GOP: Borders must be stronger, or immigration bill will die
WASHINGTON — Landmark immigration legislation is doomed to fail in Congress unless border security provisions are greatly strengthened, Republican senators bluntly warned on Tuesday.
“If, in fact, the American people can't trust that the border is controlled, you're never going to be able to pass this bill,” said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
His admonishment, joined by those of other GOP lawmakers, occurred as Democratic and Republican senators filed a flurry of amendments before the first votes on Thursday in a separate committee on the far-reaching bill to deal with an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally and the millions more who might be expected to try to enter. Some of the amendments could destroy the legislation's prospects by upending the carefully crafted deal negotiated by four Republican and four Democratic senators, supporters say.
Border security was the major sticking point.
“If we're going to get immigration reform through, if you're going to get it through the House, we're going to have to do a whole lot more on what is the definition of a controlled border than what is in this bill,” Coburn said.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voiced similar concerns at a hearing to examine border security provisions of the bill. Paul, who has voiced support for comprehensive immigration overhaul, said that the bill relies too much on setting goals and requiring studies about border security instead of insisting on actual accomplishments. Under the bill, “You have to have a plan to build a fence, but you don't have to build a fence,” he complained.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., an author of the legislation, defended the border security provisions.
Durbin said that border security is stronger than ever, but nonetheless, “we went the extra step in this bill and they're saying it's still not enough. You kind of reach a point where you have to question their commitment to immigration reform.”
The bill would allocate $5.5 billion for border measures aimed at achieving 100 percent surveillance and blocking 90 percent of illegal border crossers and would-be crossers in high-entrance areas.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Navy divers to salvage remains of Confederate warship in Georgia
- Iraqi troops lack ‘will to fight,’ Secretary of Defense Carter says
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Exhibit reproduces painter Frida Kahlo’s inspiration
- Senator Warren calls for public hearings on bank waivers
- Yellowstone injuries: Slips, falls outpace bear maulings
- Protester leaves Shell ship north of Seattle; 1 remains
- Chicago inmate eats screws, needles, amasses $1M medical tab
- Florida mother who refused circumcision for son, 4, freed
- Housing authority officer shot dead in New Orleans
- After bruising safety crisis, U.S. car watchdog shows its bite