House Republicans Aren't Giving Up On Immigration

| Wed Sep. 13, 2006 5:49 PM EDT

House Republicans prove that fear of terrorism isn't the only card they have to play this fall. Back by popular demand -- and despite talk that it would reced as an issue -- it's...fear of immigrants!

House Republicans said Tuesday that they're preparing a package of tough border security initiatives that they hope will satisfy constituent demands for a crackdown on illegal immigration before they face voters in the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

The initiatives, which are expected to include more Border Patrol agents and unmanned aerial vehicles and possibly hundreds of miles of fencing along the U.S-Mexico border, will be unveiled this week amid fading prospects for more comprehensive legislation embracing President Bush's call for an immigrant guest-worker program. [...]

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., on Tuesday reiterated the House leadership's position that Congress must first take aggressive action to "stop the bleeding" at the border before considering a guest-worker program. "We've got to get the border fixed first," he said.

Hastert presided over a roundtable conference of House committee and subcommittee chairmen who held 22 hearings in 13 states during the August recess to reinforce the House leadership's call for tough border enforcement. The hearings also were aimed at spotlighting what lawmakers saw as shortcomings in the Senate bill, which many House conservatives have denounced as "amnesty" that rewards illegal behavior.

"Stop the bleeding" at the border, eh? Nice Freudian slip.

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