WASHINGTON (MNS) — The leader of a group of conservative legislators called Tuesday for a moratorium on all immigration — an extreme example of the suggestions for rehauling immigration that are rounding the Capitol in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
"There's been a shift," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, a group of mostly Republican congressmen. "The defense of our nation begins with the defense of our borders. I don't think there's going to be an amnesty program even if you link it up to a guest worker program."
The group's moratorium is unlikely to pass — Tancredo admitted as much himself — but its suggestion is emblematic of the shift on immigration issues. Five weeks ago, a moratorium would have been considered unthinkable. The weekend before the terrorist attacks President Bush discussed expanding a guest worker program with Mexican President Vincente Fox.
The attacks have pushed the immigration debate in Congress from amnesty for immigrant workers to various methods of increasing security, including tightened borders, reduced student visas and tracking immigrants as they enter and exit the country.