Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Update To Earlier Post On Illegal Immigration

This just in from The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Tuesday to jump-start a stalled immigration measure to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants.

President Bush said the bill offered a "historic opportunity for Congress to act," and appeared optimistic about its passage by week's end.

The pivotal test-vote was 64-35 to revive the divisive legislation. It still faces formidable obstacles in the Senate, including bitter opposition by GOP conservatives and attempts by some waverers in both parties to revise its key elements.

Supporters needed 60 votes to scale procedural hurdles and return to the bill. A similar test-vote earlier this month found just 45 supporters, only seven of them Republicans. This time, 24 Republicans joined 39 Democrats and independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, to back moving ahead with the bill. Opposing the move were 25 Republicans, nine Democrats and independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., an architect of the bill, said he was proud of the vote, calling it "a major step forward for our national security, for our economy, and for our humanity."

... Tuesday's outcome was far from conclusive, however. The measure still must overcome another make-or-break vote as early as Thursday that will also require the backing of 60 senators. And there is no guarantee that it will ultimately attract even the simple majority it needs to pass.

The Senate was preparing to begin voting as early as Tuesday afternoon on some two dozen amendments that have the potential to either sap its support or draw new backers.

Republicans and Democrats alike are deeply conflicted over the measure, which also creates a temporary worker program, strengthens border security and institutes a new system for weeding out illegal immigrants from workplaces.

There's going to be another round of debate on this bill, and probably a vote. It will be interesting to see what happens if someone introduces an amendment for tougher penalties against the scofflaw employers. It was their demand for illegal low-wage labor that, bottom-line, created this problem for our country. Don't bet on anything like that passing -- remember, it's Washington. -- MJ

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