By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A bipartisan immigration bill narrowly
survived a potentially fatal challenge on Wednesday when the Senate
turned back a Republican bid to limit the illegal immigrants who
could gain lawful status.
The close vote on a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn , R-Texas, to
bar felons _ including those court-ordered to be deported _ from
legalization reflected the delicate position of the contentious
immigration bill, which remains under threat from the right and the
The vote was 51-46 against the amendment. Democrats succeeded in
sucking support from Cornyn ‘s proposal by winning adoption of a
rival version that would bar a more limited set of criminals,
including certain gang members and sex offenders, from gaining
legalization. The Senate backed that amendment 66-32.
Cornyn had painted his effort as a key vote for any presidential
candidate _ a sign of the degree to which the contentious debate is
bleeding over into the GOP campaign fray.
The amendment “is a defining issue for those who seek the
highest office in the land to demonstrate their respect for the
rule of law and to demonstrate their desire to return law and order
to our immigration system,” Cornyn said.
Here’s the roll.