President Bush yesterday said Americans will soon realize they need the immigrants and foreign temporary workers that would have been allowed by his immigration bill, which was defeated in the Senate last month.
“The bill failed and I can’t make a prediction to you at this point, sir, where it’s going to head,” the president told one questioner. “I can make you a prediction, though, that pretty shortly people are going to be knocking on people’s doors saying, man, we’re running out of workers.”
Mr. Bush said there are workers who will do jobs Americans aren’t doing in the agriculture sector in particular, and without them the jobs will go unfilled.
Lawmakers in Congress say they accept defeat of a broad bill and are instead turning to piecemeal efforts, such as in-state tuition for illegal-alien college students, an agriculture worker program and enhanced law enforcement.
Even Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and Mr. Bush’s partner in pressing for a broad bill over the last few years, said in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio last week that it’s time to look at a piece-by-piece approach.
But Mr. Bush yesterday continued to tie border security to plans for a temporary worker program and legalizing the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens already in the country and giving them a path to citizenship.
“It’s impractical to kick somebody out,” he said.