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US immigration dilemma: Is there too much 'compassion?'

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There is "utter chaos" in parts of the immigration enforcement program, and America is reaching a state of "compassion fatigue." So cmments Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R) of Wyoming, one of 16 members of the Presidential Commission on Immigration Policy, which is concluding a two-year study on the subject. He spoke at a press conference here presided over by the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, chairman of the commission, and attended by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts and others of the panel.

Some 700,000 immigrants a year now enter the country legally in one category or another, the panel says, while another million may enter illegally.

In a next-to-final policy review, the Hesburgh commission recommended amnesty for most illegal aliens already in the United States (variously estimated at from 3.5 million to 6 million), and to impose civil and criminal penalties against employers knowingly hiring illegals.

It also proposed increasing the number of people legally allowed to immigrate by 180,000 a year for five years.

But on the key question of creating a worker identification card to determine the legality of job applicants, the commission split. Without such cards, some argue, enforcement against employers is impossible. The issue roused deep feeling within the commission, it is learned. The commission must conclude by March 1, and whether a vote will be taken on this issue is uncertain.

The Hesburgh commission, in a press summary, declares that the members feel "future migrations of undocumented aliens should be sharply reduced" and that they support sanctions against employers knowingly hiring them "by a large majority."

On the other hand, it states, "Those commissioners voting at this time rejected by a small majority the notion of a secure, counterfeit-proof document such as the social security card or worker eligibility card to be used in conjunction with employer sanctions . . ."

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