WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush (search) told a Spanish-language television interviewer Thursday that he supports offering temporary legal status to immigrants who want jobs that go unfilled by United States citizens.
Bush, who says the United States should find a more humane way to treat immigrants said the card would provide temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants or those who want to come to the United States to work. But he said he would not offer amnesty.
"I recognize that people are coming here to work," Bush said in a White House interview with Univision. "And while they're doing jobs that aren't filled by Americans, I think there should be a temporary worker program and a card that helps the workers and employers who want them."
The president had made immigration reform a priority, but put it on the back burner after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. He championed immigration reform again in a White House speech in January, but election politics have blocked progress on legislative action.
In a separate interview Thursday with Telemundo, Bush said he deserves the support of Hispanics in the Nov. 2 election because of his plans for security, education, and health care. Bush also expressed gratitude to Hispanic families that have lost loved ones in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, adding that they died for a noble cause.
Bush spoke in English and his answers were translated into Spanish in the broadcasts.