Senate Panel Begins Immigration Debate Anew

The Senate Judiciary Committee took up the issue of immigration today, reopening what promises to be — once again — one of the most contentious debates in Congress. Last year, the Senate passed a sweeping plan to legalize millions of foreign workers and create a guest worker program.

Sens. Edward Kennedy and John McCain are expected to make public a revised version of that plan soon.

Much of the debate was aimed at pre-empting critics, and swaying what senators called a rightfully skeptical American public to consider mass legalization — despite the fact that polls show many people opposing amnesty for those who have entered the country illegally.

If anything is to happen on the issue, many agree that it needs to be this year. Once the nation enters all-out presidential campaign mode, they say a hot button issue like legalizing immigrants won't stand a chance.

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