WASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) -- Various conservatives and celebrities have petitioned U.S. President George Bush to support the House's hard-line immigration bill instead of the Senate's.
A copy of the letter was also sent to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., by such people as William Bennett, Robert Bork, Ward Connerly, David Keene, Phyllis Schlafly and a number of think-tank academics, The Washington Times reported.
Bush has shown more support for the Senate version, which includes stepped-up border security, along with a guest worker program, which some conservatives consider an amnesty.
"Border and interior enforcement must be funded, operational, implemented and proven successful and only then can we debate the status of current illegal immigrants or the need for new guest-worker programs," the 39 conservative leaders wrote.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow defended Bush's stance in favoring the Senate version by citing a Wall Street Journal poll that showed 50 percent of those asked favored a guest-worker program over deporting illegal aliens. In the poll of 1,002 adults, 33 percent favored deportation.