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Press Release

    Middle Ground on Immigration

    06/12/2006

    U.S. Congressman Mike Pence penned a column in Satruday's Wall Street Journal about his Border Integrity and Immigration Reform Act.

    To access the column, click this link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114990281402476875.html?mod=opinion_main_featured_stories_hs (Please note a subscription is required)

    Following are excerpts from the column:

    President Bush has set out his goals on immigration reform to the American people. "There is," he said, "a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation." I agree that a rational middle ground can be found -- but amnesty is not the middle ground.

    Instead, I will soon be introducing legislation, the Border Integrity and Immigration Reform Act. This bill is tough on border security and tough on employers who hire illegal aliens. It will include a guest worker program -- but it will not include an amnesty (nor require a huge new government bureaucracy to administer the program)

    ***

    Since immigration reform must begin by securing our border, my plan incorporates the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, already passed by the House, in its entirety, with only minor changes. Thus my plan will add port-of-entry inspectors, end the policy of "catch and release," put to use American technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles, require a security fence to be built across our southern border, and require the Secretary of Homeland Security to certify that all these border security measures are substantially completed before any new guest worker program would begin.

    But my bill does not include a so-called path to citizenship, i.e., an amnesty, for the some 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Instead, it insists that they leave and come back legally if they have a job opportunity in the U.S. They will be allowed to do so under the terms of a guest-worker program that will be implemented by firms in the private sector, not by a new government bureaucracy.

    ***

    As the grandson of an Irish immigrant, I believe in the ideals enshrined on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. America always has been, and always will be, a welcoming nation, welcoming under the law any and all with courage enough to come here. But a nation without borders is not a nation, and across this country Americans are anxious about our borders.

    ***

    I believe that my Border Integrity and Immigration Reform Act is a solution that those opposed to amnesty and those who propose a guest-worker program can both support. It offers a solution that those calling for the humane treatment of illegal immigrants can embrace.

    And I believe that this solution is one the American people can embrace. This is the real rational middle ground.