The Hurdles to Come
The bipartisan coalition that forged the Senate compromise on immigration legislation has held together to stave off amendments, from liberals and conservatives, that could upset the delicate deal. But this week the group faces the biggest challenges to its cohesion. Here are some of the pending amendments:
· Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) would expand the number of crimes defined as aggravated felonies, creating new grounds to deport illegal immigrants and make prospective immigrants inadmissible.
· Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) would force the Department of Homeland Security to process all family-based immigration applications that have been backlogged since January of this year. The compromise bill clears up the backlog that formed before May 2005.
· Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would require those voting in person to present photo identification.
· Menendez and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) would raise the cap on green cards for the parents of U.S. citizens from 40,000 to 90,000 a year.
· Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) would prevent newly legalized undocumented workers from earning the earned-income tax credit.
· Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) would allow reunification green cards to be granted to the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents, not just U.S. citizens.
· Menendez and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would attach a sunset date to the new point system that awards green cards based more on education and skill levels than on family connections.