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Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: SENATORS STRUGGLE WITH IMMIGRATION BILL!

  1. #1
    WASHINGTON " Senators from both parties appealed for more time today as they struggled to come up with an immigration bill dealing with border enforcement, U.S. demand for low-wage workers and the fate of 11 million people in the country illegally.

    There is little consensus on how to set up a guest worker program that does not provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. So it appears unlikely that the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman is Sen. Arlen Specter, will meet its deadline of agreeing on a bill this week.

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says that regardless of the committee's action, he is determined to bring an immigration bill to the full Senate when lawmakers return from a weeklong recess on March 27.

    That bill might allow a vote on a guest worker program, but not necessarily one that includes illegal immigrants, as advocated by President Bush.

    "I understand the chairman made some comments about potentially delaying it, but my intent is to take it to the floor," Frist said. "It's an important issue: border security absolutely has to be addressed as does the enforcement and other issues surrounding immigration."

    Specter, R-Pa., said he would urge Frist not to bypass the Judiciary Committee. "This is a very complicated bill," Specter said, "and I think we have to get it done right."

    The House at the end of last year passed a bill that would criminalize illegal immigration activities and mandate employer checks of workers. The measure did not address the demand for workers that draws undocumented immigrants to the country.

    In his State of the Union address two years ago, Bush proposed a temporary worker program allowing participants to register for legal status for a specific time and then be required to return home. It would not provide an automatic path to citizenship.

    A business-backed proposal by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., would allow illegal immigrants to work for six years and then apply for permanent residency without having to leave the U.S.

    But several senators, leery of anything approaching amnesty in an election year and pointing to the failures of past guest worker programs, suggested a worker program should wait until after the U.S. gets better control of its borders.

    "It would be March madness to rush this," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas.

    Added Sen. Tom Coburn. R-Okla.: "Nobody in the country trusts us on this issue right now because we have not demonstrated the integrity to control our borders."

    Three leading Democrats on the Judiciary Committee " Kennedy, Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Dianne Feinstein of California " said in a letter to Frist that it would be a mistake for the Senate to take up a bill before the committee reaches agreement.

    "It is our sincere hope that this piecemeal approach does not occur," they wrote.

    Feinstein, differing with the McCain-Kennedy bill, said she favored a more limited guest worker program that focused on agriculture workers. She noted that there were an estimated 10 million to 12 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. despite past guest worker programs.

    If anything, she said, they "raised the question of whether guest worker programs become magnets for more undocumented populations."

    The committee on Wednesday dealt with some border security issues but did not take up temporary worker programs or a requirement that employers verify the legal status of employees.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said trying to change the law so the Social Security Administration would verify an employee's status would need approval from the Senate Finance Committee, which he leads.

    He also said that requiring the Internal Revenue Service to share information on workers "basically guts many of our efforts to protect taxpayer information."

    A proposal by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., would give illegal immigrants up to five years to leave the country. These immigrants could apply from their home country to return, either as temporary workers or for permanent residency.

    Specter has a bill that would allow illegal immigrants with jobs to get worker permits and get in line for legal residency. Critics say gaining legal residency under that approach could take decades.

  2. #2
    WASHINGTON " Senators from both parties appealed for more time today as they struggled to come up with an immigration bill dealing with border enforcement, U.S. demand for low-wage workers and the fate of 11 million people in the country illegally.

    There is little consensus on how to set up a guest worker program that does not provide amnesty to illegal immigrants. So it appears unlikely that the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman is Sen. Arlen Specter, will meet its deadline of agreeing on a bill this week.

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says that regardless of the committee's action, he is determined to bring an immigration bill to the full Senate when lawmakers return from a weeklong recess on March 27.

    That bill might allow a vote on a guest worker program, but not necessarily one that includes illegal immigrants, as advocated by President Bush.

    "I understand the chairman made some comments about potentially delaying it, but my intent is to take it to the floor," Frist said. "It's an important issue: border security absolutely has to be addressed as does the enforcement and other issues surrounding immigration."

    Specter, R-Pa., said he would urge Frist not to bypass the Judiciary Committee. "This is a very complicated bill," Specter said, "and I think we have to get it done right."

    The House at the end of last year passed a bill that would criminalize illegal immigration activities and mandate employer checks of workers. The measure did not address the demand for workers that draws undocumented immigrants to the country.

    In his State of the Union address two years ago, Bush proposed a temporary worker program allowing participants to register for legal status for a specific time and then be required to return home. It would not provide an automatic path to citizenship.

    A business-backed proposal by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., would allow illegal immigrants to work for six years and then apply for permanent residency without having to leave the U.S.

    But several senators, leery of anything approaching amnesty in an election year and pointing to the failures of past guest worker programs, suggested a worker program should wait until after the U.S. gets better control of its borders.

    "It would be March madness to rush this," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas.

    Added Sen. Tom Coburn. R-Okla.: "Nobody in the country trusts us on this issue right now because we have not demonstrated the integrity to control our borders."

    Three leading Democrats on the Judiciary Committee " Kennedy, Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Dianne Feinstein of California " said in a letter to Frist that it would be a mistake for the Senate to take up a bill before the committee reaches agreement.

    "It is our sincere hope that this piecemeal approach does not occur," they wrote.

    Feinstein, differing with the McCain-Kennedy bill, said she favored a more limited guest worker program that focused on agriculture workers. She noted that there were an estimated 10 million to 12 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. despite past guest worker programs.

    If anything, she said, they "raised the question of whether guest worker programs become magnets for more undocumented populations."

    The committee on Wednesday dealt with some border security issues but did not take up temporary worker programs or a requirement that employers verify the legal status of employees.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said trying to change the law so the Social Security Administration would verify an employee's status would need approval from the Senate Finance Committee, which he leads.

    He also said that requiring the Internal Revenue Service to share information on workers "basically guts many of our efforts to protect taxpayer information."

    A proposal by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., would give illegal immigrants up to five years to leave the country. These immigrants could apply from their home country to return, either as temporary workers or for permanent residency.

    Specter has a bill that would allow illegal immigrants with jobs to get worker permits and get in line for legal residency. Critics say gaining legal residency under that approach could take decades.

  3. #3
    It looks like the Senate will also come up with "enforcement only" bill just like the House. Don't have your hopes high guys ....

  4. #4
    Even if Senate DID come-up with Guest Worker program (allowing illegals to get the status while in US), it would still be killed in House-Senate Conference talks.
    So , what's the point (for Senators) of passing it (while making themselvelves look weak on enforcement)?

    All in all, as I suggested so many times before, only "Enforcement" Bills can pass the Congress (if anything at all to pass this or following year).

    Best Regards,
    IE

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