by Jim Nintzel
It appears Congress may be close to resolving a major sticking point regarding immigration reform: What to do about the 12 million--or more--illegal immigrants now in the country. Although one wing of the GOP will call anything that allows them to have even temporary legal status "amnesty" (we're looking your way, Russell Pearce), it appears that the Senate bill will likely be similar to U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake's STRIVE Act, which would force undocumented workers to pay a $500 fine to allow them to stay in the United States for up to six years. If they don't have a criminal record, they can start on a path of citizenship if they return to their home countries to start the paperwork--and go to the back of the line.
Nicole Gaouette of the Los Angeles Times tells us:
WASHINGTON -- With a deadline looming to craft an accord on immigration reform, a bipartisan group of senators has agreed that their final compromise should immediately grant legal status to all illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
But disagreements still cloud overall progress and as senators met for a final, potentially decisive session later today, some questioned whether they would be able to reach a compromise.
"I'm still not sure we're going to reach an agreement," said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), on his way to a Republican strategy session before the bipartisan group met. He said one problem was that Democrats continually reopen issues that Republicans considered settled.