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The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 26, 2004

President Bush Meets with First-Time Homebuyers in NM and AZ
Remarks by the President on Homeownership
Expo New Mexico

[ ... ]

Homeownership is strong. We need to keep it that way. I want these builders back here employing people. I want people showing up for work. By the way, when it comes to work, we ought to have reasonable immigration policy.

I bet you'd get a fair appraisal from some of the business owners back here. They'll tell you that the immigration policy of this country isn't conducive for good economy, let me put it to you that way. I mean, you don't know if you're hiring somebody who's here legally or not legally.

See, we got a policy that has encouraged forged documents and smugglers. My attitude is if you -- a builder back here can't find an American willing to do the job, they ought to have the ability to put somebody on the job who can do the job. My attitude is, is that we ought to have a temporary worker's card for people who are willing to work. This is not an amnesty program. I don't think it makes sense to have amnesty right now in the country. Amnesty would encourage further illegal immigration. And amnesty would say to those who have stood in line for a long period of time who want to be a legal citizen, standing in line legally wasn't worth it. We're going to let somebody cut in line.

What I'm talking about is a worker plan, a plan that understands people coming up from Mexico want to put food on their table for their sons and daughters and that people right here behind me are looking for somebody to put roof -- lay roof or lay tiles. And they can't find workers here. In order to make sure the economy runs well, in order to make sure we treat people humanely, we need a temporary worker plan. It makes sense to do that. I look forward to working with Congress to get something reasonable out. (Applause.)

A couple of other things I've got on my mind I'd like to share with you about how to make sure America remains a good place to do business. You hear a lot of talk about jobs going overseas. Some are going overseas, and some from overseas are coming here. But the best way to make sure people can find work in America is to make sure the business environment, the entrepreneurial environment is strong and solid, that it's a good place to do business, let me put it to you that way. If you want people hiring people in America, we've got to make sure America's a good place to do business, a good place for our employers, and there's some things we need to do. (Applause.)

[ ... ]