President Bush has delivered a speech to the nation on immigration reform, outlining a plan to send 6,000 National Guards troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.
In a televised address late Monday from the White House Oval Office, Mr. Bush said the United States has not had full control of its border for decades, and called on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.
Mr. Bush said in coordination with state governors, he will send up to six-thousand National Guard troops to the U.S. southern border to assist the Border Patrol. But he said Guard units will not be directly involved in law enforcement.
The president also called for the creation of a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter the country for a limited period of time. He said this would meet the needs of the U.S. economy and reduce the appeal of human smugglers.
Mr. Bush rejected amnesty for illegal immigrants, defining this as automatic citizenship, but he also rejected the mass deportation of millions of illegal immigrants already in this country. He called for "middle ground", allowing people who have worked here for years to get in line for citizenship.
The speech came as the Senate is debating immigration reform.
The House of Representatives passed an immigration reform bill in December, which calls for building a fence along much of the border with Mexico. The House bill would also make felons out of millions of undocumented immigrants already in the United States.