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May 26, 2006

Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, S. 2611!

On Thursday afternoon, the Senate voted 62-36 to pass S. 2611, the "Hagel-Martinez compromise" immigration bill, paving the way for conference negotiations with the House, which enacted the highly damaging "Sensenbrenner Bill", HR 4437, last December. Despite attempts by a handful of Senators to fundamentally alter the bill that was reported out of the Judiciary Committee in March, the basic architecture of comprehensive immigration reform survived intact after nearly four weeks of Senate Floor debate on the measure and votes on more than 40 amendments.

The Senate bill includes a path to permanent legal status for most of the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, a new temporary worker program, significant increases in family- and employment-based permanent visas, important reforms to the agricultural worker program, significant reforms to the high-skilled immigration programs, and relief for undocumented high school graduates (DREAM Act). The bill also includes some very harsh enforcement provisions and erosion of due process protections that will need to be addressed and corrected as negotiations move forward.

Posted by VisaLawyer at May 26, 2006 06:54 AM

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