Washington, D.C. - Today Congressman Sam Farr (CA-17) released the following statement in response to the immigration policy proposal President Bush announced yesterday:
"I am glad to see that President Bush is acknowledging how crucial the issue of immigration policy is to our nation. The fact that the President is making this a priority is heartening to see. The question now, is whether the President's initial proposal is a starting point or an ending point. It should be a starting point, and Californians, with our unique understanding of immigration issues, will be able to help the President continue to refine his ideas.
"The President's current proposal suggests rather superficial changes that I fear will not resolve the issues confronting the immigrant workforce, and only encourage their further exploitation. We need a program that allows earned access to legalization with full protection of the law. The 'legal status' Bush is offering immigrant workers is just extended guest worker status and will not help these workers when they are confronted with unfair wages or dangerous working conditions.
"The President has also failed to address how his policies would mitigate or reduce the number of undocumented immigrants slipping into our country. Not only must immigration reform fairly and humanely address the issue of undocumented people currently in our country, it must also suggest reforms that would encourage foreign nationals to remain in their home countries and not jump the border.
"The Central Coast and the nation need real immigration reform that will aid qualified undocumented workers to gain legal status, assist family reunification efforts and create an effective border policy. I have cosponsored legislation to achieve these goals and am eager to work with the President to make sure that they are part of any immigration reform that Congress considers this year."