The U.S. Senate will debate an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws early next year, including a proposal to establish a guest worker program.
In Washington Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said lawmakers will consider a comprehensive immigration reform package, starting with increased border enforcement. He said senators would then move on to the more contentious issue of migrant workers who have entered the country illegally.
Lawmakers have introduced several competing proposals, including a bi-partisan bill that would implement a guest worker program with identification cards so employers can know workers are in the country legally.
Last week, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff told a Senate panel that any overhaul of immigration laws requires providing a way for migrant workers to gain temporary legal employment in the United States.