Friday, April 07, 2006

Senate's Debate on Immigration Reform Now Stalled

As of April 7, the Senate's ongoing debate on comprehensive immigration reform is now stalled. From comments late Thursday night, the leader of the Republican Party (Senator Frist) insisted on allowing dozens of time-consuming amendments, many of which are being proposed by senators who will vote against the proposal. The Democratic leader (Senator Reid) objected, saying that insisting on extended debate of twenty amendments was essentially a fillibuster by amendment because the time needed to debate them would essentially consume so much time that Congress would go into recess and the debate would die.

Republican McCain lamented that the failure to work together to pass a proposal was "a huge blow."

The most recent proposal is not even that favorable to undocumented immigrants -- rather than adopt the extremely harsh and narrow rules of the McCain-Kennedy proposal, it further restricts earned legalization by splitting the undocumented into three categories depending on whether immigrants have been in the United States more than five years, more than two years, or less than two years.

If the immigration agency applied the proposal as strictly, legalistically, and harshly as it applies the current complex laws, there will be hundreds of harsh results if the watered-down proposal became law.

Even if the Senate passed a proposal, it would have to be passed by the House and there is even more danger that the House would insist on watering down any Senate proposal even more.

The McCain-Kennedy proposal was an overly harsh and narrow earned legalization program. Republicans are busy trying to gut that proposal by watering it down in the Senate while leaving open the danger of again watering it down when the House insists on more changes.


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