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US senators reach compromise on immigration bill Mark Oliver and agencies Friday April 7, US politicians reached a breakthrough overnight on an immigration bill that would put the vast majority of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants on the path to US citizenship.
Republican and Democratic members of the US senate have been in bitter dispute over immigration reform in recent weeks, while thousands of illegal immigrants and pro-reformers have demonstrated across the country.
A tortuously-agreed compromise was finally reached last night on the vexed issue of legalisation after movement from hardline Republicans nervous about losing Latino votes in November's congressional elections.
Article continues But a short time after the compromise deal was reached a procedural spat developed over possible amendments which may yet derail the bill, which if adopted would bring in the biggest changes to US immigration law for two decades The compromise would allow illegal immigrants who have been in the US more than five years - around seven million people - to seek citizenship if they remain employed.
The bill would also create a temporary worker programme for aroundjobs a year, which could be filled by illegal immigrants who have been in the US for less than five years. Some more liberal Republicans were calling the compromise a touchstone moment for the party on immigration.
But a significant group of conservatives still see the moves towards legalisation as tantamount to an amnesty for criminals and are pushing for amendments to the compromise deal. The Democrats are fighting any amendments, saying these would undermine the bill.
The bill requires a vote in the senate to become law and it was not clear whether the wrangling would be sorted out in time to get the legislation approved by tonight. If it is not approved today it will be put on hold until Congress returns from a two-week Easter recess. There were concerns in some quarters that the compromise could unravel if the deal was exposed to intense partisan political scrutiny over the break.
Elements from both sides criticised the compromise deal. The US president, George Bush, has supported some form of temporary worker programme but has been careful to avoid exacerbating splits in his party ahead of the elections.
Last night he applauded the senate's efforts to draft a bill. Many Republicans had previously supported tough legislation approved by the House of Representatives last December which made it a federal felony to live illegally in the US, but the proximity of elections and the recent demonstrations have changed attitudes.
Arounddemonstrators calling for immigration reforms took to the streets of Los Angeles a fortnight ago, and there have also been marches in New York, Chicago and other cities. More demonstrations are planned for Monday, including one in Washington that organisers claim will drawpeople.
Republican senator John McCain, one of the favourites for the party's nomination for president inco-sponsored the bill with Democrat senator Edward Kennedy.
Mr McCain was disappointed last night that the bill was delayed. The bill would essentially separate illegal immigrants now living unlawfully in the US into three categories: This category probably accounts for around three million people.
This group is probably around a million people. It was estimated that it could take some illegal immigrants up to 14 years to become citizens, partially because there is an annual limit ofon green cards, which are a precursor to full citizenship.
The proposed bill includes provisions requiring employers to verify they have hired legal workers and calls for a "virtual" fence of surveillance cameras, sensors and other technology to monitor the porous US-Mexican border, which spans nearly 2, miles.Sep 25, · A small number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
will have an opportunity to join the military for the first time in decades under a new . There were actually two polls about illegal immigrants voting published this week, inspired by news from San Francisco that the, ahem, “undocumented” would be allowed to vote in school board elections.
(San Fran isn’t the first American city to allow that, by the way.) The first survey I saw. In there was an estimated 8 million immigrants, came into the U.S. to look for new opportunities.
studies show that million to million illegal immigrants are now in the U.S. Should local law enforcement be allowed to detain illegal immigrants for minor crimes and transfer them to federal immigration authorities?
See how American voters answered this question. Because illegal immigrants are younger and more likely to be married, they represented a disproportionate share of births—8% of the babies born in the U.S.
between March and March were to at least one illegal immigrant parent. "Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to stay because they are illegal. There really isn't much to it. However, I believe that if they have legal citizenship, then .