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May 17, 2006

This week the Senate is considering approximately 40 amendments to the underlying immigration bill, S.2611–the Hagel-Martinez Compromise Bill.  The Hagel-Martinez bill basically tracks the 5-point plan laid out by the President in Monday’s speech:  strengthening border enforcement, creating a guestworker program so the U.S. can meet its labor needs with a lawful workforce, allowing earned citizenship for long-time residents, and promoting assimilation.

These amendments run the gamut:  some would strip the guestworker program, some would strip the earned citizenship, etc.  As a result, though the Hagel-Martinez bill is comprehensive in nature, the final result of the Senate’s work may not be.  This week’s votes on these amendments will determine what kind of immigration bill comes out of the Senate.  It is so important for stakeholders in this debate to contact their Senators in support of a comprehensive approach that recognizes that a border wall alone is not going to resolve our immigration issues.