Republican senators are trying to reach a compromise on immigration policy to muster the 60 votes needed to defeat a possible filibuster. Opponents say the main proposal, to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the United States if they've worked here for six years, amounts to an offer of amnesty.
Discussing the immigration bill that's splitting their party, Senate Republicans held a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning. Proposals ranged from providing no aid to an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States to a plan to give all of them a chance at becoming U.S. citizens.
When majority leader Bill Frist emerged from the meeting, he said no consensus had been found. The main idea Republicans are considering is to let some workers who are illegally in the United States stay, provided that they've been here more than five years. Those who overstayed visas would also be included.
The bill's sponsor, Republican Arlen Specter, declared an impasse, adding that he is not sure the bill has the 60 votes it would need to clear the Senate by the end of the week.