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Senate leaders announce plan to resume immigration reform debate

[JURIST] US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] on Thursday announced [Frist press release; Reid press release] a bipartisan agreement to resume debate next week on immigration reform, which also covers the 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats who will negotiate a compromise proposal with the House of Representatives. Last December, the House passed [JURIST report] the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act [PDF text; bill summary], a strict immigration control act that focuses on law enforcement by making unlawful presence in the US a felony subject to deportation, and could punish humanitarian groups aiding the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the US.

Debate on the Senate version of the legislation, S 2454 [summary] stalled [JURIST report] last month, but earlier this week senators indicated they had tentatively agreed [JURIST report] to toughen rules on the hiring of illegal immigrants by forcing employers to check Social Security numbers and investigate the immigration status of potential employees. Frist said Thursday that Senate debate on the immigration reform bill [JURIST news archive], will resume next week and will focus on a "considerable" number of amendments. AP has more.

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