From: FAIR <> Add to Address Book
Date: 2006/03/16 Thu PM 06:50:05 EST
Subject: Specter Amnesty Bill Developments for Thursday, March 16


Sad, But True-Cornyn and Kennedy Team Up On Guest Worker Amnesty, Sell Out American Workers
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee met to again consider the guest worker amnesty proposal put forward by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA). No amendments were offered, only discussion of how the committee should proceed. What follows is a summary of today's proceedings.

Maybe We Should Outsource the Senate Judiciary Committee!
The session began 10 minutes late, but was well attended with most members present for most of the time.

Sen. Specter (R-PA) opened the discussion by complaining about news coverage disparaging the slow progress of the committee and the fact that in four sessions the committee was unable to agree on even the least controversial provisions of the bill.
Sen. Specter (R-PA) then suggested the committee meet again tomorrow or Monday 27th with the hope of reaching agreement on major issues and changing the majority leader's mind about bringing up an enforcement-only bill on the floor.
The members agreed that on such short notice, it was unlikely they could get a quorum tomorrow and decided to meet on March 27th.
Sen. Kyl (R-AZ), while approving of a deadline to pressure the committee to act in a timely fashion, he complained that Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) had gone a bit too far.
Sen. Kyl asked Sen. Grassley (R-IA) if the social security and tax amendments offered earlier could be moved forward in the Finance Committee expeditiously. The Senate Finance Committee claims jurisdiction over these matters and Grassley is the committee chairman.
Sen. Grassley offered that he had directed his Finance Committee staff and his Judiciary Committee staff to work with members on these matters.
Sen. Specter asked Grassley if these matters, once resolved, could be taken up in the Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Grassley responded that he had not yet decided, but that with the agreement of 11 members of the Finance Committee, he would consent to a floor amendment on these matters which would be managed by the Finance Committee.
McCain-Kennedy/Cornyn-Kyl-Who is the Fairest Guest Worker Amnesty of Them All?
Sen. Specter (R-PA), as he has during previous sessions, voiced his view that it would be unfair to allow those who are currently present in the U.S. illegally to jump in line in front of those who were patiently applying for their green cards through legal channels.
Sen. Durbin (R-IL) asked that there be a vote on the McCain-Kennedy amnesty guest worker program as a substitute amendment for the Specter amnesty guest worker program.
Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) replied that the good work of the committee should not be effectively rejected by taking up McCain-Kennedy and that the committee should focus on the guest worker program, but not the amnesty.
Sens. Schumer (D-NY) and Durbin argued that the committee needed to decide where it stood regarding "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens-amnesty.
Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) was recognized by Chairman Specter to make a statement on a possible compromise. He gave an impassioned speech on the need for amnesty to bring illegal aliens out of the shadows. He asserted that the McCain-Kennedy bill would not let illegal aliens jump the line, because it required them to wait 6 years for green card status.
Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) rebutted the Kennedy argument by pointing out that allowing illegal aliens to stay and work in the U.S. for 6 years while awaiting their green cards was tantamount to giving them a green card at the outset.
Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) agreed with Sen. Kyl and argued that the Cornyn-Kyl amnesty guest worker bill is superior to McCain-Kennedy amnesty guest worker program and is not an amnesty.
Sen. Durbin (D-IL) asserted that McCain-Kennedy did not let people jump the line and called it "tough, but fair."
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) asked Kennedy about the background checks required by his bill and indicated she did not believe DHS could complete all the background checks under his bill.
Sen. Brownback (R-KS) commented that deferred mandatory departure in the Cornyn-Kyl bill also allowed aliens to remain in the country.
Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) replied by saying that while this is true, illegal aliens were not given the same legal status as under the McCain-Kennedy bill.
Sen. Specter (R-PA) announced that the committee would meet again on March 27 at 10:00 a.m. for another session to try and reach agreement on an amnesty guest worker bill.
Sen. Specter announced that there would be votes on a McCain-Kennedy amnesty guest worker program substitute amendment and a Cornyn-Kyl amnesty guest worker program substitute amendment to the Specter amnesty guest worker program proposal.
But We Forgot Amnesty for Agricultural Workers!
Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) inquired of Sen. Kennedy why the definition of guest worker in his bill didn't include agricultural workers.
Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) replied by saying Sen. Larry Craig's AgJobs amnesty guest worker bill covered these workers and suggested that the bill would be offered as a floor amendment.
Saving the Worst For Last-A Cornyn-Kennedy Compromise Guest Worker Amnesty
Sen. Specter (R-PA) announced just before ending the session that Sens. Cornyn and Kennedy had reached a tentative agreement on a guest worker program that would allow workers to stay for 2 years, go home for 1 year, and then return for 6 years. The annual number would be capped at 400,000. Specter asserted that this agreement had 9 firm votes of the 18 members of the committee.
Keep Those Calls Coming
Be sure to contact the members of the Committee if you haven't already done so. Their contact information is listed below.

Main Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Senate Judiciary Committee:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) - 202-224-4254
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) - 202-224-5251
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) - 202-224-3744
Sen. Jon L. Kyl (R-AZ) - 202-224-4521
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) - 202-224-2315
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - 202-224-4124
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC) - 202-224-5972
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) - 202-224-2934
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) - 202-224-6521
Sen. Thomas A. Coburn (R-OK) - 202-224-5754
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) - 202-224-4242
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) - 202-224-4543
Sen. Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) - 202-224-5042
Sen. Herbert H. Kohl (D-WI) - 202-224-5653
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - 202-224-3841
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) - 202-224-5323
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) - 202-224-6542
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) - 202-224-2152