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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

January 16, 2004

January 16, 2004





** President Bush's immigration proposal is a "striking initiative" though "politically motivated."


** Even some Bush critics concede that electoral reasons "do not diminish" the plan's merits.


**  Skeptics accuse Republicans of an election-year strategy to "exploit" the Latino vote.


**  Mexican papers are guarded, don't expect a "new era of respect and reciprocity" with U.S.




Bush's 'dramatic new gesture' is 'right move'; U.S. 'needs immigrants'-- Though there was no doubt that the initiative was politically motivated, there were "far clearer" economic reasons for the U.S. to implement a more "generous" immigration policy than just "vote catching."  Supporters of immigration "liberalization" held that U.S. economic success would be "inconceivable without millions of immigrants."  German, Italian, Czech and Brazilian dailies stressed that U.S. reliance on "cheap labor" makes the plan "very logical."  The U.S. "needs foreign workers to do jobs that the average American is not willing to do," declared liberal Folha de Sao Paulo.  Inspired by Bush's "new openings," Swedish papers urged Europe to "change tack" and treat immigration as "a resource."


Electoral factors notwithstanding, it was the 'right decision'-- Even outlets typically critical of Bush called the plan a "good one," while noting it was unlikely to get an "easy ride" in Congress.  A liberal Brazilian daily reasoned that while the motivation for the proposal was certainly "electoral," that does not "diminish its merits."  Similarly, a conservative Colombian paper judged "the fact" that immigration reform was being reintroduced in an election year "no reason to discredit the initiative."  Also willing to overlook other possible motives, Ecuador's center-left Hoy held that "each step taken toward a step forward."


'Eye on' Latino vote moved Bush, not 'interest in his neighbor' -- Critics, mainly on the left, billed the initiative as a Republican "election trick" to "net" the Latino vote from Democrats and "curry favor" with all foreign communities.  Should Hispanics "swing" to the Bush side, the 2004 election is likely to be a "walkover" for the president.  Capturing the typical skepticism, the center-left Irish Times dubbed the plan a "low paid guest worker scheme" that was "very much a political kite aimed at the growing Hispanic vote in an election year."  Writers in developing countries raised concerns about the plan's "temporary" nature which a Pakistani writer noted was "no lasting solution to the problem of illegal immigration."


Mexican editorials caution it's 'not time to celebrate' yet--  Mexican observers were wary of praising the migration plan and "generating false expectations."  One columnist in independent Reforma found the proposal "quite reasonable"; another warned that "degradation and submission can never be the basis of a mature relationship" with the U.S.  A writer for  independent El Norte cynically predicted a "predominantly Republican Congress" was likely to "block" or "dilute it to a point that it ends up becoming a shadow of what it...intended to be."

EDITOR:   Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 34 reports from 18 countries, January 8-15.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Amnesty International"


A commentary in the independent weekly Economist noted (1/10-16):  "As president, George Bush floated the idea of a guest worker programme to reform America's ramshackle immigration system.  September 11 forced him to shelve it.  Now he has proposed the biggest overhaul of American's immigration laws for almost 20 years....  There are currently somewhere between 8m and 12m illegal immigrants working in the United States, half of them from Mexico.  Mr. Bush's proposals will help to reduce them from the shadows....  The proposals are far from perfect.  Critics such as The National Council of La Raza, a Latino pressure group, argue that illegal workers might be putting themselves at risk by applying for temporary residence....  But for all their vagueness, Mr. Bush's proposals are clearly an improvement on the current situation.  The proposed legislation could do a lot to repair Americas badly damaged relations with its southern neighbor....  Mr. Bush's proposals will also be a huge boost to Mr. Fox personally....  But in a re-election year the most important consequences are clearly for the Latino vote at home....   The White House hopes that its willingness to address a problem that is close to the hearts of most Latinos will help the Republicans handsomely in such hotly contested states as Florida, New Mexico and Nevada.  The proposal is not guaranteed an easy ride.  Mr. Bush is leaving most of the details to Congress, and many members wish to throw spanners in the works." 


