June 15, 2007
President Bush's drive to revive the stalled immigration bill worked. Senate leaders say the bill will return to the Senate floor as early as next week.
The lobbying push involved a week of talks between the White House and Capitol Hill and a rare, personal visit from the President to meet with Senators. At the national Hispanic prayer breakfast Friday morning, Bush insisted he won't let up.
"I will continue to work closely with members of both parties to get past our differences, and pass a bill I can sign this year," said President Bush.
As it stands now, the bill would immediately provide more than $4 billion for border security operations. It outlines provisions that would eventually give citizenship to many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the United States.
But it's that path to citizenship that could spark the most fierce debate in the Senate. Some senators are adamant that the U.S. should not reward immigrants for entering this country illegally.
"The security of American borders should not be conditioned on amnesty," said California Republican Duncan Hunter.
President Bush insists the version of the bill he supports would put border security first, but he still faces the challenge of getting some members of his own party on board. That's something he will have to do before the immigration bill stands a solid chance of passing.