On Tuesday, the Senate voted 84-15 to proceed to debating the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The Senate will continue to work on the bill throughout June.
Some Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty for the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants before strengthening border enforcement.
McCain pointed out that there is more than $6 billion appropriated in the bill to be used for new technology to help secure the border.
The bill also makes permanent legal residence contingent the Department of Homeland Security having in place a way to monitor every segment of the southern border and a 90 percent apprehension rate of people trying to cross illegally. But some Republicans have suggested that the bill gives the DHS too much say over whether the border is secure, leaving Congress powerless to stop the citizenship program if security measures aren’t met.
McCain said that some amendments offered by his GOP colleagues would not work and shouldn’t be supported. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Senate faces critical vote on Puerto Rico McConnell tees up House Puerto Rico bill MORE (R-Texas) has introduced the “Results” amendment, which would bar anyone from starting a path to citizenship until border enforcement standards are in full effect, among other things.
“The fact is we can get this border secured and the answer my friends in the Cornyn amendment that we hire 10,000 more border patrol agents is not really an answer,” McCain said. “We need technology. We need to have more drones and sensors on the ground.”
Senate leaders are negotiating amendment votes, which will likely start this week.
In addition to McCain, Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioEXCLUSIVE: Pro-Hillary group takes 0K in banned donations Poll: Rubio, Murphy neck-and-neck in Florida Senate race Overnight Healthcare: Blame game over Zika funding MORE (R-Fla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamDefense contingency misuse threatens national security Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeMcConnell quashes Senate effort on guns Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote Senate Republicans may defy NRA on guns MORE (R- Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerFormer Gillibrand aide wins NY House primary Senate faces critical vote on Puerto Rico Juan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinReid backs House Puerto Rico bill McConnell pledges redo vote on Zika after break Senate Democrats want new round of Zika talks MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetCruz-backed candidate wins GOP primary in Colorado Colorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Ted Cruz chooses sides in Colorado Senate primary MORE (D-Colo.) make up the Gang of Eight.