Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Boston Globe:Democrats Clash on Immigration Policy - Tensions in Party Rise to the Surface As the Democratic Party prepares to take power on Capitol Hill in January, tensions are surfacing over the details of plans to overhaul the nation's immigration policies. Statements by incoming members such as Claire McCaskill, the Democratic senator-elect from Missouri, could provide an early warning of the difficulties ahead. In a September television spot, McCaskill sat at a kitchen table and looked directly into the camera. "Let me tell you what I believe in," she said. "No amnesty for illegal immigrants." Democratic leaders presented a largely united front on immigration this year, providing crucial support for a measure that would have allowed illegal immigrants to gain citizenship -- a bill critics attacked as "amnesty." Now, the citizenship provision is just one of several aspects of the complex debate that are being questioned by some members. While party leaders insist that rewriting immigration law remains a priority, they acknowledge that building consensus on how to do that will be tricky. They must deal with competing camps within the party and address concerns raised by core constituencies -- hurdles that could block passage of a final bill.