Immigration proposal praised and panned
DENVER An immigration compromise reached Thursday between the Senate and White House drew praise from Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as an important start while Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo attacked it as a slap in the face to working Americans.Salazar, a Democrat, is part of a bipartisan group of senators working on a compromise to increase border controls, authorize a tamperproof employee identification program and eventually grant legal status to immigrants in the country illegally if they pay fines and take English and civic classes.This bill secures our borders, has tough enforcement of our immigration laws on the border and in the interior, brings the 12 million undocumented workers in our nation out of the shadows and creates a real immigration system for the future, Salazar said.Tancredo, a Republican presidential candidate and a hard-line foe of illegal immigration, called the proposal instant amnesty for millions of people in the country illegally. He said senators behind the proposal think they can trick Americans into accepting blanket amnesty by referring to the program as comprehensive or earned legalization.The president is so desperate for a legacy and a domestic policy win that he is willing to sell out the American people and our national security, Tancredo said.President Bush has made immigration reform a priority as his administration winds down.The proposal would allow illegal immigrants to obtain a Z visa and start down the path to citizenship. Heads of households, though, would have to return to their home countries first.Salazar said the proposal includes a guest-worker provision that will help farmers, ranchers and business owners in Colorado and nationwide who need workers.Thousands of people demanding change in the nations immigration laws took part in protests in downtown Denver last year and earlier this month. Marchers also protested federal raids targeting illegal immigrants at business across the country.Swift & Co. meatpacking plants, including one in Greeley, were raided last December.