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Immigration Reform Bill Falls Short in Senate

A bipartisan immigration reform bill did not receive enough support to come to a vote in the Senate, but proponents intend to keep pushing it.

Proponents of the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill say they will continue to push for its passage after the legislation failed to muster enough votes to limit debate on the bill and bring it to a floor vote.

The bill would tighten borders, crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, and provide a process for 12 million illegal immigrants to gain legal status. A temporary worker program was also an important part of the "grand bargain," although the Senate passed an amendment - by one vote - that would phase out the bill's temporary worker plan after five years.

"There will never be a bill that doesn't have a temporary worker program," bill supporter Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters at a press conference Friday.

Republicans mostly voted against bringing the bill to a floor vote, saying they needed more time to work on issues such as border security, while many Democrats also take issue with parts of the bill, saying the importance it places on employment over relation could separate families. President Bush has already expressed his support for the bill.

The bill's top supporters from both parties say the issue is important enough to warrant more discussion time and a vote next week, but if the Senate can't get the bill restarted, there may be no immigration reform this year.

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