel AbaRATe, Chula Vista, CA

    How come everything in the Senate depends on the Repulicans? Did not the DemocRATs win?

    June 12, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Cole, San Antonio TX

    This story is highly misleading. The way it is written suggests that it is the Democrats in the Senate who have refused to move on this bill, when in fact it is the Republicans, under Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott, who didn't vote for cloture.

    This is a kind of story I'd expect to see on Fox News.

    June 12, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Dennis Johnson, Moorhead, MN

    What I don’t understand is why some senate leaders were so determined to get this bad bill passed.

    Polls have shown that about 70% of Americans are against the bill, and against anything that smells of amnesty.

    Granted, the bill requires illegals to jump through many hoops and pay fines. However, I feel most Americans know that this bill, if passed, would be subject to many modifications in the future that would eliminate the hoops and remove the fines. The result would eventually be amnesty – pure and simple.

    We are no longer a nation of enforced laws. Neither party in years past has shown any inclination to enforce our immigration laws that have not really been modified since 1986. Why would Americans be so silly to assume that a new law and all of its provisions would be enforced now?

    If this bill is passed by both houses, I believe that only certain provisions of the bill would be enforced. I certainly could see the national ID portion being enforced, and in fact may be the main reason for our president to be pushing this sneak attack on American’s freedoms. In any event, illegals would be allowed to remain, and most would probably continue to live in the shadows.

    Also, considering that the population of citizens in America is only about 300 million. The family provisions in this bill would allow possibly up to 200 million new citizens to invade our shores. These new citizens would be poorly educated and lowly skilled additions at a time when our own lower and middle classes are losing the battle to keep their heads above water.

    Looks to me like the only sensible course of action is for the executive branch to strongly enforce our present immigration laws for at least five years. Then, when Americans have gained the trust necessary to actually believe that our immigration laws will be enforced, congress could look at making some changes.

    Without enforcement of our existing laws, a new immigration law must be – not now, and not ever.

    June 12, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Abigail Weston, Atlanta GA

    What's the Shrubs hurry to get this passed? Why does it have to be a "comprehensive" amnesty? Why can't we plug the leak before we decide how to deal with the damage? Nobody has even considered how much this is going to cost, how we're going to get all the illegals registered when Immigration is already overwhelmed. Why now? Why this bill? Why is congress and the president intent on shoving this down our throats whether we want it or not?

    Why not listen to grassroots Americans instead of business lobbyists, La Raza, and the Mexican government? STOP THE AMNESTY!

    June 12, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Renee Cairns

    Where was Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott, Senator Kennedy and the former President Bush these past 20years when we sent Special Agents time and again to meet with politicians and "WARN' them of this immigration mess. Everything fell on deaf ears. I think the public needs to know just how much Agents etc. have tried in vain to pass this on this message.

    June 12, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Connie, Louisville, Tn.

    Why not just send the Shrub to Mexico? It's taken him 6 years before he even talked about securing the borders. If they are illegal, send them home now.

    June 12, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Dennis Johnson, Moorhead, MN

    When we catch the illegals, we don't really have to send them home. Since they came here for American jobs, we could send them on to China or India.

    June 12, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Don,Nashville,Tennessee

    This is not a democrat or republican bill. It is an American bill. If the demos don't think there are millions of democrats just as there are millions republicans against this bill then they have lost touch with their constituency. If they refused to secure the border after the last amnesty bill (1986) why would anyone believe they will do it now? Bush has made it very clear that he has no intent on securing the border just like Clinton.

    June 12, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    why can't the president for once listen to the people, which include a lot of minority racial groups except perhaps the hispanics? we as a group of LEGAL asian immigrants who are friends are utterly opposed to the bill. NO AMNESTY; "wait in line if you are qualified."

    June 12, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Ryan, Littleton, CO

    I am entirely disgusted that this "bill" has even gotten as far as it has, it's such an ineffective and poorly thought-out "solution" for a problem that the American Government brought upon itself and now wants to make amends for. It's like throwing a towel over a spill but not actually cleaning it up. We are still going to have a problem.

    Politicians don't have to deal with the fall-out of their decisions because they aren't really aware of the state of this nation anymore and instead live in seclusion and their only sense of reality is what they see on CNN or Fox News. They don't go to the public hospitals and see the lobby full of illegal immigrants demanding their free health care. They aren't at the supermarket watching the illegals send their entire paycheck to Mexico with no regard for paying taxes for the privilege of living and working in the U.S. They don't have the first clue as to what is going on, and the only information they get is from the special interest groups and the corporations that rely on the cheap labor so the executives can go home with an annual bonus of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The current state of politics in this nation is a bastardization of the very foundation upon which this country was founded. Intergrity and honesty have been replaced with greed and secrets.

    This bill needs to fail (a vast majority of Americans agree with that) and we need to enforce our current laws, we need to improve border security (I have people in the Border Patrol, so I know all about the sickening limitations they are faced with when it comes to "enforcement"- as it's hard to catch illegal immigrants when you can't even chase them) How can we expect immigrants to follow our laws and rules when we don't even follow our own policies and proceedures? Just because millions of people have broken the law doesn't negate that law. Laws are not guidelines, they are laws.

    The passing of this bill will set a precendent that will show all current illegal immigrants and future illegal immigrants that their blantant disrespect of our laws and policies will result in reward. It will also go to show the American people that their voices and opinions mean nothing in Washington.

    What we need is some common sense and intelligence working for us in Washington. Our politicians aren't working for the American people anymore.

    June 13, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Tricia M Ch'town, PEI Candaa

    Amazing isn't it....
    The War on Afhganistan and Iraq needed no consultation with parties or even a vote. (Bush went ahead in spite of objections) The War left the White House Toot Swit on just a wing and a prayer! And currently I doubt it's success even has a wing and a prayer of hope!

    Yet, it takes two parties months of debates and jaw sparring with still no results on an Immigration Bill! What a pity the house didn't put as much effort into defeating the War Bill four long years ago!

    June 14, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |