Magazine article Workforce Management

Capitol Hill Immigration Talks Stalled

Magazine article Workforce Management

Capitol Hill Immigration Talks Stalled

Article excerpt

AFTER A SPRING highlighted by massive immigrant demonstrations and a tortuous Senate debate culminating in approval of comprehensive immigration reform, the summer has been a time for reflection-or political stalemate, depending on who is doing the analysis.

Before getting to work hammering out the differences between House and Senate immigration bills, House Republicans launched a series of hearings designed to examine the Senate measure.

Most conservatives oppose the Senate version because it includes a guest worker program and a path toward naturalization for the majority of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country, which they label "amnesty." The House bill, passed late last year, focuses solely on border security and workplace enforcement.

During the August congressional recess, nine House committees were scheduled to hold 21 hearings in 13 states, including one on employment verification.

Critics call the hearings a political ploy to prevent a bill from being finalized before Congress adjourns in late September, setting up immigration as an election issue. Conservatives believe their position will prevail at the polls. Tactics aside, the political tension has lengthened the odds for an agreement.

Although House leaders refer to the Senate measure as the "Reid-Kennedy bill" to prick up conservative ears by using the names of two prominent Democrats, they say they are elevating the debate. Nevertheless, three Republicans were among the primary architects of the Senate bill-Sens. …

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