- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

House Republicans yesterday officially rejected the Senate immigration bill that would grant citizenship rights to some 10 million illegal aliens now in the country.

“We agree that we cannot support the Senate amnesty bill,” House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said. “This Democrat immigration bill wouldn’t secure the border. It would erase it.”

Mr. Hastert met yesterday with other House leaders and the chairman of several committees to discuss how to proceed with the stalled immigration legislation and emerged saying new border security proposals will be offered next week.

The new initiatives will include more border patrol agents, new fencing and surveillance and stricter enforcement of current laws, which they hope will pass both the House and the Senate before November’s elections.

“We will take many of these recommendations and move quickly to pass border security legislation in the next few weeks,” Mr. Hastert said. “Congress cannot wait until next year to move on this issue. The American people expect us to tackle this problem and solve it.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, criticized the decision to abandon “comprehensive immigration reform.”

“After a summer of cynical immigration campaign events and years of cutting billions from border security funding, today’s announcement has more to do with solving a political problem for Republicans than solving our illegal-immigration problem,” he said.

“While we all support more resources for border security, it is abundantly clear that these stop-gap measures are designed to provide cover for their failure to produce comprehensive reform.”

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner vowed to complete legislation.

“Republicans will take immediate action to put legislation on the president’s desk that fulfills our promise to strengthen our border security by providing more border patrol agents, enhancing enforcement, building more fencing and increasing surveillance,” he said.

“Republicans will vote on these reforms before adjournment and work to send them to the president’s desk for his signature.”