Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kennedy, McCain, lobbyists take lead on Senate amnesty legislation

Senate liberals and lobbyists are putting the final touches on a new comprehensive immigration-reform bill that includes easier amnesty provisions and weaker enforcement terms than those contained in legislation that passed the Senate last year. “Mr. Liberal,” Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will introduce the bill by early March.

Kennedy drafted this year's bill with help from Arizona Senator John McCain and from lobbying groups, including the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both support giving illegals currently in the U.S. a path to citizenship, as well as increasing the flow of foreign workers into the country.

EWIC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce drafted the section of the bill dealing with work-site enforcement. “That's putting the fox in charge of the henhouse,” one Senate lawyer said of the pro-business chamber's involvement in drafting the punishment of employers. Other lobbying groups involved in seeking passage of the legislation include the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Council of La Raza, and the Service Employees International Union.

McCain and Kennedy have long embraced the same goal of giving illegal aliens a direct path to U.S. citizenship despite having broken laws to get here in the first place. Both men denounce the view held by most Republicans that the federal government should first secure the border with Mexico and begin enforcing current laws before addressing other immigration issues such as what to do with the more than 10 million to 12 million aliens already here.

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