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Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Ridge Favors a Status for Illegal Immigrants

  1. #1
    New York Times

    Ridge Favors a Status Short of Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants
    By PHILIP SHENON

    Published: December 11, 2003


    ASHINGTON, Dec. 10 " Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has called for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States to be given some sort of legal status short of citizenship, a proposal suggesting that the Bush administration might revive an ambitious legalization plan that was sidetracked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Advertisement





    In comments on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Miami, Mr. Ridge said, "The bottom line is, as a country, we have to come to grips with the presence of 8 to 12 million illegals, afford them some kind of legal status some way."

    Mr. Ridge, who became the government's chief spokesman on immigration issues after his new department took control over immigration policy this year, said the government might consider legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already in the country on a one-time basis.

    Do "Then, as a country, you make a decision that from this day forward, this is the process of entry, and if you violate that process of entry, we have resources to cope with it," he said in response to a question from the audience at Miami-Dade Community College about his support for changes in immigration policy.

    Aides to Mr. Ridge said that his comments were not scripted and not formally approved by the White House but that they reflected a growing view in the Bush administration that the federal government needed to find a way to register illegal immigrants, if only for reasons of national security.

    Brian J. Roehrkasse, Mr. Ridge's spokesman, said, "The secretary acknowledges that we have several million people here illegally, and he understands that for homeland security reasons, at some point in time, there needs to be a better way to identify those who may be a threat to our country."

    Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the administration had appeared eager to reach agreement with the government of President Vicente Fox in Mexico on a plan to provide legal status to millions of Mexicans illegally in the United States, a proposal advocated largely on economic and humanitarian grounds.

    The administration's enthusiasm for the proposal evaporated after Sept. 11, when the attention of law enforcement and intelligence agencies turned to blocking illegal immigrants from entering the United States and finding " and often deporting " those who were here.

    In his comments in Florida, Mr. Ridge said that the issue of legalization needed to be revived and that the government would need to find a way to provide some sort of legal protection to people who entered the United States illegally. He insisted, however, that the protections would not included citizenship.

    "I'm not saying make them citizens, because they violated the law to get here," he said. "So you don't reward that type of conduct by turning over a citizenship certificate."

    He offered no details on what sort of legal status might be offered to the immigrants, although administration officials have previously suggested that illegal immigrants might be granted work permits and provided with drivers' licenses.

    Mr. Ridge's comments were welcomed by immigrant-rights groups. Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said his remarks were "a good step forward," adding "It's a signal that we can come back to the table and talk about what is realistic."

  2. #2
    New York Times

    Ridge Favors a Status Short of Citizenship for Illegal Immigrants
    By PHILIP SHENON

    Published: December 11, 2003


    ASHINGTON, Dec. 10 " Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has called for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States to be given some sort of legal status short of citizenship, a proposal suggesting that the Bush administration might revive an ambitious legalization plan that was sidetracked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    Advertisement





    In comments on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Miami, Mr. Ridge said, "The bottom line is, as a country, we have to come to grips with the presence of 8 to 12 million illegals, afford them some kind of legal status some way."

    Mr. Ridge, who became the government's chief spokesman on immigration issues after his new department took control over immigration policy this year, said the government might consider legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already in the country on a one-time basis.

    Do "Then, as a country, you make a decision that from this day forward, this is the process of entry, and if you violate that process of entry, we have resources to cope with it," he said in response to a question from the audience at Miami-Dade Community College about his support for changes in immigration policy.

    Aides to Mr. Ridge said that his comments were not scripted and not formally approved by the White House but that they reflected a growing view in the Bush administration that the federal government needed to find a way to register illegal immigrants, if only for reasons of national security.

    Brian J. Roehrkasse, Mr. Ridge's spokesman, said, "The secretary acknowledges that we have several million people here illegally, and he understands that for homeland security reasons, at some point in time, there needs to be a better way to identify those who may be a threat to our country."

    Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the administration had appeared eager to reach agreement with the government of President Vicente Fox in Mexico on a plan to provide legal status to millions of Mexicans illegally in the United States, a proposal advocated largely on economic and humanitarian grounds.

    The administration's enthusiasm for the proposal evaporated after Sept. 11, when the attention of law enforcement and intelligence agencies turned to blocking illegal immigrants from entering the United States and finding " and often deporting " those who were here.

    In his comments in Florida, Mr. Ridge said that the issue of legalization needed to be revived and that the government would need to find a way to provide some sort of legal protection to people who entered the United States illegally. He insisted, however, that the protections would not included citizenship.

    "I'm not saying make them citizens, because they violated the law to get here," he said. "So you don't reward that type of conduct by turning over a citizenship certificate."

    He offered no details on what sort of legal status might be offered to the immigrants, although administration officials have previously suggested that illegal immigrants might be granted work permits and provided with drivers' licenses.

    Mr. Ridge's comments were welcomed by immigrant-rights groups. Jeanne Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said his remarks were "a good step forward," adding "It's a signal that we can come back to the table and talk about what is realistic."

  3. #3
    Various members of the Bush administration have floated trial balloons at various points, and gotten them popped.

    Mr. Ziglar, formerly head of the late INS, who told illegal aliens they didn't need to worry about deportation, left that office not long after.

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