Dropping Felony for Immigrants

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, confronted with internal party divisions as well as large public demonstrations, said Tuesday they intend to pass immigration legislation that does not subject illegal immigrants to prosecution as felons. Read more.

Should illegal immigrants be prosecuted as felons? GOP leaders say no. What do YOU think?

E-mail us at speakout@foxnews.com and let us know what YOU think!

Here's what people in the news are saying:

"It remains our intent to produce a strong border security bill that will not make unlawful presence in the United States a felony." — From a written statement by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)

"Actions speak louder than words, and there's no running away from the fact that the Republican House passed a bill, and Senator Frist offered one, that criminalizes immigrants." — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)

Here's what FOX Fans are saying:

“I believe it should be a felony if the illegal immigrants don't have a legal visa or don't return to their home country in a given length of time.” — Loren (Cape Girardeau, MO)

“Definitely! There are millions of legal American citizens who cannot find work, and they'd love to get the jobs these illegals are getting. New Orleans is being rebuilt by illegal labor. There are many local contractors that simply cannot get jobs because companies in that region would rather hire someone who will work for nearly nothing, and then they send all that money out of the U.S. to build Mexico's economy. I agree with many of the other comments I've read here on Speak Out. Make illegal entry into our country a felony with mandatory deportation! Why have these laws if no one follows them?” — Charles (Paterson, NJ)

“I totally disagree with granting amnesty to the illegal aliens. It is a criminal offense to be in this country illegally and I feel they should be expelled immediately. If they fail to go, after having been told, then charge and convict them as criminals. I also think we need a complete cleansing of Congress. It appears as if they have lost all perspective as to why they were elected — to represent the people (rightful citizens) of the U.S.” — Norm (Harpers Ferry, WV)

“Illegal immigration will end if you classify the illegal invaders as felons, heavily fine employers, and end any government services to illegals. It is that simple. However, most politicians are no longer interested in what is good for the country. They only want to be re-elected.” — Trey

“It is a felony for a person to illegally immigrate into Mexico, and most other countries, if they do it multiple times. The federal government has never been serious about solving this problem, and this time is only different because we have now become France.” — Steve

“Yes, they should be treated as felons. What would Mexico do to one of us if we walked in illegally and did the same thing? Make the law and enforce it. Increase border security and use it — not just in the south, but in the north as well. It's bad enough that illegals are coming in, but what kind of people are in that group? Many are hard workers that want a better life. Many are criminals looking to sell drugs and commit other crimes. Most of all, some may have ties to extremist groups that wish to do harm to the U.S. and use our porous, blind-eyed border to come in.“ — Matthew

“It makes me sick to my stomach to hear people like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin and others on both sides of the aisle talk about how the Republicans want to criminalize the poor, hard-working illegal immigrants. Is it against our laws for them to come here illegally or not? I believe it is. Many of them are hard working people, probably most of them, however that does not give them the right to break our laws. I also believe that they would not be here were it not for the greed of business owners looking for cheap labor. The argument that is being made by the president and others that they only take the jobs that Americans wont take is absolutely ridiculous. They take the jobs at a much lower wage than Americans can afford. I have relatives in the construction business and the illegal Mexicans are constantly underbidding them on jobs. I also believe that most Americans want the illegal immigrants and the people who employ them to be prosecuted. They also take full advantage of the corrupt officials at every level of our government to obtain falsified documentation. It seems that our government officials are more than willing to give them anything they want. I will be watching, as will thousands of other Americans, and I will not vote for any politician who casts his vote to give amnesty, by any name, to these illegals.” — Doc (Nashville, TN)

“Anything illegal in this country should be prosecuted in the same way — no special treatment. The companies hiring them should also be fined heavily.” — Pat (Ohio)

“Illegal is illegal. What part do people not understand? Close the borders, even if it means putting the National Guard there. Does this mean the Senate and the House have no intention of closing the borders?” — Jeanne (Kaukauna, WI)

“Do not waste another taxpayer dollar on the illegals by prosecuting them. Just deport them and put up a big wall so they can’t return illegally!” — Salvatore

“It’s simple. Give them 60 days to get out of the country, and after that consider them felons. And those who leave voluntarily are allowed to apply for entry back into our country — legally.” — Ken

”Not only should they be treated as felons, but the children born of illegal in this country should also be considered illegal. There should be no free medical or services. If they made the penalty so high to the businesses that hire them, it would put a stop to it. No jobs, no illegal entries. Possibly even a jail term on the second or third time.” — Alan

“Make it illegal and deportable, but not a felony.” — Jim

“Yes! Illegal immigrants should be prosecuted as felons. Why do you think we keep having this problem over and over again? Maybe if we did prosecute everyone who illegally crosses our border, they would think twice about doing so.” — Jim

“I do not think our courts should waste any time or resources prosecuting these criminals. They should be returned to their homelands and permitted to re-enter only once they have gone through the proper channels to enter this country legally.” — Tony

“Illegal immigrants are felons and should be prosecuted as felons. They need to be processed through our system just like our great grandparents were. Just because they are fleeing a failing government of corrupt police and politicians doesn’t give them the right to bring their corruption into our country and expect it to be the norm.” — Stuart

“Yes. Why should we treat Mexican nationals any different from any other foreign nationals that enter the country illegally? Our government needs to make sweeping reform that helps those seeking freedom and a better way of life to migrate to the U.S. the right way…not working and living in the underbelly of sweatshops and slave labor like conditions and pay. We should help all nations bring diversity to the U.S., not just Mexican.” — Scott

“With our already bogged down courts, will somebody explain to me just how we are supposed to prosecute 12 million illegals? Get real! The ones who are already here are here to stay. Turning them all into felons would achieve nothing good.” — Phil (Locust Grove, GA)

