WASHINGTON – Supporters of a guest worker program that would let illegal immigrants stay in the United States said Tuesday they don’t have enough Senate votes to overcome objections from conservatives who oppose the measure on grounds it amounts to amnesty.
As negotiators worked on a compromise to let those who have been here longest remain, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said a majority in the 100-member Senate support his and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s proposal to provide green cards to illegal immigrants after they’ve worked in the U.S. for six years.
But it takes 60 senators to overcome opponents’ parliamentary tactics, and McCain said he doesn’t have that many.
There’s been a lot of hay made about this issue in recent days, and this poll at least seems to suggest that immigration will have an effect this fall. And if that’s the case…expect a lot more political wrangling ahead. A LOT more.
Me, I’m torn on this issue. Of course, I think border security is what we need to address first, and the 700 mile fence is a completely valid way to solve that problem. I just don’t think we can have a serious discussion in this country about amensty or guest workers until we seriously cut the number of illegals who flow through our borders each year.
However, do I realize that the American economy depends on illegal workers? Yes. And since they’re contributing, we have to acknowledge that in a way that isn’t “Kick em out!” The guest worker program that McCain and Kennedy propse is a good first step to coming clean on this issue.
But again…if people keep streaming across the border…we’re going to keep on having this same conversation over and over and over again.