GERMANY: "Bridge To Legality"


Business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland commented (1/9): "America is a country of immigrants, and President Bush is right. Economic success of the U.S. would be inconceivable without millions of immigrants.  His proposal to build a bridge to legality for those living illegally in the country and to get more guest workers to the U.S. is very logical. The economy relies on cheap labor, and forces from Mexico are welcome in areas where U.S. citizens no longer want to work.  Over ten million people live in the U.S. without permission, and their number is growing every year.  A president who stresses internal security since 9/11 cannot accept this development.  But the conservative government does not want to go all the way and amnesty illegal immigrants.  Work permission will be granted for three years only.  If worst comes to worst they will be deported afterwards.  Still, the approach is going in the right direction.  Workers get at least a temporary legal status and become more attractive for employers. They, in return, have to pay the minimum wage.  If only a quarter of illegal immigrants accepted the offer, the program would be a great success. Bush can become more popular with Hispanics, the largest minority in the U.S.  They make up some 12 percent of the electorate, and the President is not very popular with them.  But Bush will only make points if he gets his plans through Congress - which he will hardly achieve until the elections in November."


ITALY: "America Is Still The Promised Land"


 An article in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (1/9): "The record number of immigrants [to the U.S.] was not in the period between 1901-1914 when half of the factory workers in New York, Chicago and Detroit were born abroad and arrivals were approximately 923 thousand per year. The record number was established in our time, with an average yearly arrival of 984,000 legal immigrants since 1989....  President Bush has begun, with a liberalizing move (regarding the 500,000 illegal workers that enter the U.S. annually) a revision that Congress and the public opinion could push away, in the search for sustainable immigration. The American case should be kept well in mind in virtue of a Europe that today is the real frontier with a third of the world's immigrants moving towards Europe or within Europe.... The overabundance of foreigners represent 'an enormous and growing cost that the Americans are aware of,' states the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). It is the most active among the many lobbies that want to change the rules.... The White House proposal, which Congress will have to decide even more massive than the preceding one introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1986.... Commentators as well as the President's friends all said this is an electoral measure to take away Hispanic and Asian votes from the Democrats."


"Bush's Reform: Resident Permits For Workers"


 An editorial in Rome center-left Il Messaggero (1/8): "Millions of illegal immigrants working clandestinely in the recesses of American society will obtain a resident's and worker's permit, and they will no longer risk deportation. This is the important political card that George Bush played yesterday, now in the middle of the electoral campaign. He recuperated the promise he had made in August 2001 but was then forgotten due to the September 11 attacks. Bush managed to agitate American political waters to such a point that yesterday the left was praising him and the right criticizing him. In truth, the President's proposal is full of 'stakes,' of controls and limitations, but it is nonetheless an incredible opening at a time when regulations of foreigners have become very hard and often indifferent towards the privacy of individuals."


"Green Light To Illegal Immigrants Only If Employed"


Giampaolo Pioli noted in conservative, top-circulation syndicate Il Resto del Carlino/La Nazione/Il Giorno (1/8): "His plan for illegal workers could turn out to be even more revolutionary than President Reagan's twenty years ago. Yesterday George Bush launched what could be the 'winning move' for the upcoming electoral campaign.... These are fundamental changes in the current law on immigration with which the White House strategists think they will assure Bush the decisive Hispanic vote, currently one of the dominant groups in the country in key states like Florida, Arizona and New Mexico, considered the real battlefields in the November elections.... Considered a populist gesture and of apparent great effect, the presidential 'amnesty' is enraging the Democrats that will battle both in the House and Senate but also many conservative fringes that don't at all agree with 'rewarding those who entered the country illegally."


