Guest Worker Program Slashed

Senate immigration bill is assaulted by amendments from bipartisan critics
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2007 7:30 AM CDT
A new border fence is seen at the zone known as El Bajio, in Sasabe Arzn., Wednesday, May 23, 2007. El Bajio is one of the immigrants busiest crossing points. Democrats are seeking to slash the number...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Key provisions of the immigration bill were altered yesterday as the Senate passed a raft of amendments designed to make the bill more palatable to critics from both political parties.  Provisions to beef up security at the border  were strengthened, while the guest worker program offering two-year visas to 400,000 temporary workers a year was cut in half.

A GOP amendment  stiffened penalties for illegal entry, mandating jail time for  border-crossers convicted of a previous crime. Democrats fought for changes, not yet voted on, in the point system that  emphasizes merit over  family ties in handing out visas. Members of the bipartisan coalition argued that too many changes could destroy the bill's chances of passing.