Demonstrators gather in front of City Hall in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 25, to protest federal immigration legislation. The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border. The Senate will begin debating the proposals Tuesday.
The telephone lines in the unassuming offices of Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, have been sizzling here in recent weeks as anxious Republican voters call to find out precisely where their tough-minded senator stands on illegal immigration.
Mr. Cornyn is a former attorney general and a fiscal conservative, a Texan who wears cowboy boots with his pinstripes and prides himself on his 100 percent approval rating from the American Conservative Union.
But as the Senate prepares to wrestle with the question of legalizing undocumented immigrants for the first time in 20 years, Mr. Cornyn, like many Republicans, finds himself squeezed by warring factions within his own party.
[President Bush kept up the pressure in his weekly radio speech yesterday, a day after protests in three cities by immigrant rights advocates.]