CZECH REPUBLIC: "Good News, Amigos"


Hana Kabeleova wrote in the political weekly Respekt (1/11): " President Bush outlined the new immigration bill last week based on legalization of immigrant workers.  It did not come out of the blue.  [Bush] talked about it at the very beginning of his term in a meeting with his Mexican counterpart Vicento Fox, but then, only four days later, 9-11 came and the plan to open the U.S. to immigrants was frozen.  The motives behind Bush's proposal are both political and economic.  He may seek the support of Hispanic Americans in the next election, but the bill will also enhance registration of immigrants and that will improve [the security situation in the country]. The economic reasons are by far clearer.  The U.S., just like every other developed country, needs immigrants, first, because its own citizens keep increasing their level of education, and second, because the country's rate of retired people over those at productive age is growing fast.  The high work ethic among immigrants is also an important factor.  [Furthermore,] the migration cannot be stopped; restrictions only alter the way the immigrants choose to get to their destination.  Illegal migration includes everything that a responsible politician seeks to prevent from happening."


"Bush Deals With The Illegal Migration Problem"


Pavel Masa commented in the center right Lidove noviny (1/8):  "George W. Bush with his proposal to legalize the work of millions of immigrants to the U.S. would have a fair chance of winning a contest for 'the most effective political step.'  Not only will he gain the support of Hispanic voters (most 'illegals' are their countrymen), pacify his Mexican colleague Fox, who has been calling for such an action for years, but he will also deal with the problem of the gray economy and immigration.... The critics of this proposal should take the time to see what the drawbacks are of a restrictive policy applied by one small European country [CR]."



IRELAND:  "Bush Immigrants Law Does Irish No Favors" 


The center-left Irish Times carried an editorial by Ray O'Hanlon stating (1/13): "It was difficult to discern a precise opinion on the part of President Bush last week when he stood up in the White House and proposed a set of immigration law changes that would amount to the biggest reform package in two decades. President Bush waxed lyrical about America's roots as a nation of immigrants and then outlined a series of proposals that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to work legally in the United States but never attain the full American dream of legal residence followed by citizenship. It was a glass half full, half empty and very much a political kite aimed at the growing Hispanic vote in an election year. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from central and south America....   Still, President Bush's move is significant and will initiate a debate on immigration reform that immigrant advocates say has been too long delayed....  What President Bush is proposing is a low paid guest worker scheme. It's unlikely that many illegal Irish will reveal themselves to the immigration authorities in order to take minimum wage jobs that most Americans supposedly shun. Even the ability to travel freely back to Ireland to see loved ones is unlikely to sway too many Irish minds should the White House proposals actually become law....  What is more likely is that those undocumented Irish who have committed themselves to life in America will wait in the hope of witnessing the emergence of a broader reform initiative, one that will promise eventual legal status.  And for that they will be looking to Congress where several bills that promise more than what President Bush spoke of have been stewing for months. In the meantime, the cops will watch over the illegals in the car park and the local economy will be paid back many times over by their cheap labor. Nothing's for free in this world". 


ROMANIA:  "The Real Cause For These Measures Is of An Electoral Nature"


In the respected Adevarul foreign policy analyst Serban Mihaila commented (1/8): “At the beginning of an election year during which he greatly needs the Hispanic population’s votes in Florida and California, President George W. Bush prepares the largest reform in the American immigration system in the last 20 years....  The real cause for these measures is of an electoral nature.  Bush hopes to obtain in this way the votes of four million Mexicans who are already American citizens.… The immigration system reform will contribute as well to improve the relations between the United States and Mexico, which are considered by Washington to be very important.  The provisions of the new measures will influence, in a positive way, the citizens of other states, which are illegally staying in America.  On the other hand, the White House’s plan can prove to be extremely risky for Bush, because the latest polls show that the majority of American citizens dislike the illegal immigrants, especially after 9/11.”


