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The immigration reform bill that the Senate takes up today would more than double the flow of legal immigration into the United States each year and dramatically lower the skill level of those immigrants.
The number of extended family members that U.S. citizens or legal residents can bring into this country would double. More dramatically, the number of workers and their immediate families could increase sevenfold if there are enough U.S. employers looking for cheap foreign labor. Another provision would grant humanitarian visas to any woman or orphaned child anywhere in the world "at risk of harm" because of age or sex.
The little-noticed provisions are part of legislation co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Mel Martinez of Florida, which overcame some early stumbles and now has bipartisan support in the Senate. The bill also has been praised by President Bush, and he is expected to endorse it as a starting point for negotiations in his prime-time address to the nation tonight