Da Arizona Daily Star del 05/10/2006
Originale su http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/149685.php

Border law gets Bush's signature

President pushes for GOP during Phoenix-area stop

di Daniel Scarpinato

PARADISE VALLEY — President Bush signed federal legislation here Wednesday that he says will help "protect the American people," in part, by tightening security on the U.S.-Mexican border.

The bill appropriates money to the Department of Homeland Security in a number of areas, but Bush's Arizona signing was meant to highlight its most high-profile element: illegal immigration.

Bush signed the bill shortly after telling those at a $500-a-person fundraiser, "If you want to make sure those on the front line of protecting you have the tools necessary to do so, you vote Republican for the safety of the United States of America." The fundraiser for Republican Rep. Rick Renzi took in $450,000.

The president accused some Democrats of putting national security at risk by voting against bills that would allow secret eavesdropping on phone calls and tough measures to interrogate prisoners to try to detect terror plots.

Democrats said Bush was just trying to distract from his failed management of the war on terror with his comments.

The border-security legislation, approved last month, provides $1.2 billion to fund 700 miles of fencing and barriers along the border, plus money for jails to detain illegal entrants and hire 1,500 more border agents.

"This legislation will give us better tools to enforce our immigration laws and to secure our southern border," he said. "This bill's going to make this country safer to all of our citizens."

With immigration the top issue for voters in Southern Arizona and high on the radar for voters nationally, the bill comes as the November midterm elections draw near.

"I understand full well that illegal immigration puts pressure on the public schools and hospitals," he said. "It strains state and local budgets. In some communities it increases crime."

The president, with Phoenix-area mountains in the background, was flanked by Sen. Jon Kyl, an author of the bill; Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano; and Republican U.S. Reps. J.D. Hayworth, Trent Franks and Renzi.

Napolitano said the greatest benefit of the legislation is more federal funding, though she said it's unclear how much Arizona will receive.

"I think Congress is not done yet," she said. "They need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and they can't just pass this bill and think their job is over. It's not. But it's a good start."

Bush and Napolitano both mentioned the need for a worker plan. Kyl said he would like to see that addressed in November or December.

But Kyl also stressed the importance of the fencing, which will be placed based on border traffic flow.


"IT'S NOT JUST FENCE . . ."

"It's not just fence, it's high-tech virtual techniques plus Border Patrol and roads so the Border Patrol can be where they need to be," said Kyl, who drafted key parts of the legislation, including a provision that criminalizes construction of a tunnel across an international border.

Of fencing, Napolitano said: "Fencing to me is something you use in conjunction with other things if it's really going to be effective," mentioning radar and lighting as key aspects.

Prior to the bill signing, Bush spent about a half-hour inside Paradise Valley's Camelback Inn raising money for Renzi, who represents Northern and Eastern Arizona's 1st Congressional District.

"You know, there's nothing like waking up in Arizona with a fantastic sunrise," Bush said.

With Republicans facing a battle this November to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Bush outlined why he thinks Republicans should remain in charge.

"We strongly believe the more money you have in your pocket, the more likely it is someone is going to be able to find work," Bush said.

"We went through a recession," Bush said. "We had corporate scandals. We had a significant stock-market correction. We had to suffer a terrorist attack on the United States of America, which hurt our economy. I made the decision to defend this country and we have been in two theaters in this war on terror. We had hurricanes, high energy prices and yet the American economy is the envy of the industrialized world."

In addition, Bush highlighted terrorism and the war in Iraq, areas that have increasingly been under scrutiny by the Democrats.

He also singled out Republican Len Munsil, who is running against Napolitano for governor. Mistakenly calling him "Lee" Munsil, Bush said Munsil impressed him as "an attractive man, a family man, an honest man."
Annotazioni − For additional information on all border-related issues, visit azstarnet.com/border
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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