President Bush says there must be a comprehensive plan to address border security, and part of that plan is a border fence.
"Part of the fencing is to make sure we stop flows of people coming across. And we, we must enforce our border," Bush told ABC News Correspondent Martha Raddatz in an interview on Thursday.
In March, Bush had said that fencing the border was impractical, but now the idea is back on the table as he struggles to come up with an immigration reform bill that will pass, said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who delivered the Democratic response to Bush's speech on immigration on Monday.
The Senate on Thursday passed an amendment that would construct a 375-mile fence along part of the U.S.-Mexico border and another that would mandate English as our national language.
But Bush wants more.
"Part of it's fencing, part of it's manpower increased, part of it is infrared detection. But part of it is also saying to somebody, 'if you're going to come here to do a job somebody's not doing, right now, there ought to be a legal way to do so on a temporary basis,' " he told Raddatz. "That's why I'm calling for a comprehensive plan."
Durbin agrees with Bush that more needs to be done to protect the border.
"We're talking about a 370-mile fence on a 2,000-mile border," he told "Good Morning America." "The weakness of that argument is obvious. We need to make sure that we have a comprehensive approach that has a secure border, which includes more border agents, more technology, fencing, yes, some vehicle barriers. It has to be an approach that just isn't about building a fence."
The Senate and the House are currently worlds apart in how they plan to reform immigration. The Senate bill calls for a guest worker program that would allow people to work temporarily -- but legally -- in the U.S. and allow illegals who have been here for a long time to get "earned citizenship." The House bill has no guest worker program and would make people who are here illegally into felons.
Durbin says it will take the president's leadership to bring Congress to an agreement.
"The House bill is strictly enforcement and it goes to the extreme, to charge not only the undocumented as felons, but to charge nurses and volunteers and people of faith who help them as criminal felons as well is just extreme," Durbin said. "I'm glad it's been rejected by some Republican leaders, and we have to try to find some common ground if and when the bill passes the Senate."
Bush also told Raddatz that having a guest worker program in place that would allow people to come to the U.S. temporarily to work legally would mean that people wouldn't feel like they had to sneak over the border. But, right now, the Senate bill calls for a guest worker program that would only allow for 200,000 people to come to the U.S. Durbin said that unless we crack down on the hiring of illegals, people will continue to sneak across the border.
"Unless we have enforcement at the border, and that is to take our borders under control to reduce the number of illegals, and then enforcement in the workplace so that the magnet that draws many of these people into the U.S. is ended, unless we have those two things, they will continue to flow across the border," Durbin said.
Yesterday, the Senate passed an amendment to make English the national language. Some think the Democrats are agreeing to this conversative measure so they can pass what they believe is the core of immigration reform, a pathway to earned citizenship for the 12 million people who are here illegally.
On Thursday, Durbin said he voted against Sen. James Inhofe's, R-Okla., amendment to make English the national language, but he voted in favor of Sen. Ken Salazar's, D-Colo., softer measure to make English a "common and unifying language."
"English is our American language," Durbin said. "It is the language that we know you need to master in order to succeed in this country."
"What we want to make sure is that in areas of health and safety and national security, there's no prohibition against the government using languages other than English," he added. "For instance, if we are, God forbid threatened with avian flu, don't we want to make sure that everybody within our borders understands that threat so we can stop that epidemic?"