President Bush put forth an ambitious plan in January to let illegal aliens hold jobs legally in the United States for the first time. The blaring headlines made this "temporary worker" program seem like a done deal, or at least likely to happen. Not so.
Congress still must approve the plan. And since Sept. 11, 2001, Congress has been more intent on toughening the immigration system, not loosening it. As a result, Bush's plan has little chance of passing in the format laid out.
Plan specifics: Undocumented immigrants holding jobs in the United States could earn temporary legal status for up to six years. The plan doesn't put these immigrants on the path to citizenship. Also, an unlimited number of new immigrants would be allowed to enter the United States, as long as they secured jobs through a government database. Those jobs would first be offered to U.S. citizens.
Business groups applaud the plan, saying it would help alleviate labor shortages for low-wage and dangerous jobs. Opponents attacked the plan, calling it "amnesty" for illegal aliens and saying it would give away U.S. jobs.
Read specifics at www.whitehouse.gov.
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