The Senate is now discussing a "border enforcement first" bill.
Key backers of the Senate immigration bill said yesterday they are willing to consider a compromise that would delay the guest-worker program and "amnesty" portions until the borders have been secured.
The proposal was floated by Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter in an interview Monday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
"I think it's worth discussing," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican. "Many of us have said we could work on border enforcement and, at the same time, work on other aspects that would take more time."
By digging in their heels, Sensenbrenner and the House have actually moved the immigration debate forward.
On Monday, Mr. Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who will lead House and Senate negotiators in the conference committee, told The Times that border security should be the top priority in the final bill and that he is open to a compromise that would make the guest-worker program and path to citizenship for illegal aliens contingent on first ensuring a secure border and improved interior enforcement.