Bush to focus on illegal immigration
Issue has divided members of president's own Republican Party
From Elaine Quijano
President Bush will address illegal immigration, an issues that has split his party, this week.
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CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush will make stops in Arizona and Texas this week to address an issue that has divided some members of his own Republican Party -- illegal immigration.
After spending the holiday weekend with family at his Crawford ranch, the president will visit Tucson, Arizona, on Monday, and El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday.
A senior administration official said that the president, in a speech on immigration, will focus on three areas: border security, enforcement and a temporary worker program.
The official said the president will talk about "additional resources and the use of technology to secure the border," and will discuss it in terms of national security and the economy.
Bush also is expected to raise the issue of interior enforcement. The administration official said that includes "interior repatriation," or returning illegal immigrants from Mexico to the interior of the country instead of on the other side of the border.
In addition, the president will talk about adding beds to detention facilities "so we aren't catching and releasing illegal immigrants."
A third component, according to the official, will be Bush's proposal for a temporary worker program that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal status. The president first introduced the idea in January 2004. (Full story)
But some conservatives have fiercely opposed the program, viewing it as a form of amnesty for people who have entered the U.S. illegally.
Because of that, one GOP analyst said, the Bush administration has a delicate balance to strike in appeasing those conservatives by talking tough on border security without alienating Hispanics, women and swing voters.
"Republicans are talking about solutions rather than just making a lot of noise," said Leslie Sanchez, the former director of Hispanic communications for the Republican National Committee. "But with those solutions come a lot of things that can look like immigrant bashing."
"When you're talking about deportation and taking a very stringent stand on all immigrants, we have to be careful that we are specifically talking about those who have broken the law," Sanchez said.
While in Arizona, the president also will attend a fundraiser for Sen. Jon Kyl Monday night, and on Tuesday, after his trip to El Paso, Bush is scheduled to make an appearance at a fundraiser in Colorado for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.
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