SPAIN: "Liberalization With Bottom Of Ballot Boxes"


Conservative ABC wrote (1/11): "Bush seems to be trying to disorientate the Democratic opposition and to make his mark on the political agenda with his proposal on immigration.  His intention to increase his electoral attractiveness with the decisive Hispanic vote is also clear....  The liberalization falls within the policy of 'compassionate conservatism' that the Bush Administration advocates and proposes the idea that the country 'is always open to those who work hard and look for a better life'....  The regulation, that has been received with caution by the Latin American community, will contribute to the improvement of the relations between the U.S. and its southern neighbors....  The liberalization constitutes a moderate but indisputable step forward in the right direction, influenced by the closeness of the presidential elections....  The right measures will be welcomed, even if they are a response to interested electoral motivations.  This is one of the advantages of democracy.  What the governments don't do out of conviction, at least they do out of self interest."


"Wink At The Hispanics"


Left-of-center El País judged (1/9): "The initiative, lacking many details that Bush will leave to the Congress, is another expression of Bush's 'compassionate conservatism.'...  It is not interest in his neighbor that moved Bush on this matter.  This is a gesture full of purely electoral reasons.  But it allows him to regain the initiative in domestic policy again, in an  atmosphere highly charged due to the situation in Iraq, where U.S. soldiers continue to die; and to steal in advance a part of the agenda from the Democrats, with no fear of a backlash from the right, because Bush has no rivals there."


SWEDEN:  "Bush's Initiative Gives New Openings"


The conservative Stockholm morning Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) opined (1/9):  "What is most striking about President George W. Bush's initiative to have a more generous immigration policy is that it is based on the conviction that most illegal immigrants in the U.S. hold jobs and are beneficial to themselves, their fellow citizens, and the economy as a whole. To force them to leave would be both inhuman and dangerous to society....  President Bush's initiative gives new openings, and if there was not wide popular support for a dynamic view of economics and social life, the experienced politician George W. Bush certainly would not take this initiative in a year when he is campaigning for his re-election."


"Just Like Bush"


South Sweden's major morning daily, the liberal Malmo-based Sydsvenskan editorialized (1/9):  "There is no doubt that President Bush's initiative (to improve the situation for illegal immigrants) is strategic...but it is not downright vote-catching.  Bush touched upon the issue already in the 2000 election campaign.  But after the 9/11 terrorist attacks the reform promises disappeared from the agenda. That they now re-appear is good news....  There are reasons to note the fundamental view of the American President's initiative: he emphasizes that the U.S. is 'a country built by the dreams of immigrants' and says, 'their motive to come here is to create a better life for themselves and their children.' Such strains are seldom heard from politicians in the Nordic countries. Instead immigration is regarded a burden to the national economy....  Shortly there will be shortage of labor in Sweden, and to avoid our welfare being demolished we better start to regard immigration as a resource instead of a burden. Just like President Bush."


"Europe Can Learn From U.S."


West Sweden's major daily, liberal Goteborgs-Posten 's lead editorial stated (1/9): "Regardless of what made President George W. Bush propose some kind of amnesty to people that have entered the U.S. illegally, it still is a political change of course that should make Europe reconsider its immigration policy....  Despite the fact that there likely will be problems the day the temporary work permits..expire...President Bush's initiative is a glimpse of hope of a better future [for them].  Europe's aging population will need new blood. Therefore it is time [for us to change tack and open up for immigration of labor, which also would remove the base for those profiting from trafficking in human beings."




MOROCCO:  "George Bush Wants to Legalize Illegal Immigrants"


Aziza Nait Sibaha commented in semi-official Le Matin du Sahara (1/9):  "A dramatic new gesture in the American presidential strategy 10 months before elections.  George W. Bush, always looking for ways to rise in the polls, announced last Wednesday a large-scale reform of immigration laws....  George W. Bush had drawn heavy fire from the opposition, who saw in his policies the confirmation of the anti-immigrant line his party is criticized for.  With these new proposals, the American President is trying to curry favor with all foreign communities, essentially the Latino community, to win votes for the Republicans."




