Border-Control Backers Threaten To Block Debate

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, Dec. 14, 2005

Some House Republicans who want stricter immigration enforcement are threatening to block this week’s immigration debate if Republican leaders don’t allow votes on amendments that address issues such as building a barrier system, ending birthright citizenship and allowing local authorities to arrest illegal aliens.

The House is scheduled to vote on a border enforcement and employer verification bill tomorrow. Some Republicans are worried that they will get only one shot at an immigration enforcement bill before the Senate insists on broadening it into a guest-worker bill.

Unless they are allowed to offer a series of enforcement amendments, the Republicans said, they will vote against the rules for debate.

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If enough Republicans join Democrats—who are expected to oppose the rule if it doesn’t allow them to vote on a plan to legalize illegal aliens—they could form a majority to block the entire bill.

The House Rules Committee will make a final decision today about amendments, but acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, said votes will be allowed on many amendments.

“We expect that to be a wide-ranging debate,” he said.

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“It is not the ultimate border security bill; it is not the ultimate enforcement-only bill. It is just a part of that, and a fairly weak one,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, who said he also is considering voting against the rule if it doesn’t allow for key amendments.

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