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Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

The White House plans tomorrow to make a show of support for Rep. Mike Pence’s proposed immigration compromise, which has been criticized by some conservatives as another form of amnesty.

Washington sources told WND the Bush administration will send to the Texas border Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas; and Pence, R-Ind., for a press conference.

The White House intends to make a push to get some form of immigration reform passed by the Senate and House so President Bush can sign the legislation before the November elections, those sources tell WND.

The plan championed by White House election strategist Karl Rove is to avoid having Republican senators and congressmen face the voters without being able to take credit for any immigration reform passed by the GOP-controlled 109th Congress.

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the volunteer border-watch group Minuteman Project, called Thursday’s event “a staged public relations ploy by the White House to give the voting public the illusion that the administration is going to do something about border security.”

“The plan the Bush administration has is to sell ‘amnesty’ to the American public as ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’” Gilchrist told WND.

In July, Pence first announced he planned to introduce a bill he then was calling the “No Amnesty Reform Act.” The bill now is listed on Pence’s website as “The Hutchinson-Pence Plan: No Amnesty Immigration Reform.”

The Pence plan as originally proposed would require all illegal aliens to leave the United States and apply at “Ellis Island Centers,” operated by private companies in Mexico under a license from the U. S. government. They would then obtain a “Good Neighbor Safe Visa” qualifying them to re-enter the U.S. as “guest workers.”

As reported previously by WND, a group of 43 influential opinion leaders – including Alan Keyes, Phyllis Schlafly, David Horowitz and swiftboat-vet activist John O’Neill – have signed a declaration pledging to withhold support for any candidate, Democrat or Republican, who votes for legislation providing “amnesty” or a guest-worker program for illegal aliens.

The members of a group called the Secure Borders Coalition specifically opposed Pence’s “Ellis Island” proposal, labeling the plan “amnesty lite.” Calling the proposal “unacceptable,” the group argues it would provide for the “wholesale importation of aliens and a path to citizenship for them.”

Gilchrist told WND he believes the result of the Hutchinson-Pence plan will be to flood the U.S. with millions more illegal immigrants.

“Probably within hours of the Ellis Island Centers opening, counterfeit copies of the required documentation to re-enter the U.S. will be available on the streets of Los Angeles and dozens of other U.S. cities,” he said.

Tomorrow’s press conference at the Texas border is mentioned on Pence’s website, though without reporting the White House’s support for the plan.


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