Immigrations threatens to rip apart GOP06/01/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Even as the Republican Party threatens to implode itself over the issue, President Bush today gave another speech extolling the virtues of the Immigration bill proposed in the Senate last month.
Conservative talk radio, and seemingly most of the Republican Party have condemned parts or all of the bill, decrying it as amnesty. Bush has fought back on those charges, and did so again today (roll tape#1 o.q.â€broken our lawâ€)
In recent days, conservative talk show heavy weights such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and lesser known acts like Mark Levin, have blasted the President for the Senate plan that he strongly backs.
Today, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan went so far as to write that What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.
The complicated legislation says that those in the country illegally before January 1st must undergo an ardous process to acquire permanent residency, including paying fees and fines, and having the head of a household return to his or her native country.
But USF St. Pete Political Science Professor Daryl Paulson says that too many conservatives, the issue is seen as rewarding those who have entered the country illegally. And he says its split the party (roll tape# 2 o.q.â€Jim Greerâ€)
But he says that if The GOP appears to be coming down harshly on those people, many from Mexico and other Latin American nations, the party may pay for it down the line (roll tape#3 â€œimmigration issue itselfâ€)
The Senate will return next week to Washington to continue debating the bill.
Over in the House, itâ€™s not clear where the Democrats stand on the bill. Some have criticized it for being too punitive against those trying to gain citizenship, such as Hillsborough Area Congresswoman Kathy Castor (roll tape#3 o.q.â€a great strengthâ€)
Some supporters of the bill â€“ like the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, say Critics would not be satisfied unless there was an effort to deport all of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants right nowâ€¦And as President Bush said on Friday, thatâ€™s not about to happen (roll tape#4 o.q.â€not going to happenâ€)
Some of the strongest criticism about the bill is that is would penalize those who have waited patiently in line to get permanent legal status â€“ but local immigration attorney John Ovink believes that will be addressed in the bill (roll tape#5 o.q.â€as possibleâ€)
Ovink says the current system is a bureaucratic nightmareâ€¦said he has one family who petitioned for legal status in 1992 (roll tape#6 oq.â€ And I think the bill will do thatâ€)
Again, the Senate will pick up the debate on the immigration bill next week.
Tampa Immigration attorney John Ovink deals with those trying to gain citizenship in this country â€“ or fighting to be deported. He supports the Senate bill as it stands now (roll tape#4 o.q.â€