WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- The Senate voted 62-36 Thursday to enforce U.S. borders and grant many illegal immigrants ways to become citizens, opposing a bill that passed in the House.
Under the Senate bill, illegal immigrants who have been in the United States 2-5 years would be eligible for a temporary-worker program. Anyone residing longer would be able to apply for citizenship after a probationary period and other steps. Illegal immigrants with less time in the United States would be deported.
Twenty-three Senate Republicans voted for the immigration bill and 32 opposed it. All but four Democratic senators supported the Senate bill, CNN reported.
Conservatives say the Senate bill is the equivalent of amnesty. They want to punish and deport illegal immigrants.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., co-sponsored the House bill, which passed in December. It made no provision for either legalization or a guest worker program.
Several senators said President George W. Bush would be important in crafting a compromise between the House and Senate.