Boozman, Pryor Reflect Growing Debate on Immigration

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The views of two members of Arkansas's congressional delegation on a sweeping immigration proposal illustrate the split around the nation on the issues.

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor says he could see himself supporting the bill but still has some unanswered questions.  Congressman John Boozman, the only Republican in the Arkansas delegation, refers to the measure as an "amnesty" bill and predicts that it will not pass the House of Representatives.

Just how they and others react will determine what happens to the proposal, which could have direct impact on Arkansas.  Manufacturing, agriculture and hospitality industries in the state rely on a booming immigrant population.

Pryor said yesterday that the proposal now lacks the 60 votes it needs to make it out of the Senate.  But he said he grudgingly could support the measure, if only to replace what he calls a poor system now in place.

The federal legislation hashed out between a group of Republicans and Democrats would give quick legal status to the estimated 12 million immigrants in the country unlawfully.  It would toughen border security and would create a workplace verification system to bar undocumented workers from getting jobs.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)