President George W Bush, through executive order, asked the Department of Homeland Security along with other federal agencies to help legal immigrants "embrace the common core of American civic culture, learn our common language, and fully become Americans." The term "American" and "Americans" in this case refer specifically to culture and language of the United States.
With the new order signed 7 June 2006 the secretary of Homeland Security would establish what President Bush called "a Task Force on New Americans."
According to the executive order released by the White House, membership and operations of the task force is limited to a number of agency secretaries and/or those appointed by a secretary to represent the agency in as much as that representative is of a capacity no lower than assistant secretary of the following:
Details of budget impacts were not provided by the executive order, however the president wrote that the Department of Homeland Security would fund the task force and any associated projects. The order allows for establishing subgroups, but members too will be exclusively from the main task force group.
"Task Force on New Americans" will provide direction to executive departments and agencies concerning the integration of legal immigrants to the culture and standards of the United States, according to President Bush, particularly through instruction in English, civics, and history.
Additionally, the task force would promote public-private partnerships that will encourage businesses to offer English and civics education to workers; identify ways to expand English and civics instruction for legal immigrants, including through faith-based, community, and other groups, and ways to promote volunteer community service; and make recommendations to President Bush on those key issues.
According to President Bush, he requested of the task group to develop an action plan meant to enhance cooperation among agencies on the integration of legal immigrants into the United States. The president also said that the task force would propose how best to build cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities on legal immigration, and changes to existing rules or policies to improve integration of immigrants into society.
With the results of the task force, President Bush said that new legislation relating to the integration of legal immigrants could be proposed.
In the weeks following the executive order, President Bush campaigned for a relatively new program, which is now available to all 50 states called: Basic Pilot -- A Clear and Reliable Way to Verify Employment Eligibility.
While the Basic Pilot program is voluntary, it allows employers to verify employees' eligibility to work in the United States.
President Bush is striving to make Basic Pilot mandatory for employers, under the funding of the Department Of Homeland Security. The White House contends that so far most employers do not use Basic Pilot. The president is seeking an additional $111 million in funds to expand Basic Pilot and prepare for mandatory use.
A comprehensive immigration reform project, according to President Bush, should allow for a temporary worker program, as well as making it simple for employers to verify status of employees.
In 2005 President Bush doubled federal resources for immigrant workforce enforcement policies and seeks an additional $42 million for fiscal year 2007. The president hopes to add 171 new agents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is "far more criminal investigations than the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, which tended to rely on administrative fines as a sanction," according to the White House.
Arrests of illegal immigrants have totaled more than 42,000 since March 2003, and the White House reports that 31,000 of those arrested had outstanding criminal warrants.
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