Bipartisan Immigration Bill Faces Bipartisan Critics

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NPR Analysis

The Senate has opened debate on the bipartisan immigration reform plan backed by President Bush. Its supporters say amendments to the compromise could threaten the delicately negotiated measure — even before it gets to the House.

In the first day of debate, senators have already rebuffed one attempt to strip a key provision from the plan, which has drawn a steady stream of objections from the left and the right.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) offered an amendment to eliminate a plan to bring in at least 400,000 temporary guest workers into the United States each year, saying that those workers would threaten American jobs.

One of the immigration bill's sponsors, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) sought to keep Dorgan's amendment out.

"The idea that you eliminate completely the guest worker program means what?" Kennedy asked. "It means you're going to have border guards that are going to be chasing after landscapers out in the middle of the desert."

Sen. Dorgan's amendment to do away with the guest worker program failed, only getting 31 votes. The Senate debate is expected to continue for the next several weeks.

The issue is also of concern in the House, where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) are framing their positions on the matter.

Periodically, we check in with these freshmen members of Congress to gauge their first year in office.

Today, we get their respective views on the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act currently being debated by the Senate.



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