The Miami Herald
Fri, Aug. 06, 2004

We'll punish Bushes at the polls, immigrants promise

Immigrant voters will show their displeasure with the Bush brothers for not doing enough to help undocumented migrants become legal, advocates say.


Leaders of several immigrant and labor rights organizations in South Florida on Thursday accused President Bush and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, of failing to keep promises to help undocumented migrants legalize their presence.

At a Miami news conference, speakers for the groups said immigrants who have become American citizens will vote against candidates who have not helped advance proposals that would enable illegal migrants to achieve legal status. The proposals are two congressional bills that would put migrant farmworkers and children of undocumented migrants on a track to legal residency and a plan to grant temporary residency to undocumented migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

''Immigrants are paying attention and, come Election Day, they will cast their ballots for public officials who deliver on their promises, not for those who continue to make empty promises,'' said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union.

Taylor Gross, a White House spokesman, said President Bush is working with Congress in shaping his guest-worker program. Jacob DiPietre, a Gov. Bush spokesman, said his boss was studying the proposal.

Activists at the news conference said President Bush had offered to grant temporary work permits to illegal migrant workers but had done little to advance the project, and had also not objected to Republican lawmakers in Congress blocking a separate bill giving residency to migrant farmworkers.

They also took Gov. Bush to task for not following up on his recent statement that he would be ''inclined'' to support temporary protected status for Haitians. Immigrant advocates said the offer should also be extended to Dominicans.

DiPietre said Gov. Bush realizes only the federal government can grant temporary status.