Conceived by a bipartisan coalition, the bill would tighten borders, deter employers from hiring undocumented workers, and provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. But the measure exposed deep rifts within both parties and is loathed by most conservatives.
The plan failed a crucial test vote in the Senate Thursday, when most Republicans blocked Democratic efforts to bring the bill to a final vote.
When the dust settled, the legislation was set aside indefinitely. House leaders, meanwhile, said they will not tackle immigration legislation until a Senate bill is completed.
The setback leaves the future of one of the Bush administration's top DOMESTIC priorities in limbo. But that didn't stop the president from pursuing other goals this week in the GLOBAL arena.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (ANGLE-uh MARE-kul), President of the G8, called the agreement the most important decision for the coming two years. Merkel (MARE-kul) was more than pleased countries like the United States might join the European Union, Japan and Canada in halving carbon-dioxide output.
President George W. Bush: "I also come with a strong desire to work with you on a post-Kyoto agreement about how we can achieve major objectives. One, of course, is a major reduction in greenhouse gasses.
To assist developing nations with the massive reduction, G8 members agreed to share technology with emerging economies in exchange for substantial improvement to copyright enforcement.
The Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, mandated a reduction of greenhouse gasses to levels 5 percent below those recorded in 1990. President Bill Clinton signed the agreement in 1997, but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the document because it exempted developing nations like India and China.
President Bush now is willing to consider cutting greenhouse gasses because the G-8 accord includes developing nations such as China, India, and Brazil. Bush has previously stated that economic growth cannot be sacrificed for progress on climate change.
This week's agreement met with sharp criticism from environmentalists. Officials at the National Environmental Trust took exception with the accord because G8 nations only have to consider a reduction but are not required to do so.
U.N. climate talks will begin in December in Bali, Indonesia, but Bush has called for the top 15 polluting nations to meet and decide for themselves how to reach the landmark long-term goal.