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 CornynRyan on border: ‘We will get this done’ Ryan tours Mexican border on horseback IPAB’s Medicare cuts will threaten seniors’ access to care 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 RubioA guide to the committees: Senate Schumer: GOP will break from Trump within months GOP loses top Senate contenders MORE (R-Fla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamClub for Growth launches ad targeting GOP tax writer Dem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeGreens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R- Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (D-Colo.) make up the Gang of Eight.