Senators attack Bush on immigration reform

March 23, 2004 at 6:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of Senators chastised president Bush Tuesday for failing to push immigration reform through Congress.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Mexico relations, members attacked Bush for proposing immigration reforms earlier this year, then failing to put the White House's muscle behind a real proposal.

"It (immigration reform) is going to require intense presidential leadership," said Sen. Chuck Hagel R-Neb., who has introduced his own immigration reform plan co-sponsored by Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said the White House was being "lukewarm" on the politically charged issue.

Despite the calls, intensified administration action is not likely as just proposing a set of reforms created a great backlash from GOP conservatives.

While the administration proposal was aimed at gaining the support of swing Hispanic voters in key states in the November election, the possibility of losing conservative voter support is considered too great for the White House to put its full backing behind immigration reforms this year.

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