“It is time people understand what the word illegal means in the English language. Arrest all the illegal protesters and deport them back to Mexico. Let them get in line and come over here legally. They cannot use our laws and services when they break our laws. Get them out of our country until they become law abiding.” — Nancy (St. Louis, MO)

“Yes, if we make it a felony maybe people will start taking it more seriously. They are a threat to national security.” — Michael

“I know a lot of immigrants that are wonderful people. They are energetic, hard working, intelligent and moral people. They are also contributors to our community and our society. I am very disappointed at the mean spirit that is coming from a lot of the Republican Party. I have voted Republican all my life (age 18 to age 58), but am considering changing parties if I don't see more compassion for the weak.” — Mickey

“Illegal aliens should be deported. We shouldn't waste time and money by trying them in our court system, either for misdemeanors or felonies. They should be forced to leave the country promptly.” — Elizabeth

“I don't think that they should become felons. They should be deported and required to enter the U.S. legally. If on the second arrest for illegal immigration, they should then be charged as felons. For now, all illegals should be deported.” — Richard

“Maybe not. It might be better to look at the GOP members as felons since they are unable to make sure the law is enforced and not keep rewriting what you will, and will not, abide by.” — Jim (Georgia)

“I believe that the illegal immigrants should be forced to go back to their own country. But if they want to be in our country, they should go through the proper steps to get a green card or become a legal citizen of the U.S. There are many people that I am sure that are waiting in line to become citizens or to get into the U.S. legally, so why should these illegal immigrants be granted what other people are trying to accomplish the legal way? Some people say immigrants come to the U.S. to do the jobs that Americans will not do. I believe that illegal immigrants should not be doing these jobs, instead give them to the imprisoned U.S. men and women. They should be forced to work in the fields and earn the roof over their heads and food in their mouths instead of the taxpayers having to support them. I think it should be a felony, however, for those who do come over illegally.” — Veronica

“What do you mean 'as felons?' They are felons and so are the companies that hire them.” — Carolyn (Bloomsbury, NJ)

“Yes, they should be prosecuted as felons. What are the laws for if we do not enforce them? American tax evaders face much harsher judgment than these illegals. How is it that they receive MORE protection from our laws than we do?” — Peggy

“They shouldn’t become felons, but they shouldn’t be allowed to work in this country. The people hiring them should be fined.” — Daniel

“Our legislators are not serious about this illegal immigration problem. It makes no difference if it is a felony of misdemeanor if there is no action in the form of enforcement of the law.” — Larry (Colby, KS)

“Yes they should. If not, we will become a country where no one obeys the laws.” — Lynne (Conway, AR)

“No, they should not be considered felons, nor should those who help them. It is very hypocritical of the GOP. The only way these provisions could have been written into the bill HR 4437 is if a GOP sponsor had inserted them. Also, if the GOP wanted to strip them out, it could do so under a strict party line. Democrats should not be expected to rescue the GOP sponsors.” — Bob

“Secure our borders and do not charge illegals with felony.— Nell (Whitmore Lake, MI)

“If I speed, then I get a ticket. If I rob a bank or murder someone, I will get prosecuted. So I think its hypocritical of ourselves, as a nation of laws, to not enforce the laws of our nation. I think a felony charge would deter illegal border crossings.” — Christopher (Orlando, FL)

“Yes, and they should be deported. They talk about what they contribute to the economy, but what about want they take away from the economy? They use our services and pay no taxes.” — Bill

“Yes, they need to pay taxes.” — Lowell

“Yes I do! They have broken the law, and just because they are immigrants doesn't make them any less criminal. My punishment wouldn't be jail, but deportation — no questions asked. If you aren't here legally, then here is the way out.” — Doreen

“Illegal is the operating word. If I were to do anything illegal, I'd be prosecuted. Why should illegal aliens be treated differently? The pandering to this group of criminals is obscene. I can't imagine what would happen if one million citizens marched in the street to protest against this fraud. First we'd all be fired for missing work, and then we'd all be labeled racists. There is nothing wrong with enforcing the law, which currently is not being done.” — GH

“I don’t understand why people (our government, in particular) do not recognize the word 'illegal' in all this debate. Yes, I think they should be prosecuted and kicked out of the country. As a native-born American, I am not allowed to ignore any laws that I do not agree with. If this idea catches on, then can I drive 100 miles per hour on the freeway because it is my civil right?” — Mark (Houston, TX)

“Why don’t we give them a new house, free health insurance, a guaranteed job for the rest of their life (like in France), and a free vacation every year to the place of their choice? After all, they did just sneak into our country illegally, take advantage of available services, complain about America and have more children so they could be put in government aid programs. By doing it that way, they can vote for their favorite politician and everyone will be happy.” — Tony (Pittsburgh, PA)

“Absolutely! Every person who steps across our border without proper documentation is a criminal, and should be prosecuted as such. Most judges do not take misdemeanors seriously because the penalties are low. Sneaking across an international border should be a high felony, no matter who does it. Must we wait for another 9/11 before Congress begins to protect us from those who could destroy us?” — B. L. (Sarasota, FL)

“I believe that it should be a felony to come into this country illegally. The GOP better wake up. If they cave on this issue, then those of us who have put our faith in them to do the right thing for the legal citizens in this country will remove them from office.” — Karen

“I have a good solution for all those immigrants who want to become citizens of the U.S. and want to have all the U.S. perks. If they want to live and work in our country, then we should let them sign up for service in Iraq, or anywhere else our U.S. men and women are sent to fight to protect our rights to live a life of freedom. After they serve their term, then they should be granted citizenship. By that point, they would have earned the right to be an American citizen. Citizenship should be either a birthright or acquired in accordance with our laws.” — Rosemary (Hypoluxo, FL)