JAPAN:  "Election-Year Immigration Proposal" 


The top-circulation, moderate-conservative Yomiuri's Washington correspondent Nagata observed (1/9):  "President Bush unveiled an election-year proposal to allow millions of Hispanic immigrants to work legally in the U.S. for as long as three years in what would be the largest overhaul of U.S. immigration law in two decades.  The President's planned relaxation of the immigration law, despite strong objection from Republican conservatives, was indicative of his firm determination to win votes of support for his presidential re-election bid from Hispanic Americans, many of whom are traditional supporters of the opposition Democratic Party. Political observers predict, however, that the deliberation of the new immigration bill in Congress would be long and difficult."   


PHILIPPINES: "President Bush's Immigration Proposal"


Executive Editor Ana Marie Pamintuan noted in her column in the third leading Philippine Star (1/9):  "U.S. President George W. Bush has...come under fire for a proposal unveiled this week to allow up to eight million illegal migrants to work legally in the United States. Bush is accused of pandering to the Latino vote.  The proposal will benefit millions of Mexicans in the U.S., but every Filipino with a relative who is an undocumented alien or TNT--tago nang tago (rough translation: someone who plays hide and seek with immigration authorities) --is closely watching the proposal.... This could turn out to be a scheme to ferret out illegals and deport them at the proper time, which is probably what Bush, leader of the global war on terror, truly has in mind."




INDIA:  "Indians To Gain From Bush Immigration Poll Trick"


Washington-based diplomatic editor K.P. Nayar wrote in the centrist Telegraph (1/9):  "President Bush has created a programme through which illegal workers can become legal....  Most of the eight million illegal aliens are Hispanics, the majority of them from neighboring Mexico, but a few thousand Indians are also expected to benefit from the amnesty, which the White House is loath to call an amnesty....  Republican electoral strategists expect that if the scheme works, it could swing the large Hispanic favor of Bush in this year's presidential election....  More than the numbers involved in the Hispanic vote, Bush is eyeing their concentration: if Hispanic Americans swing to his side because of yesterday's announcement, it is very likely that the big states where they are present--California, New York, Florida and Texas--will go with the Republicans, making the 2004 election a walkover for the President.  Conservative opinion makers have already expressed fears that the amnesty will encourage even more Latinos to sneak into the U.S. without papers....  Political aides to Bush calculate that Conservatives will not, however, defect to [a] Democratic rival."


PAKISTAN: "A Sop For Illegal Immigrants"  


The most widely read English language Karachi Dawn remarked (Internet Version, 1/9):  "President George Bush's proposed plan to give limited amnesty to an estimated eight million illegal foreign workers--69 per cent of them Hispanics--in the U.S. is billed largely as an attempt to net the Hispanic vote in the forthcoming election.... If passed by Congress into law, it would require the beneficiaries to seek a further extension of their work permits after three years, provided they can prove that Americans do not need the jobs they may be doing.  This very condition in the proposed plan has come in for a lot of criticism by illegal workers' representatives and rights groups.   Thus, the general impression is that amnesty granted on such terms amounts to exploiting the Hispanic vote in an election year, and that it offers no lasting solution to the problem of illegal immigration....    President Bush's latest amnesty plan may help document this majority and make it easy for the Republicans to bag the Hispanic vote in the process, but it will not serve to improve the economic or social condition of immigrant workers or tackle the problem of illegal immigration."   


"New U.S. Immigration Rules"


The English-language rightist Islamabad-based Pakistan Observer held (1/9):  "Bush's decision represents a positive approach on the part of the U.S. Government since the people coming to the U.S. for better prospects of life deserve a fair deal. The fact is that the foreigners, especially the Muslims coming to the U.S., are being subjected to humiliation through a series of curbs imposed as a result of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, which had caused unprecedented problems to the immigrants, who were supposed to re-register themselves. The recent decision demanding the entrants in U.S. to register themselves at the airports along with finger printing had eased their problems somewhat, but still it has an element of humiliation for the visitors as well as the immigrants from many countries. President Bush and his team have seemingly not yet recovered from the shattered pride as a result of 9/11....  The latest move to enable the illegal immigrants to work legally in the United States is, however, being linked to the forthcoming Presidential elections in the country. As the stagnation in U.S. economy and dwindling productivity is bound to affect Bush's image in eyes of the voters, the decision is said to be an attempt to dispel the negative perception of his administration's performance in the economic field. The fact is that Bush's popularity has suffered a serious set-back in recent months after U.S. occupation forces' failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's capture certainly helped retrieve his image to some extent, but it has certainly not contributed towards improvement of his popularity in the United States."




