[JURIST] The US Senate voted 49-48 [roll call] Wednesday evening to approve an amendment [S Amdt 1316] to the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 [S 1348 summary; JURIST report], restricting the Y-1 temporary guest worker visa program to five years. An earlier attempt [S Amdt 1181 materials] to limit the proposed temporary guest visa program was rejected by a 48-49 vote [roll call] two weeks earlier. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) [official website], who sponsored both amendments, has previously characterized [press release] the guest worker program as "part of [an] agenda to put downward pressure on the wages of American working men and women." Supporters of the visa program believe it provides a legal avenue for foreign workers to meet the US demand for laborers.
In May, the Senate trimmed the proposed temporary guest worker program [JURIST report] from its previous maximum limit of 600,000 guest workers a year to 200,000. The proposal has received bipartisan criticism [JURIST report] for being too large. Opponents of the immigration reform bill say it amounts to "amnesty" for up to 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, and others have objected to restrictions on the right of legal immigrants to bring their families to the US. On Saturday, US President George W. Bush renewed the White House's push for the passage [JURIST report] of the immigration reform bill, defending the proposal from criticism that it amounts to "amnesty" by insisting it brings consequences for those who enter the US illegally. AP has more.