On Jan. 7, 2004, President Bush placed immigration reform front
and center of his domestic policy agenda by proposing a temporary
worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing U.S.
employers when no U.S. workers can be found to fill the jobs.
Bush's proposal sparked a heated debate that has proceeded for 1
1/2 years inside an echo chamber of conservative talk radio and
cable news programs featuring those who argue undocumented workers
present a security threat and take jobs that could be filled by
Concerned the debate has become dangerously toxic, the White
House busied itself during the congressional August recess to take
control of a discussion that has pitted elements of the Republican
base against one another. The effort aims to create a broad
coalition of business groups and immigrant advocates to back a plan
Bush could promote in Congress this fall or early next year.
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