BRAZIL: "Bush Is Right"


Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (1/8): "President George W. Bush's plan to facilitate the entry of immigrants into the U.S. and to legalize the situation of foreign workers who are there illegally is a good one. The proposal may certainly be called electoral, but that does not diminish its merits....   Regardless of electoral interests, there are strong economic factors that justify the White House's bill. If the estimated 8 million illegal workers currently living in the U.S. are legalized, they will become taxpayers. Legalization is also expected to increase salaries, because illegal immigrants work for less money than those legalized. More important, perhaps, is the fact that the U.S. needs foreign workers to do jobs that the average American is not willing to do. Money that foreign workers - especially Latin Americans - send from the U.S. has become an important source of revenue in their native lands. Such transfers totaled US$33 billion in 2003.... [But] there is strong opposition in the Congress, especially by representatives of the President's Republican Party."


MEXICO: "Transforming Good Intentions"


Jorge A. Chávez Presa wrote in the nationalist Universal (1/15): “Mexican migration to the U.S. has for our country an aspect of national security.  Its implications- besides that of the bilateral relationship with our principal commercial partner and the dominant economic and military force in the world- compel the Mexican nation, and specifically the government of the Republic to be more careful so that our interests are duly protected.  This means, among other things, not generating false expectations and not allowing the management of this country to enter into the electoral dynamics of our neighbor to the north.… President Fox now has a great responsibility to help this proposal to move forward.”


"The Bush Proposal"


Soledad Loaeza observed in the left-of-center La Jornada (1/15): “The satisfaction that the migration plan gave Fox could have been similar to the feeling that we would have when a good friend finds a solution to a severe problem. We would be jointly involved with it, even when the problem was not ours. We have to acknowledge that the condition of illegal aliens in the U.S. concerns us all and that we would like to help with their vulnerability.  However, the truth is that migration to the U.S. has been the solution for the demographic and economic problems that Mexico faces.  Moreover, the remittances that Mexican workers send back are an important income for millions of Mexican families. Consequently, a plan to bring back in three or six years the thousands of Mexican researchers/academics  --who left the country looking for better jobs and better standards of living-- is not on the horizon for the Mexican Government due to its limited capacity to make the economy grow; this (should be) our problem and our priority, but the government seems to have forgotten it.… Before praising ourselves because Mexicans in San Diego will have no problems with Immigration Officers for three years, we should first have a debate over a massive program to create employments in Mexico.  If there are no jobs in here, what is the reason for them to come back?”


"So Far Away From God"


Modesto Suarez asserted in the independent Reforma (1/15):  "Mexico and the United States share common destinies, but in order to reach them it is necessary to put an end to the relationship of domination between both nations in order to begin a new era of respect and reciprocity.  Degradation and submission can never be the basis of a mature relationship.  Besides, there is nothing worse for a Mexican president than to be perceived by his people as a man who is submitted to the interests of our powerful northern neighbor."


"Bracero Program II"


Academic Lucrecia Santibañez commented in independent El Norte (1/14): “Certainly the clear winners of President Bush’s proposed immigration program are the Mexicans on both sides of the border. If the program jumps from paper to real legislation let it go into effect. It is a difficult jump, if you ask me. As a matter of fact, many assure that this is an electoral trick from Bush to win Hispanic votes in 2004 and say: I tried! Just after a predominant Republican Congress blocks the program or dilutes it to a point that it ends up becoming a shadow of what it originally intended to be.”


