Could immigration bill set off another backlash?

Associated Press + More

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last time Congress tried to pass sweeping immigration legislation a fierce public backlash shut it down.

This time, as a Senate committee prepares to begin voting Thursday on a bill to boost border security and offer eventual citizenship to an estimated 11 million people living here illegally, comparable opposition has yet to surface.

But opponents of the legislation say it still might happen — and some supporters are nervous.

Former Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who says he got death threats for supporting the 2007 bill, says he's concerned supporters still haven't come up with an argument as concise and effective as the single word opponents use to bludgeon the legislation — "amnesty."

But supporters say this time there's a much greater coalition on their side.

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