St. Petersburg Times
World & Nation
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message


Agreement has long way to go to be law

Published May 19, 2007


WASHINGTON - One of the nation's most vexing political and social issues - how to deal with millions of illegal immigrants - can be solved only if Congress and the White House embrace the same can-do spirit that marked this week's tentative deal. Don't count on it.

Forged in secrecy, the proposal now faces the harsh realities of the public arena, its fate in the hands of politicians averse to compromise or taking chances. In particular, the 2008 presidential candidates seem determined to play politics with immigration: They're changing their tone and positions, or hedging to meet election-year demands.

"In terms of all the senators running for their parties' presidential nominations, this is sort of like receiving a mysterious package in the mail and trying to figure out what's inside. It could explode in their faces or be 10 pounds of fudge, " said Ross K. Baker, political science professor at Rutgers University.

A cross-party coalition of lawmakers signed off Thursday on a bill that would offer legal status to most of the nation's 12-million illegal immigrants while also toughening border security. The effort suggests that some politicians are adequately motivated to address the immigration crisis before the 2008 elections.

It may be President Bush's last chance to claim a significant domestic policy victory before the end of a second term hit by scandal, war and plummeting approval ratings. It's the first major opportunity by the Democratic-led Congress to get something done. And it's the best chance Washington will get anytime soon to control the nation's porous borders and bring millions of illegal immigrants out of the shadows of the law, confronting economic and national security concerns.

Where the candidates stand

For the most part, the major presidential candidates reacted cautiously to news of the immigration deal.

[Last modified May 19, 2007, 02:03:32]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters