Illegal immigrants are offered a path to citizenship for the first time under a new Senate immigration reform package unveiled today. A precarious compromise hammered out by Bush administration officials and top senators, the bill trades hard-line border control measures for controversial provisions like a guest-worker program and a system for earning citizenship.
Two months of negotiation—which brought together such unlikely bedfellows as Michael Chertoff and Ted Kennedy—have gone into the bill, which heads to debate next week. But senators from both parties are already rushing to attack it. Immigration is quickly becoming "the third rail" of politics, said Republican Arlen Spector, who helped broker the compromise.