The border battle will intensify Monday as the Senate gears up to kick off two weeks of debate over an issue that has Republicans split not only among themselves, but many with President Bush, as well.
The Senate will try to mesh together several immigration reform bills to produce one comprehensive package that aims to deal with the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a midnight deadline for completing a bill.
The president, meanwhile, is pushing Congress to pass a "guest-worker" program that would let many illegal immigrants already in the United States to stay if they have jobs, as long as they go back to their home country to apply for the worker permits. Read more.
Is an amnesty program the answer to America's illegal immigration problem?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and jump into the debate.
Here's what people in the news are saying:
"Our government must enforce our borders. We've got plans in place to do so. But part of enforcing our borders is to have a guest worker program that encourages people to register their presence so that we know who they are and says to them, `If you are doing a job that Americans won't do, you're welcome here for a period of time to do that job.' " — President George W. Bush
"We will not accept enforcement-only approaches." — Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza
"If they're prepared to work to become American citizens in the long line traditionally of immigrants who have helped make this country, we can have both a nation of laws and a welcoming nation of workers who do some very, very important jobs for our economy." — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
"Be realistic — you can't deport them so the best thing you can do is give them a path toward legalization. " — Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Here's what FOX Fans are saying:
“I strongly believe that one of the first things we need to do is to stop the illegal hiring.” — Delman (Indianapolis, IN)
“If anyone thinks that it is possible to arrange for 11,000,000 people to be returned to Mexico against their will, they are seriously illogical. The only way to get a handle on this problem is to make sure that those people cannot find work unless they obey rules. Therefore, we must be vicious in our treatment of American employers who give illegals work.” — John (San Jose, CA)
“We do not need more immigration laws. We need to enforce the laws we have. Every decade or so we go through this and Congress passes a new law that no one enforces.” — Toni (Kingman, AZ)
“This has got to be the worst idea I have heard on this subject so far! If the government can't get rid of terrorist sleeper cells, what makes you think they are going to be able to get rid of anyone else?” — Natalie
“It's all about money! The president and some people in Congress know that it would cost millions, if not billions to enforce existing immigration laws. So they have devised a cheaper solution, ‘The Guest Worker Program.’ What a joke! It didn't fix the problem when Reagan did it, and it won't work now! Let's start learning from our mistakes!” — Brian
“Round them up, send them back, seal the borders: end of story.” — Jac
“I wish that some people contributing to ‘Speak Out!’ were deported. And to think you actually believe you are ‘true’ Americans!” — Janice (NJ)
“Amnesty should never be offered to those who break the law. Ever!” — Katie (Lake Wylie, SC)
“The solution to this problem is quite simple: make Mexico the 51st state. We already have American businesses operating in Mexico and it would give us a smaller border to watch. Let Mexico vote on it, if they don't want to go that route, then shut them out completely.” — Joe (MN)
“The survival of a nation depends on a few bedrock fundamentals: a common language, a shared culture and values, defined and secure borders and respect for the rule of law. By their own conduct in sneaking into this nation, the illegal alien has already demonstrated a disrespect for the rule of law. Since the illegal alien will not speak our language nor will he assimilate into our culture, he poses an unacceptable risk to the life of our nation.” — Craig
“Amnesty for illegals would be a disaster. It would mark the failure of America. All of America's founders would turn over in their graves!” — Cliff (W. Des Moines, IA)
“If you people think that a few illegal immigrants, most of whom arrive in this country eager to work, are our biggest problem, you better get your heads out of the sand. Until I see staggering crime statistics, I believe our attention would be better focused elsewhere.” — Luke (PA)
“Amnesty is not the answer, but since it is actually impossible to deport all illegal immigrants, the only way to deal with this problem is to drive employers who currently benefit from this situation to bankruptcy.” — Joseph (San Francisco, NY)
“It is my opinion that the U.S. just give all immigrants free food, free medical care, free hospitalization, build them lovely homes, provide them with free education, free clothing and allow them to vote as citizens. Come to think of it, every American should also speak only the Spanish language! Watch how fast American citizens would immigrate to either Canada or Mexico!” — Lois
“Small business owners in Texas depend on Mexican immigrants because they have a greater motivation to work hard at lower wages than their American counterparts. We need to seriously consider a guest-worker program for border states where manual labor jobs are primarily filled by our southern alien neighbors. My personal experience is that Latino immigrants are good citizens, good neighbors, and contribute much to maintain a high morality in areas where they are in the majority. They also tend to put down roots rather than pursue a transitory lifestyle.” — S.P. (Dallas, TX)
“Why do these illegals assume they have the right to protest, send their kids to school here or anything else? If they want those rights, why don't they come here legally and learn to speak English? I'm sick and tired of the American taxpayers being taken advantage of.” — Michelle (Stratford, CT)
“President Clinton gave any illegal immigrant who came forward amnesty and the situation got worse, not better. This proved that an amnesty policy is not the answer. All the people who are demonstrating for illegal's ‘rights’ should all adopt three or four illegals and pay to house, feed and clothe them.” — Linda (Richardson, TX)