Senate leaders agreed Monday that they would wait until June to take final action on a bipartisan plan to give millions of unlawful immigrants legal status.
The measure, which also tightens border security and workplace enforcement measures, unites a group of influential liberals, centrists and conservatives and has White House backing, but it has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. In a nod to that opposition, Senate leaders won't seek to complete it before a hoped-for Memorial Day deadline.
''It would be to the best interests of the Senate ... that we not try to finish this bill this week,'' said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as the chamber began debate on the volatile issue. ''I think we could, but I'm afraid the conclusion wouldn't be anything that anyone wanted