WASHINGTON – The House and Senate should vote on a compromise immigration bill before the November elections so voters can assess how their lawmakers did on the issue, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner said Friday. But a chance at citizenship for illegal immigrants – what some call amnesty – is a nonstarter for any compromise bill, said Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. Failing to appoint negotiators to a House-Senate conference committee or waiting until after the elections would amount to “punting,” he said. Plus, the American public is entitled to assess how their senators and representatives did on the issue “before they decide who to send back,” he said. A number of senators and House members face re-election races this fall. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that provides stepped-up border security, guest-worker programs to bring in new foreign workers and a chance at citizenship for those guest workers and the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country. The House bill, which triggered massive street protests around the country, is generally limited to border enforcement and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. “I would like to see a bill passed and signed into law. However, I’m a realist, you know, and given the fact that the Senate and the House started miles apart, and as a result of some amendments that were offered in the Senate miles have become moons apart or oceans apart, this has made a difficult task even more so,” Sensenbrenner said. The House bill would make all illegal immigrants subject to felony charges. It has no provision for either a new temporary worker program or a pathway to citizenship for men, women and children unlawfully in the country. Supporters have said border security should come first, before a guest-worker program or legalization. Sensenbrenner acknowledged it is impractical to round up 12 million immigrants illegally in the country. He said border controls and enforcement of employer sanctions – a maximum $40,000 fine per illegal worker in the House bill – will dry up jobs for illegal immigrants and they will go home voluntarily. “I think the American people are willing to spend whatever it takes to secure the border. And securing the border is not just an immigration issue. It’s a drug enforcement and national security issue, as well,” he said. The Senate had not formally sent the bill to the House late Friday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!