WASHINGTON -- The House is to vote next week on legislation to strengthen border security and require workplace enforcement of immigration law but would not offer a guest worker program, a goal of President Bush and many in Congress.
House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who crafted the bill, said he supports a guest worker program, which would provide temporary visas for unskilled labor.
Some guest worker proposals would allow illegal immigrants already in the country to participate, although Sensenbrenner has not stated a position on that issue.
But he said that without a clear consensus on what that program would entail, ''I believe it is wise to move cautiously."
The committee is expected to vote on the measure, which would also impose tougher penalties for smugglers and illegal immigrants, tomorrow. The full House will take up the bill next week, committee aides said.
Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, has pledged to consider immigration reform in February.
Bush traveled to the Mexican border last week to highlight the need for both tighter borders and a guest worker program.
Under his proposal, undocumented workers would be able to get work visas for up to six years but then would have to leave the country to apply for a new visa.