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“I favor a work-and-return bill, not a work-and-stay bill,” he said. “We already have laws in place that allow people to apply for legal permanent residence and American citizenship, so I think that’s going to be a subject of some debate and perhaps disagreement in the Senate and in the House.”

Mr. Cornyn is working on his own bill, and he said that to meet his approval, a bill would have to include enhanced border security, enhanced interior enforcement, employer accountability and a temporary worker program.

The House may be an even tougher sell.

“The section on ‘border security’ consists of little more than the commissioning of a few more government reports and working groups — and the rest of the bill is dedicated to expanding taxpayer-funded health care and instant amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens who have successfully broken our laws,” said Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.