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Friday, May 18, 2007
Chertoff and Gutierrez: Immigration bill not amnesty

Watch Gutierrez and Chertoff discuss the new immigration deal on CNN's American Morning.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff defended the Senate immigration compromise on CNN's American Morning Friday, saying the new measure does not amount to amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the United States. 

"They have to qualify. They have to pay a fine," Gutierrez said.  "There is no automatic path to citizenship. There is no guarantee that they will get their legal status. So, we don't believe it's amnesty, and we think this problem is so big, and we have such a dysfunctional system that it's a lot bigger than sitting around, debating the meaning of a word. We've got to move forward."
Chertoff added that the new bill will also call for tough penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants.

"We're going to put in place as a precondition to this plan and a verification system that every employer is going to have to use online to determine whether their workers are, in fact, legal to work," he said. "Then there are going to be tough penalties to back it up."

Gutierrez and Chertoff were the chief negotiators on behalf of the Bush administration involved in reaching a compromise between Senate Democrats and Republicans on the immigration bill Thursday.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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