President Bush can expect a staunch battle in Congress on his proposals for illegal aliens, with much of the opposition coming from members of his own party.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., is vowing to lead the charge against Bush’s plan for a guest-worker program, allowing some illegals to obtain legal work permits to remain in the U.S.

“Why is this so important to the president?” Tancredo asked rhetorically in a Reuters interview. “Is it just the corporate interests who benefit from cheap labor? Do they have such a strong grip on our president so that he is actually willing to put our nation at risk, because open borders do put our nation at risk?

“Is it petulance, because we were able to stop it in the last Congress? Why is it so important to give amnesty to people who have broken the law?” he said. “I’m willing to lead a fight against this and I would say there are at least 180 members of our Republican caucus who are willing at least to stop amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

The president has made it clear he intends to push hard for his immigration proposals, making it a priority in his second term.

Bush told the Washington Times, “Look, whether or not you agree with the solution or not, we have a problem in America when you’ve got 8 million undocumented workers here. A solution is not instantaneous citizenship. The solution is something more rational than that.”

While the president insists he is not looking to offer any amnesty to illegal aliens, Tancredo told Reuters that was a “manipulation of language, the kind of thing [former President] Bill Clinton would have done. There is an issue of integrity here and an issue of honesty.”

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