Topeka They cast their votes in December.
But now the immigration bill that earned the support of every member of the Kansas delegation to the U.S. House is stirring massive nationwide protests.
Lawrence's representatives were united in their vote for the bill, but now appear divided.
Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, said Wednesday that there were many provisions in the House bill he disliked and that he would not support it again.
"I voted for it to advance the process. I was confident nothing like that was going to," become law, Moore said.
But Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Lawrence, whose district includes the west side of Lawrence, said he stood by his vote for HR 4437.
"I still think it was the right measure," Ryun said.
The bill would have declared illegal immigrants - and those who helped them - to be felons, and it would have constructed hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and required that businesses verify the legality of all employees.
- Possible guest-worker plan spurs border run
- Immigrants take to streets, make case for citizenship (04-11-06)
- 6News video: Lawrence protesters demand fair treatment of immigrants (04-10-06)
- Hispanics in Kansas join others across U.S. (04-11-06)
- Hispanic leader advocates balance in immigration reform (4-10-06)
- Brownback's stance may be liability (04-10-06)
- Thousands rally for immigrant rights (04-10-06)
- Status of aliens rising as national concern (04-10-06)
- Congressional briefing: Brownback: Farmers need migrant workers, bigger subsidies (04-05-06)
- 6News video: Brownback calls for serious immigration law changes (04-05-06)
- "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigra-tion Control Act of 2005."
The measure was approved in the House 239-182, then trashed in the Senate before a bipartisan plan to provide a path for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship also failed.
Debate on the issue has sparked a nationwide immigrant-rights movement that has caused some House Republican leaders to back off the felony provisions of the bill.
Support of the House bill was "the most serious political miscalculation of recent years," said Melinda Lewis, director of policy advocacy and research for Kansas City, Kan.-based El Centro.
"Now, politicians are backpedaling," Lewis said. "They really just guessed wrong. Of course, people want us to secure our borders, but they want to do it right."
Moore said he voted for the bill because it "represented a first statement that protecting our borders is important."
He held his nose on the criminal provisions and the proposal to construct a fence because he said he knew those would not survive in the Senate. He was one of only 36 Democrats who voted for the bill.
Lewis said she wasn't happy with Moore's reasons.
"To say 'I voted for it because I'm confident it would never become law' is pretty pathetic," she said.
Despite statements from House Republican leaders to remove some of the criminal provisions, Ryun said he stood by the original bill.
"Rewarding illegal behavior encourages more illegal behavior," he said.
He said he understood Christian leaders who recently have sided with illegal immigrants and urged amnesty, but added: "There is another side. A number of Christians who have come through legal immigration. They've done it legally."
Moore said border security and immigration enforcement were a crucial part of national security.
But he said there must be ways for hard-working people to come to the United States.
He said undocumented workers who are already here should be allowed an opportunity toward legal status if they learn English and U.S. history, pay a fine for entering the country illegally, submit to a security check and pay taxes.