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White House Hedges Bets on Immigration Bill

As debate in the Senate on an immigration reform package gets under way, the White House is not sending any signals as to what kind of final bill the President will sign.

At this morning’s press briefing, I asked whether the President would veto the final bill if the Senate follows the House and passes an immigration measure with greater border security and punishment for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants—but without the guest worker program so strongly advocated by Bush.

“We have a long way to go,” Press Secretary Scott McClellan told me, adding that I was asking “a lot of ‘what ifs.’”  The President’s top spokesman went on to say that Bush will “talk about his vision of comprehensive immigration reform” in the coming weeks and highlight three key points: secure border; strengthen interior enforcement; and what McClellan called “a temporary worker program to relieve pressure off [the Border Patrol],” so that law enforcement officials can focus on pursuit drug dealers and other criminal elements.

But I pressed the point: Would the President veto a bill that didn’t include the third key point—the temporary worker program?  Replied McClellan:  “We’ll keep you posted as we go forward.”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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