"More Migration"


Sergio Sarmiento asserted in independent Reforma (1/8):  "President Bush's migration proposal is quite reasonable.  It does not seek to simply grant amnesty to those who have entered the United States illegally, but creating a means to legalize these people, without granting permanent residence; without citizenship being the main prize....  The great risk (of this proposal), of course, is creating a class of 'temporary' workers that remains in the United States indefinitely but never getting access to the rights of a resident or citizen, as was the case in Germany with the Gastarbeiter Turks."


"Bush Plan:  Just Beginning"


An editorial in old-guard nationalist El Universal declared (1/8):  "The proposal is certainly the first step toward the construction of a serious debate over the issue (migration)....  The GOM said the initiative was interesting, but remained cautions about it...  The offer made yesterday (by the U.S.) is not enough, because it does not seek to solve the real problem....  It pretends to be softening the more severe effects of labor demand in the United States."


"Security, Migration And Elections In The United States"


Ricardo Aleman writes in old-guard nationalist El Universal (1/8):  "It is not that the United States got bitten by the bug of good will all of a sudden, and was able to understand the tragedy that migrants go through as they leave their countries and search for jobs in another nation – as reflected in the speech delivered by Bush, a message that at some point seemed to be delivered by someone that actually defends migrants….  No.  The temporary-work program for migrants, and especially for Mexicans, that President Bush announced yesterday was only possible due to the fact that 'security within the fight against terrorism' became a priority for the USG.  This means controlling migrants, being able to identify and find them, being able to determine their location and over all, being able to keep track of their activities in the United States."


"Migration Control"


Editorial in business-oriented El Financiero read (1/8):  "In addition to the benefits that the migration reform initiative announced yesterday by U.S. President George Bush could bring to millions of undocumented Mexican workers, our nation cannot begin to celebrate yet.  This because it is clear that this proposal – even though it evidently is an electoral move – will pass through a tormented path through the House of Representatives and Senate, as Sen. Bill Frist stated here yesterday.  Beyond the votes he expects to win in November, Bush said yesterday that his plan would strengthen the control and registration of a large mass of population that lives under clandestine conditions.  The proposal came up right when the strengthening of security became a priority in his administration."


COLOMBIA: "Bush And The Immigrants"


An editorial in top national El Tiempo stated (1/9): “At the moment that President Bush was presenting his proposal on...illegal immigrants, everybody was discussing whether it would solve the status of millions of persons, or benefit those that employ them, or was a key electoral strategy....  Bush wants to increase the Hispanic vote...which can be crucial for Bush if this year’s election results are close.” 


"An Inevitable Topic In The U.S. Campaign"


The lead editorial in Medellin-based El Colombiano noted (1/9): “ The fact that the George Bush is proposing immigration reform beginning in an electoral year... is not a reason to discredit the initiative... The fact is that U.S. is facing a growing economic and social problem of around eleven million people that have entered without a visa and are working in jobs that need to be legalized, even if this is temporary.”


ECUADOR:  "Bush's Proposal"


An opinion column by Susana Klinkicht in Quito's center-left Hoy (1/12):  "Bush's [immigration] proposal could be just one way of compensating businesses in need of cheap labor that have been affected recently by increased border controls.  But each step taken toward liberalization of movement is a step forward."


GUATEMALA: "Kisses for Hispanics"


Influential El Periodico ran an op-ed by columnist Gustavo Berganza stating (1/19):  "President Bush's proposal does not make the United States a more open country, opposite to what one may think.  And it does not provide the stability or the rights that immigrants seek.  The proposal simply grants temporary admittance, conditioned by the job market.  He wants to win over the Hispanic vote, which constitutes an important group, making foreigners believe he is really concerned with the needs of their fellow countrymen and women."




Guatemala's largest circulation tabloid Nuestro Diario held in its main editorial (1/9):  "The decision to legalize the condition of immigrants who work in the United States must be applauded....  In time, this achievement may be extended to appreciate the influence their work has on U.S. economy




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