Tags: rubio | immigration | plan | border | security

Rubio: My Immigration Plan Needs Better Border Security

Image: Rubio: My Immigration Plan Needs Better Border Security
A vehicle makes its way along an alley in a Tijuana, Mexico, neighborhood where residents literally live across the fence from the United States.

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 05:28 PM

Senator Marco Rubio said today a bipartisan immigration plan he co-authored won’t win enough votes to pass the Senate or the House unless its border-security provisions are strengthened.

“It’s very simple: If people want immigration reform, we’re going to have to improve the border-security elements of the bill, and we’ll have to make people confident that what we’re doing is enough,” the Florida Republican and prospective 2016 presidential candidate said today after a closed-door meeting with a group of House Republicans.

“That’s what I’m going to focus on,” said Rubio, who has said he wouldn’t vote for the bill as written.

Rubio is a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators who wrote the immigration bill the Senate is scheduled to start debating next week. Although they have agreed to defeat major changes that could imperil the measure, Rubio has said stronger border-security language must be included to gain Republican support.

The question is whether the legislation can gain enough Republican support to win Senate passage and ease resistance in the Republican-controlled House, without losing Democratic votes or splitting the bipartisan alliance behind the bill.

‘Vibrant Debate’

“There’s a vibrant debate going on in the Republican Party,” Rubio told reporters today. “The bill as currently structured isn’t going to pass in the House, and I think it’s going to struggle to pass in the Senate.”

After the meeting with Rubio, House Republicans said the measure wouldn’t pass the Republican-led chamber without improved border security.

“The discussion is very centered on border security and there’s a consensus in that room that is a litmus test,” Representative John Fleming, a Louisiana Republican, told reporters. “We don’t see this bill in either house moving forward or ever coming to a law and agreement without a very, very solid rock-ribbed border security aspect to it.”

Even with some of the improvements proposed by Rubio, the Senate bill still has a “long way to go from the House perspective,” said Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who leads the House Judiciary Committee. The House will take a “step-by- step” approach to immigration law instead of one comprehensive measure, he said.

Republican Reluctance

Many House Republicans -- including Goodlatte, Fleming and South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy, another senior member of the judiciary panel -- remain reluctant to support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. They say they want to first see what Fleming called “verifiable” border security.

“When you put amnesty ahead of border security all you get is a bigger problem,” Fleming said.

The Senate measure seeks to balance Democrats’ effort to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with enough border-security measures to satisfy Republicans.

It would authorize $4.5 billion for tighter border security and require 100 percent surveillance and a 90 percent apprehension rate along the U.S.-Mexico border before any undocumented immigrant could qualify for legal permanent residency.

Rubio said he was working with Republican senators on ways to bolster border security in the bill. He has been helping to develop a proposal to boost Congress’s role in writing and overseeing a plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We encourage them to do that, and we’re interested to see what they come up with,” he said. “But we’re certainly going to have to do more than what’s in the bill now in order to get the votes necessary to pass a law.”


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Senator Marco Rubio said today a bipartisan immigration plan he co-authored won t win enough votes to pass the Senate or the House unless its border-security provisions are strengthened. It s very simple: If people want immigration reform, we re going to have to improve...
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2013-28-05
Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 05:28 PM
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