Senators Are Closing In On A Major Breakthrough In Immigration Legislation That Could Reassure Senate Passage

Marco Rubio immigration

A pair of Republican senators has spearheaded an amendment that could lead to a major breakthrough in Senate support for the immigration reform bill, leading to hopes that it could provide a whopping 70 votes in favour of the bill and spur action from the House of Representatives.

The deal, which is being led by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), would attempt to alleviate many concerns from Republicans on border security.

According to reports in The Washington Examiner and elsewhere, it would double the presence of border patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000. It is also expected to add 700 miles of border fencing, as well as provide a compromise on an E-Verify system, an online tool that checks workers’ immigration status. 

The amendment serves as an alternative to one proposed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), whose amendment some Democrats called a “poison pill.” Cornyn’s amendment institutes a hard trigger for certain border securiy measures before providing a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million unauthorised immigrants in the U.S. — including meeting a target of 90 per cent apprehension rate on illegal border crossings.

A Cornyn aide wondered why the Senate “Gang of Eight” would agree to the Corker-Hoeven amendment when some of its members criticised Cornyn for wanting to increase border security by 5,000.

“We will take a look at the text when they put it out, but I am confused by [the Gang of Eight’s] strategy,” the aide told Business Insider.

Democratic aides said last week that part of the opposition to Cornyn’s amendment stemmed from a fundamental lack of trust, pointing to his role in other immigration reform efforts.

On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Gang of Eight, said he was optimistic the Senate bill in its current form would get 70 votes. Members feel that getting that level of support would put enormous pressure on the House to act on its version of the bill.

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