President Bush has called on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
After meeting with congressional leaders at the White House Wednesday, Mr. Bush said legislation is needed that does not include an amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, but that recognizes people who are working hard in jobs Americans do not want to do. He said the bill should include what he calls a "guest worker" provision allowing illegal immigrants to remain in this country and have temporary legal status.
The U.S. Senate is divided on how to reform America's immigration system. Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers want to give undocumented immigrants a pathway to earn permanent residency or citizenship. Other Republican senators say that such a move would reward illegal behavior.
The House of Representatives has passed legislation making it a felony to be an illegal immigrant, and imposing heavy penalties on companies that hire them. That bill has sparked a number of protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities by immigrants and their supporters.Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.