President Bush is urging Congress to adopt an immigration reform package. In his weekly radio address, the president said he has fulfilled a promise to increase border security. Immigration is expected to be a major issue in November Congressional elections.
This week, President Bush traveled to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where National Guard troops have been deployed to work with border patrol agents. In his weekly radio address, the president says, 6,000 National Guard Troops are now in place along the border - fulfilling a pledge he made in May. "With the support of the National Guard, border patrol agents have seized over 17,000 pounds of illegal drugs, and caught more than 2,500 illegal immigrants since June 15. Just last month, border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector confiscated more than 4,200 pounds of marijuana, hidden in a tractor-trailer," he said.
The president says he has asked Congress to provide more funding to improve border security by increasing manpower and installing new technology, such as motion sensors, infrared cameras and unmanned aircraft.
But the president says successful immigration reform needs to go beyond border security and address illegal workers already in the country. He says a temporary workers program is needed to create a legal and orderly path to allow illegal immigrants to work in the United States.
"This program will add to our security by helping us know who is in our country and why they are here. And by reducing pressure on our border, it will free up our border patrol to focus on making sure we stop terrorists, violent criminals and drug smugglers, from entering our country," he said.
Immigration is expected to be a significant issue in the November congressional elections in the United States.
The Democratic weekly radio address, touched on another likely campaign issue, an increase in the minimum wage for workers. A proposed increase in the minimum wage was part of a bill that would have cut inheritance taxes on multi-million dollar estates. The Senate rejected the bill this week.
Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar chastised Senate Republicans, accusing them of using "political tricks," and urged Americans to vote out Republicans in November's elections.