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Bush Renews Push for Immigration Reform

President Bush is defending a proposed guest worker plan for illegal immigrants that is facing stiff opposition from some within his own political party. At the same time the president wants to strengthen border security.

President Bush says he is determined to crack down on illegal immigration and defend America's borders.

"In communities near our border, illegal immigration strains the resources of schools, hospitals and law enforcement," said George W. Bush. "And it involves smugglers and gangs that bring crime to our neighborhoods. Faced with this serious challenge, our government's responsibility is clear. We're going to protect our borders."

In his weekly radio address, the president outlined a plan to better protect those borders by hiring more border agents, deporting illegal immigrants more quickly, and tightening laws governing the release of detained illegal immigrants.

Mr. Bush was in Arizona and Texas this past week pushing his immigration plan, which is facing opposition from some fellow Republicans over a so-called guest worker plan that would confer a limited legal status on illegal immigrants already in the United States.

Republican opponents say the plan amounts to an amnesty for people who have already broken the law by entering the country illegally.

President Bush says the temporary worker program would relieve pressure along the border by creating a legal channel for willing employers to hire willing workers.

He says that would reduce the number of workers trying to sneak across the border, and allow border agents to focus more on stopping criminals, drug dealers and terrorists.

Recognizing misgivings within his own party, Mr. Bush says the program would not be an automatic path to citizenship, and is not an amnesty.

"I oppose amnesty," he said. "Rewarding law-breakers would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border. A temporary worker program will relieve pressure on the border, and help us more effectively enforce our immigration laws."

In the Democratic radio address, California Congressman George Miller called on President Bush to do more to encourage innovation in science and technology to promote economic growth.

"America's leadership is being challenged today like never before," said George Miller. "China, India, Korea and other countries are rapidly investing in education, research, science and technology, because they recognize that their economic success depends upon it. They have made innovation their priority."

Congressman Miller says Democrats have a plan to double basic research and development funding over the next four years to graduate 100,000 scientists, and achieve energy independence within 10 years.