Bush signals willingness to compromise on immigration

July 05, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of nationwide hearings that could determine the fate of his immigration bill, President Bush is signaling a new willingness to negotiate with House Republicans in an effort to revise the stalled legislation before Election Day.

Republicans inside and outside the White House say Bush, who has long insisted on comprehensive reform, is now open to a so-called "enforcement-first" approach that would put new border security programs in place before creating a guest worker program or path to citizenship for people living in the United States illegally.

The shift is significant because Bush has repeatedly said he favors legislation such as the Senate's immigration bill, which establishes border security, guest worker and citizenship programs all at once. The enforcement-first approach puts Bush one step closer to the House, where Republicans are demanding an enforcement-only measure.

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