Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a leading critic in Congress of open borders, blasted the decision today by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to compromise on immigration reform and offer the possibility of citizenship to an estimated 10 million people who entered the country illegally through 2004.

“The Democrats have once again used parliamentary tactics to obstruct the Senate from pursuing its priorities,” Tancredo said in a statement. “The only difference this time is that Senator Frist let them. By surrendering to the amnesty demands of Democrats and squishy Republicans, Frist squandered a great opportunity to secure our borders and gain control of our broken immigration system.”

A last-minute, tentative compromise today opened the way for the most sweeping immigration bill in two decades. Along with offering legal status to millions in the country unlawfully, the measure enhances border security and regulates the future flow of immigrants into the country.

“We’ve had a huge breakthrough” overnight, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., told reporters.

Frist said President Bush supports the plan.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who co-sponsored legislation with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the plan “tough and fair.”

“The American people have made their voices heard in their churches, in their schools and in the streets and the Senate has listened,” Kennedy said, referring to massive protests in recent weeks.

The tentative compromise would require illegal immigrants who have been in the United States between two years and five years to return to their home country briefly, then re-enter as temporary workers. After that, they can begin a process to gain citizenship.

Illegals here longer than five years would not be required to return home. Anybody who came within the past two years would have to leave and take their place in line with others seeking entry, with no assurance they would be accepted.

Tancredo called the Senate “amnesty” deal “miserable public policy that will be rejected by the House of Representatives and has already been rejected by the American people.”

“It continues the running joke that is our immigration system by treating the same crimes differently,” he said. “In a perverse rendition of hide-and-seek, it grants a reward to those who evaded law enforcement for the longest time. And, as we did in 1986, it will encourage more illegal aliens to come into this country in the hope of yet another amnesty.

The Colorado congressman pointed out that the authors of the deal don’t dispute the agreement offers blanket amnesty to at least 10 million illegal aliens who entered the country illegally through 2004.

He chides them, however, for not being honest about what will happen to the additional 2 million who have come to the country since then.

“No illegal alien with half a brain would admit that they came here after 2004,” he said. “And how could law enforcement tell?”

The Senate deal would require applicants to prove they have been in the country since 2004, but Tancredo points out many illegal aliens have been using fraudulent documents, which law enforcement has been unable to detect.

“Handing out legal identification to millions of illegal aliens will expose our nation’s Achilles’ heal more quickly than almost any single action this Congress could take,” he said.

Tancredo noted that this morning the International Relations Committee heard from a whistleblower at the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service – the agency that would be charged with screening the 10 million illegal aliens – who documented massive fraud and mismanagement in the agency.

USCIS has a security backlog in the millions, Tancredo pointed out, and, in order to reduce the backlog, is encouraging adjudicators to approve visas in fewer than four minutes.

“It is no secret that two-thirds of foreign-born terrorists operating in the U.S. committed immigration fraud prior to or in conjunction with their terrorist activities,” he said. “Piling 10 million more applications on USCIS is suicidal in terms of national security.”

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