Opposing Immigration Bills

Opposing immigration bills

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Monday an immigration bill that differs markedly from one passed by the House this past December. Here are key points:

Judiciary - Illegal immigrants in the US before 2004 may work legally for six years if they pay a $1,000 fine and have no criminal record. They become eligible for permanent residence upon paying another $1,000 fine and any back taxes and learning English.

House - Makes illegal presence in the US a felony. Requires detention of all non-Mexican illegal immigrants arrested when entering the US and mandatory sentences for those smuggling them in.

Judiciary - Creates a pilot guest-worker program for some 1.5 million farm workers. New immigrants may obtain temporary work visas. Both groups can earn permanent residence.

House - Does not include a guest-worker program. Requires all employers to use a database to verify Social Security numbers of employees within six years or face civil or criminal penalties.

Judiciary - More than doubles the number of Border Patrol agents by 2011. Authorizes a "virtual wall" of unmanned vehicles, cameras, and sensors to monitor the US-Mexico border.

House - Requires building two-layer fences along 700 miles of the 2,000-mile border between Mexico and the US.

Source: The Associated Press