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 CornynGOP urged to confirm Supreme Court nominee after Trump win Judiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights First US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico 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 RubioTrump lands Calif. lawmaker endorsement Trump: Rubio as VP 'could happen' The Trail 2016: GOP stages of grief MORE (R-Fla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamStoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? Dem senator: Trump would leak classified information Never Trump voices face tough decision MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeMany Republicans uninterested in being Trump’s VP: report Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico McCain fundraiser faces felony drug charges in Arizona MORE (R- Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerRyan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' With Ryan’s blessing, lawmakers press ahead with tax reform talks MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinLobbying World Judiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Elizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezSenate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Senate close to voting on Mexico ambassador MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetReid: Judiciary a 'rubber stamp' for Trump-McConnell GOP Senate candidate wins right to be on Colorado ballot EPA ozone rule looms large in swing state MORE (D-Colo.) make up the Gang of Eight.