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Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

AP: Bush, Reid Trade Barbs on Immigration

Republicans try to blame Democrats for the bill's felony penalties for illegal immigrants

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent -- Thursday, 10:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - President Bush accused Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, left, on Thursday of "single-handedly thwarting" action on immigration legislation, and got a brisk retort in return.

"President Bush has as much credibility on immigration as he does on Iraq and national security," shot back the Nevada Democrat.

Bush and Reid swapped charges as Republicans disclosed a Spanish-language radio advertising campaign designed to shoulder Democrats with the responsibility for legislation passed by the GOP-controlled House that would make illegal immigrants subject to felony charges. The ads are scheduled to air in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada — states with large Hispanic populations.

The exchange was the latest in a series of maneuvers among party leaders trying to assign blame for Senate gridlock over comprehensive immigration legislation. A pending measure would strengthen border security, create a guest worker program and offer eventual citizenship to many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

Supporters claim the bill has more than enough votes to pass. It was sidetracked last week when Reid and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., could not agree on a procedure for voting on amendments.

Reid insisted on sharply limiting the number of amendments by conservatives who oppose the bill. Frist wanted to ensure that GOP critics of the legislation had more opportunities to seek changes.

The Senate has not voted on the issue of penalties. In the House, Republicans drafted legislation to make illegal immigrants subject to felony charges. Democrats say they were denied a chance to eliminate criminal penalties from the bill.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


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