WASHINGTON -- After months of partisan maneuvering, Senate passage of sweeping immigration legislation is virtually assured by Memorial Day. But that scarcely ends the struggle in Congress, given the vast differences between President Bush and House Republicans over the fate of millions of illegal immigrants.
The substance of the Senate bill is unlikely to change significantly from the measure that was stuck in gridlock more than a month ago. It includes additional border security, a new guest worker program and provisions opening the way to eventual citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
I feel contempt for the US Senate.
The agreement brokered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., breaks a political stalemate that has lingered for weeks while immigrants and their supporters held rallies, boycotts and protests to push for action.
Mr. Frist said 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats will negotiate with House members once the Senate passes an immigration bill. Seven of the Republicans and five of the Democrats will come from the Judiciary Committee, with the remaining negotiators to be picked by Mr. Frist and Mr. Reid.
President Bush has said he favors legislation that would enable immigrants to become citizens, but only after they meet strict standards. He has said repeatedly that he does not favor "amnesty," a word that is anathema to many conservatives. "We congratulate the Senate on reaching agreement, and we look forward to passage of a bill prior to Memorial Day," Dana Perino, deputy White House press secretary, told The Associated Press.
"Today's agreement is a major step forward in our fight for tough but fair immigration reform," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).
"Business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, religious leaders and the American people strongly support our plan to strengthen borders, provide a path to earned citizenship for those undocumented workers who are here and put in place a realistic guest worker program for the future."
Will the House leadership cave in and agree in conference committee to a bill more like the Senate's bill? You could send a brick to your Congressional representative for $11.95. This has become a symbolic way to demand a wall on the US-Mexico border. Elected representatives are trying to avoid accepting shipment of the bricks.
A Lawrenceville man shipping bricks to Congress as a demand for a secure border instead has collided with a wall of bureaucracy.
Jim McAuliffe, co-owner of a new Gwinnett-based mailing company, fears the Senate and House post offices are using a technicality to refuse to deliver nearly 1,200 bricks that arrived Tuesday and an additional 2,300 scheduled to arrive by today as a protest against illegal immigration.
A Senate postmaster claimed the bricks — which arrived by a UPS freight service — each require $3.90 in postage to be brought to members of Congress, McAuliffe said.
He's switched to sending the bricks via parcel post to get around the rule the postmasters in Congress were using to reject the bricks.
So far, McAuliffe's shipping records show the biggest targets of bricks are senators from Texas, Florida and California along with the leadership. Georgians — so far — aren't mailing in numbers; Tuesday's shipment included only 28 bricks for Sen. Johnny Isakson and 37 for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, both Republicans. A few were addressed to House members from Georgia; U.S. Reps. Tom Price and John Linder, also Republicans, led with eight each.
The US Senate seems deaf to the rising popular anger on immigration. So much for the idea that the United States has a goverment of, by, and for the people.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 May 11 09:50 PM Immigration Politics|