The Senate passed the “border surge” compromise amendment today, clearing one of the final hurdles for the immigration reform bill (S. 744).
The amendment, introduced by Republican Senators John Hoeven (N.D.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.), would add an additional 20,000 border guards (which would double the current number), build a 700-mile long fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, and make use of new technologies such as drones—all before the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants could begin the process of applying for citizenship.
In many ways the amendment could be the bill’s savior, having today attracted the votes of 15 Republicans. Marco Rubio, who co-authored the bill, expressed his praise for the amendment and the bill recently in an op-ed for Human Events.
The Republican “border surge” plan was developed with input from Border Patrol officials, border state officials, and security experts. It stipulates that no illegal immigrant can even apply to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S. until at least ten years have elapsed and until five security triggers are achieved.
The five triggers he mentioned are the new border agents, the 700-mile fence, new surveillance technology (which includes drones, new camera technologies, and radars), the implementation of E-Verify for all businesses, and the implementation of an entry-exit system to stop overstayed visas.
Much of the Republican base in Congress, however, is still not satisfied. Besides the Senate’s “gangbusters”—Cruz, Sessions, and Grassley to name a few, the House reaffirmed their resistance to the S. 744 today.
“We’ll do our own bill, through regular order and it’ll be a bill that reflects the will of our majority and the people we represent,” Boehner said at a Wednesday morning meeting.
Republicans who voted for the amendment today were Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Chiesa (N.J.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).