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Back and forth on immigration

Hillary Wicai Mar 22, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Two congressmen, Democrat Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, are expected to get the immigration debate going again on the Hill today. Marketplace’s Hillary Wicai reports.

HILLARY WICAI: The bill would increase border security and set up a so-called “new worker program” for low-skilled immigrants.

In addition, the bill would allow the undocumented who pay a fine and pass background checks to work temporarily. After six years of good status, those workers would be able to leave the country and then reenter the U.S. legally.

The House may be about to get this new legislation, but work on immigration in the Senate seems to have stalled.

John Keeley is with the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that supports more enforcement. He thinks immigration legislation won’t get anywhere this year.

JOHN KEELEY: The fact that the Senate, and in particular Chairman Kennedy, is not poised to do anything significant on immigration, that suggests to me that the overall prospects are quite grave.

Congressman Gutierrez has said that if the House and Senate don’t each pass a version of the bill by July, final passage will be tough.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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