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The White House, President George W. Bush

Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
The James S. Brady Briefing Room

[ ... ]

Q A follow-up on Haiti -- in particular, the boat people. The President said on November 7, 2002, that the immigration laws ought to be the same for Haitians and everybody else, except the Cubans, and the difference, of course, is that we don't send people back to Cuba because they're going to be persecuted.

Well, what more proof do you need --

MR. McCLELLAN: April, I think you're referring to a different situation. At that time it was involving a specific --

Q Cubans versus Haitians and the boat people --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- it was involving a specific incident. And, yes, the President's remarks there stand. But the migration policy of the United States is very clear, and we have made it very clear that we have a plan in place to stop any boats and we will return people to their country of origin.

Q But, Scott, these people are risking shark-infested waters versus staying in a country where they cannot be protected by their own President. And even President Bush talks about compassionate conservatism in his religion. Why not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And, April, we are providing a significant amount of humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti. And we are working to bring -- we are working an ongoing diplomatic efforts, we are actively engaged in ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring about a political solution to the situation in Haiti. That's where our efforts are focused. We continue to deplore the violence going on in Haiti. We regret the loss of life. And the United States is actively engaged in ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring about a solution.

[ ... ]

Q .... The President wants to bring Hispanics from south of the border to this country to work. But the latest unemployment figures show 7.3 percent of Hispanics in America are unemployed. Why not put them to work first?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you're mischaracterizing the President's proposal, first of all. The proposal on immigration that you mentioned was relating to a temporary worker program where you would be filling jobs that Americans cannot be found to fill first.

[ ... ]

[ End ]