Immigration

As Congress mulls changing America's border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare's finances.

Immigrants contribute tens of billions of dollars a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services.

A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

Members of Congress are back in their home states this week for a Memorial Day recess. It's a chance to talk with constituents about what could become the year's biggest legislative story: the push on Capitol Hill to fix what Democrats and Republicans alike agree is a broken immigration system.

A bill proposed by the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators, to revamp the nation's immigration rules passed out of committee last week and will soon be brought before the Democratic-led Senate. Less clear, though, is where the issue is headed in the GOP-controlled House.

In Los Angeles, the business of fashion is big. The apparel business employs as many as 45,000 workers in L.A. County, many of them immigrants.

Consequently, the garment industry is worried about the outcome of the immigration debate and watching closely to see what happens.

'You Don't Have Another Choice'

One of the heavyweights is American Apparel, which makes more than 40 million articles of clothing each year out of its factory near downtown L.A.

After five marathon sessions debating 150 proposed amendments, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a landmark rewriting of the nation's immigration laws this week — and the bill emerged largely intact.

Three Republicans voted with the panel's 10 Democrats on Tuesday night to forward the bill to the full Senate. That strong showing followed a wrenching choice for Democrats on the committee: whether to risk shattering support for the bill by amending it to recognize equal rights for same-sex couples.

How It Played Out

The union that represents 12,000 officers who process immigration applications said they will oppose a bipartisan bill that seeks to overhaul the nation's immigration policies.

As Fox News reports, The National CIS Council is the second union to oppose the bill being discussed in Congress. The National ICE Council, which represents Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, has expressed its opposition to the bill for a while now.

Fox reports:

It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.

The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.

In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."

"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

Members of a bipartisan group of House lawmakers say they've overcome disagreements and have reached a tentative deal to overhaul the nation's immigration system.

Eight Democratic and Republican House members left a two-hour closed-door meeting Thursday evening, saying they would be working on drafting the measure, The Associated Press reports.

"We have an agreement in principle. We're now going to work on finishing up the drafting of the bill," said Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a member of the group.

Journalists make choices all the time that influence our understanding of the news — the choice of what stories to cover, which people to interview, which words to use. And major news organizations have been reconsidering how best to describe a group of people whose very presence in this country breaks immigration law.

Name: Juan (NPR is not revealing his full name, because he is living in the country illegally.)

Hometown: Loreto, Zacatecas, Mexico

Current city: Denver

Occupation: Plumber

His first radio diary:

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