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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Mulls Crackdown On Aliens

WASHINGTON -- Just how tough should the United States get with the estimated 300,000 foreigners who enter the country illegally each year?

That's a question members of Congress will consider this week when they resume work on an immigration bill that would toughen asylum laws and let states deny schooling to the children of illegal immigrants.

President Bill Clinton already has threatened to veto the measure.

There is a consensus that action is needed on illegal immigration. But House and Senate members of a negotiating committee returning Tuesday from a summer recess will seek to find accommodation on details of a bill that can be enacted into law.

Immigration, along with unfinished work on the various appropriations bills that need to be passed before the start of the new budget year Oct. 1, is at the top of the agenda of a Congress returning for what promises to be a relatively short post-recess legislative period.

Republicans say 40 years of Democratic congressional leadership compromised the integrity of the nation's borders and overburdened public services in regions of the country flooded with undocumented aliens.

But some Democrats and immigration advocacy groups have criticized the proposed overhaul of immigration law.

"In its understandable zeal to discourage illegal immigration and prevent abuse of our asylum laws, the House has crossed the line from tough to cruel," said Stephen Legomsky, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

The House and Senate passed separate immigration bills earlier this year, and the House-Senate conference committee must decide whether the final version of the bill will include provisions that would make it harder for foreigners to receive U.S. asylum.

The bill that emerges could permanently bar deported illegal aliens from re-entering the United States and could raise income requirements for people who want to bring foreign relatives into the United States.

A House provision to give states authority to expel illegal immigrant children from public schools has drawn the noisiest opposition, especially since more than half of senators -- including conservative Texas Republicans Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison -- said they couldn't vote for it.