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May 24, 2006

Compromise Remains Intact, Vote on Final Passage Expected on Thursday

This just came in from AILA;

It appears as though the Senate will vote on final passage of S. 2611, the "Hagel-Martinez compromise" immigration bill, on Thursday of this week. A cloture petition was filed last night, a cloture vote will be held Wednesday morning, and additional amendments debated and voted on tomorrow and Wednesday.

Today's proceedings began with a vote on an amendment offered by Senator Feinstein (D-CA), which would replace the bill's three-tiered treatment of undocumented aliens with a single "orange card" system that would provide a path to citizenship for all eligible aliens present in the U.S. on January 1, 2006. Prospective applicants would have to register and submit fingerprints, pass all required background checks, demonstrate presence in the country, work history, an understanding of English, civics and American history, and would have to pay back taxes and a $2,000 fine. In addition, orange card holders would have to fulfill an annual reporting requirement and pay a $50 processing fee on each occasion. After completing the six-year prospective work requirement, orange card holders would be placed at the end of the line to apply for a green card, with their individual place in line corresponding to the length of time they had been in the U.S.

Several Senators who opposed the amendment did so reluctantly, noting that while they agreed with the substance of the Feinstein approach, they believed that passage of the amendment would break the "delicate and fragile coalition" currently supporting the bill and, ultimately, cause the bill to fail. The Senate rejected the Feinstein amendment by a vote of 37 to 61.

In other noteworthy votes occurring since our last edition of Pulse, the Senate beat back an attempt to strike the sections of the bill providing for earned adjustment for the current undocumented population, deferred mandatory departure, and earned adjustment for agricultural workers; killed an amendment to preclude guestworkers from being placed on a path to citizenship and reinstated a provision allowing them to self-petition for permanent residence; approved the placement of the National Guard along the border and the construction of additional border fencing; and rejected a controversial attempt to alter the wage provisions of the AgJobs compromise.

Posted by VisaLawyer at May 24, 2006 07:41 AM

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