Two amendments that would very possibly have derailed the immigration bill pending in the Senate were defeated this afternoon. Senator Cornyn introduced an amendment that would have made it harder for felons to participate in the Z visa legalization program. While that sounds like a worthwhile goal, included in that were people who had reentered the US after being deported (a felony) as well as people who failed to leave after being deported (also a felony). These immigration violations would have knocked a ton of people out of contention. Senator Kennedy introduced an alternative amendment that would have kept most of Cornyn's amendment EXCEPT the immigration related felonies noted above. Kennedy's amendment passed and Cornyn's failed.

Another amendment that failed was the DeMint provision to require Z visa applicants to have health insurance. That one went down largely on party lines.

And a GOOD amendment - the Bingaman provision to get rid of the Y guestworker one year home residency periods - was defeated mainly because it was perceived as being one that threatened the passage of the whole bill.

Several more amendments are expected to be voted on later today.