By Mark Brown
The Senate's immigration plan, the one favored by Duckworth and McCain (and yes, Kennedy), also calls for tougher border measures, but would allow those 12 million illegal immigrants to stay in the country. It would require them to register with the government and earn their legalized status by paying a fine, paying their taxes and learning English, among other requirements. It would take 11 years to clear all the hurdles.
You may consider that a form of amnesty. A lot of people who have studied this issue, though, think that eventually Congress will adopt some version of the Senate approach, because it will have a much better chance to work in the long run than just cracking down.
It just wouldn't have made so divisive a campaign issue for the midterm elections.