March 21, 2007


House immigration bill offers citizenship: The effort includes measures to appeal to conservatives, including tougher security and enforcement and a requirement that illegal immigrants leave and return (Nicole Gaouette and Teresa Watanabe, March 21, 2007, LA Times)

Two lawmakers will fire the opening salvo in this year's immigration debate Thursday when they introduce the first House bill in many years to call for citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Reps. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will unveil broad legislation that would also create a new worker program, stiffen worker verification procedures and overhaul the visa system to reduce waiting times for legal immigrants.

In recognition of the tensions that surround the controversial issue, the bill also contains provisions designed to appeal to conservatives who want stronger border enforcement and oppose citizenship provisions that grant amnesty to people in the country illegally.

One measure would ensure that tough border security and work-site enforcement standards are met before other changes can go forward. Another would require illegal immigrants eligible for citizenship under the bill to leave the country and return legally.

The congressmen, veterans of the immigration issue, are introducing their legislation at a time when Senate efforts to craft a bill have stalled, even as the Bush administration has worked intensely to build GOP support. Flake and Gutierrez worked with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) to craft a joint bill before moving ahead on their own.

The leave and return provision is particularly childish, but you've got to throw the wahoos a bone once in awhile.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2007 12:00 AM

but you've got to throw the wahoos a bone once in awhile.

This from the one guy who still thinks Simpson-Mazzoli was a great legislative achievement.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 21, 2007 9:43 AM

The Reagan amnesty is the template. By pretending there'd be tougher enforcement he got millions of new Americans. W is going to get tens of millions.

Posted by: oj at March 21, 2007 9:59 AM