MISSION, Texas -- President Bush visited the Southwest yesterday to highlight recent improvements in border security and to counter the continuing attack by House Republicans on the broad revisions he is seeking in immigration law.
In Mission, a parched pocket of the Rio Grande Valley just north of the Mexico border, Bush once again urged Congress to act, reiterating his call for an overhaul of immigration laws that encompasses tougher enforcement, a guest worker program and some accommodation for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
Addressing an enthusiastic audience made up largely of Border Patrol agents, local officials and National Guard troops, the president praised the temporary deployment of more than 6,000 Guard members along the border and the use of new technologies, such as heat sensors, to detect illegal border crossings.
Bush stopped here on his way to Crawford, Texas, where he will spend 10 days of what is being called a working vacation. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen Hadley are to join him to discuss the Middle East, said spokesman Tony Snow.
House Republicans are waging what amounts to a national public relations campaign against the sweeping rewrite of immigration laws endorsed by Bush and adopted by the Senate. The House version of the legislation focuses entirely on enforcement and security efforts.