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Pelosi on immigration

From NBC's Mike Viqueira
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the House would have a tough time passing an immigration measure should the Senate fail to do so. As it stands right now, the House is scheduled to begin its own immigration debate in July, assuming that the Senate does in fact pass something. Senate leaders have set a goal of finishing their version of the measure by the end of next week -- though many are skeptical about the chances of getting it done that quickly, considering the many amendments and hurdles that remain.

Pelosi says House Democrats are likely to take a different tack on the issue of family unification, or "chain" migration. The base Senate bill de-emphasizes familial ties as a basis for admittance into the country, establishing a point system that takes into account levels of education and other criteria instead. This week the Senate will tackle several attempts to weaken or kill that provision authored by Sen. Bob Menendez (D), with Barack Obama as a co-sponsor.

Pelosi also says that the guest-worker program will be a target of Democratic interest in the House. Many Democrats feel that the program would "undermine the wage scale" for American workers, she says. Pelosi called for the president to continue to speak out on the issue. Ironically, it was President Bush's comments on immigration earlier this week in Georgia that have angered conservatives and led Republican supporters of the Senate's "grand bargain" to wish the president would tone it down. "The president is stirring it up," said one top GOP aide. "It's not the smartest move."