WASHINGTON – The Senate agreed to give millions of illegal immigrants a shot at U.S. citizenship and backed construction of 370 miles of triple-layer fencing along the Mexican border Wednesday, but prospects for legislation clearing Congress were clouded by a withering attack against President George W. Bush by a prominent House Republican. “Regardless of what the president says, what he is proposing is amnesty,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the lawmaker who would lead House negotiators in any attempt to draft a compromise bill. The blast by Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, came on the day the White House dispatched top presidential aide Karl Rove to ease the concerns of rebellious House Republicans, and also coincided with a clash among GOP senators on the Senate floor. “This is not amnesty, so let’s get the terms right,” Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska lectured fellow Republicans who condemned the bill. “Come on. Let’s stop the nonsense.” “If a governor truly did not want this mission performed in their state, then the option is there for the president and the secretary of defense to federalize the Guard. And then the mission would be conducted, and then it would be without the control of the governor,” he said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“It sort of reminds me of the famous line, `Methinks thou dost protest too much,”‘ responded Sen. David Vitter, R-La. Rhetoric aside, the votes on the Senate floor gave fresh momentum to legislation that closely follows Bush’s call for a broad bill. The measure includes steps to secure the borders, the citizenship-related provisions for illegal immigrants and a new guest-worker program for as many as 200,000 people a year. Senate passage appears likely next week. The political wheels turned as demonstrators massed within sight of the Capitol demanding greater rights for immigrants, the latest evidence of rising passions in connection with efforts to write the most significant overhaul of immigration law in two decades. With the administration eager to emphasize its commitment to border security, officials continued to flesh out details of Bush’s Monday night announcement that he would send up to 6,000 National Guard troops to states along the Mexican border. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, raised the possibility that Guard members could be sent over the objections of a state’s governor.
Preet Bharara said he was fired after refusing to submit a letter of resignation as part of an ouster of the remaining U.S. attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration. Related Items