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Congress Still Working on Immigration Reform

Legislation may come up later this year.

Published on: Jun 26, 2009

Even with all of the focus on health care and energy in the nation's capitol immigration reform is still on the minds of the leadership. Senate Democrats have now outlined plans to reform the nation's immigration laws. It would include a requirement for U.S. workers to verify their identity through fingerprints or eye scan. Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says a system to verify work documents is needed because Congress has not cracked down on unscrupulous employers and illegal immigrants with fake documents. But missing from Schumer's priorities is an expansion of a guest-worker program.

Schumer believes legislation needs to secure control of the nation's borders within a year and require an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to register with the government and go through a rigorous process to convert to legal status or face immediate deportation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., believes the votes exist to get legislation through the Senate. On the House side Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says action could begin as early as this fall. The President is reportedly meeting with House and Senate members from both parties in an effort to build momentum. But White House officials have vowed to proceed with debate this year only if there's strong bipartisan support.