Administration Sends Conflicting Message on Guest Worker Plan

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and eight other congressmen today wrote to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao asking her to clarify whether the President’s guest worker plan will offer a “path to citizenship.”

President Bush announced his guest worker plan in 2004 saying, “Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship,” but Chao, apparently referring to illegal aliens, said before the Senate Judiciary Committee in October, “They would not have a pathway to citizenship. …”

Tancredo’s letter is printed below.

Dear Secretary Chao,

We write to request clarification of the Administration’s position on a foreign worker program.  A statement you made while testifying at the Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “Comprehensive Immigration Reform II” conflicts with previous statements made by President George W. Bush.

When questioned by Senator Dick Durbin as to whether or not the Administration supports a path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants who would be eligible to participate in the President’s proposed Temporary Worker Program, you stated that, “They [i.e. illegal immigrants] would not have a pathway to citizenship….” 

This statement appears to conflict with others that the President has made when talking about his foreign worker program.  For instance, during the President’s 2004 State of the Union Address, he stated, “My temporary worker program will preserve the citizenship path….”  And when the President first introduced his temporary worker principles on January 7, 2004, he stated, “Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship….”

We read in the Washington Times on Monday, October 24, that a White House spokesman said your remarks were “consistent with Mr. Bush’s earlier statements.”  Specifically the spokesman stated, “The temporary-worker program is not amnesty. That’s what he’s saying there, and there’s no conflict between that and what Secretary Chao said.”

However we do not believe that statement addresses our concern about the conflicting statements we described above.  We are not asking whether the program includes an “amnesty” but would like an explanation as to whether or not a “path to citizenship” will be included in the program.  

We hope that the Administration has decided against including a path to U.S. citizenship in any Temporary Worker Program.  However, we would like confirmation that your statement now represents the Administration’s position. 


Tom Tancredo 

Lamar Smith

Gary Miller

Nathan Deal

Ginny Brown-Waite

Steve King

Dana Rohrabacher Kenny Marchant

John Hostettler