June 28, 2013

Immigration reform faces obstacles in House

By David Espo and Erica Werner / The Associated Press

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Immigrant students join a coalition of immigrant-rights supporters on a 24-hour vigil calling on the U.S. Congress to pass immigration reform outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The Associated Press

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Adan Ramirez stands under a portrait of Rufino Contreras during a meeting at the United Farm Workers office in Salinas, Calif., to discuss the immigration reform bill on Thursday. Contreras was killed during a labor strike in 1979.

The Associated Press

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In their discussions to date, the lawmakers have agreed to a pathway to citizenship over 15 years, two years longer than the Senate legislation provides. Their efforts at an overall compromise have stumbled over details of a guest worker program and other issues.

The situation was far different in the Senate, where the Gang of Eight drafted legislation, shepherded it through the Senate Judiciary Committee and then helped negotiate tough border security requirements that helped swell Republican support.

As the measure was passing the Senate on Thursday, members of the Gang of Eight were urging the House to be ready to compromise.

"You may have different views on different aspects of this issue, but all of us share the same goal, and that is to take 11 million people out of the shadows, secure our borders and make sure that this is the nation of opportunity and freedom," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

The bill passed by the Senate devotes $46 billion to border security improvements, including calling for a doubling of the border patrol stationed on the U.S.-Mexico border and the completion of 700 miles of fencing. No immigrant currently in the United States illegally could qualify for a permanent resident green card until those border enhancements and others were in place.

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