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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Arizona senator seeks immigration deal

    Arizona senator seeks immigration deal
    By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer
    Wed Apr 25, 3:30 AM ET

    In just a year, Republican Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona has transformed from determined opponent of a bipartisan immigration overhaul plan to a key player in President Bush's efforts to enact one.

    The turnabout for Kyl — the No. 3 Republican in the Senate and one of his party's steadiest conservatives — illustrates how dramatically the complex debate has shifted in the wake of the 2006 elections.

    A year ago Kyl was in the midst of a tough re-election race in a border state racked by strong feelings about immigration. He was adamantly opposed to a Senate-passed plan that allowed illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship and created a guest worker program for new arrivals. He called it "critically flawed" and said it put the interests of illegal immigrants before those of American workers.

    Now, Kyl is spending hours virtually each afternoon cloistered in a Senate office with administration officials and Democrats, hard at work on just such a measure.

    A discussion draft floated by the White House recently proposed giving the nation's roughly 12 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship — albeit a much tougher one than last year's plan — though Kyl and others have called it amnesty.

    His new role in the efforts to strike a bipartisan compromise is heartening to the White House and many Republicans, who view Kyl as essentially a proxy for what most in the party consider tolerable on immigration. But it is deeply disturbing to some liberals. They see Kyl's involvement as an impediment to compromise and a sign that Republicans will insist on a more hardline approach.

    Kyl's presence is equally worrisome to some conservative lawmakers and activists, who fear that if the influential Arizonan embraces a more permissive immigration plan, he could bring many others with him.

    Kyl says his position hasn't changed since last year, when he sought unsuccessfully to toughen the 2006 measure and at one point warned its supporters that American workers would someday demand to know, "How could you have let this happen?"

    With no election pressures this year, he argues that there's room for a more conservative immigration measure.

    "People were not in a negotiating mood last year. There wasn't time. Everything was political, and it was very difficult to get anyone to even think about making compromises," Kyl said in a brief interview. "We have a chance to make it better than it was last year."

    Kyl and a majority of Republicans ultimately broke with Bush to vote against the bill that the Senate passed last May. It died in the House, where GOP conservatives instead pushed tough border-security measures.

    Now Kyl says his goal is to "create a bill that is more in tune with a majority of the Republicans in the Senate."

    The White House draft circulated last month appears heavily influenced by Kyl and other conservatives whose support Bush sees as vital to a deal.

    Illegal immigrants could stay in the U.S. and work after paying fines, but they would have to go home, endure long waits, and pay penalties as high as $10,000 to have a crack at citizenship. It would be more difficult for them to bring family members to the United States, and new temporary workers couldn't do that at all.

    With bipartisan bargaining kicking into high gear in recent days, Kyl and other Republicans have signaled they're open to a softer approach — lower fines and shorter waits for illegal immigrants seeking a chance at citizenship, according to sources close to the negotiations.

    Kyl would not comment on the details of the talks, but he sounded ready for compromise. "It hasn't been easy for any of us who have strongly held views on this to make some concessions, but everyone has made some concessions," he told reporters Tuesday.

    While most national polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support an immigration overhaul that would allow those here illegally to stay, work and earn their way to legal status, Kyl's tough stance last year weighed heavily in his re-election race. An Associated Press exit poll found that voters who supported Kyl said they felt terrorism and illegal immigration were extremely important factors.

    Some Republican lawmakers and senior aides say they have seen a shift in Kyl's thinking since then, toward a greater willingness to find a bipartisan compromise. As chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the party's message arm, Kyl now sees more of a responsibility to build and broadcast a politically palatable GOP position on the issue, they said.

    "He heard a lot in the election process that led him to understand that it was important to get something done, and I think he understood a little better about how many people felt really passionate about a solution to the problem," said Sen. Mel Martinez (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., another player in the bipartisan talks.

    Democrats and immigration rights activists are wary.

    "Senator Kyl has been opposed to immigration reform for some time. He voted against the bills (last year), and the fact that he is now speaking for some group of Republican senators is not encouraging," said Sen. Richard Durbin (news, bio, voting record) of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

    Charles Kamasaki of the nonpartisan Hispanic-American advocacy group La Raza said he's "hopeful but highly skeptical" about Kyl's involvement.

    "The underlying assumption is that making a bill tougher and less workable is somehow going to make it more likely to pass. I think it's a dubious assumption," Kamasaki said. ... urnabout_2
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Cliffdid's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    No Deals! They need to get out and get on line behind all the people who are already waiting to come here the legal way!!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member pjr40's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Redlands, California
    Now, Kyl is spending hours virtually each afternoon cloistered in a Senate office with administration officials and Democrats, hard at work on just such a measure.
    The cloistered bit is what scares me. Bring it out in the open and let the American people know what is going on behind those closed doors.
    <div>Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself. Mark Twain</div>

  4. #4
    JAK is offline
    Senior Member JAK's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Working hard to deceive what you really mean!
    Please help save America for our children and grandchildren... they are counting on us. THEY DESERVE the goodness of AMERICA not to be given to those who are stealing our children's future! ... and a congress who works for THEM!
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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