Republican senator breaks with Bush on immigration bills James M Yoch Jr at 4:27 PM ET
[JURIST] US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NB) [official website; Wikipedia profile] introduced a package of four bills on US immigration policy [Hagel press release] Tuesday that depart from Bush administration policy. Hagel, a possible contender for the Republican nomination in the US 2008 presidential election [Wikipedia backgrounder], proposed legislation that would allow many of the 8 to 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the US to eventually attain legal status. Under the plan, illegal aliens could become legal citizens if they have been in the country for five years and worked for three of them; pay a $2,000 fine; and apply for permanent legal status, which can be granted after another eight years. The proposal, an earlier version of which was introduced by Hagel and former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, also addresses improving border security and creating a guest worker program. The Bush administration is drafting its own proposal that would allow illegal aliens to remain in the country for up to six years as part of a guest worker program. Reuters has more.
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