"There will be nothing done in my Senate [on immigration reform] without a pathway to citizenship," Reid said in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun.
Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed interest in approving immigration legislation, but they differ over what should be included.
Democrats want a bill to include a pathway to residency or citizenship for illegal immigrants, while Republicans have generally opposed such measures. Republicans also say strengthening border security should be a top priority in new immigration reform legislation.
Reid said the emphasis in a new immigration reform bill should not be on border security
"We have spent a huge amount of money on border security, and both our northern and southern borders are more secure," Reid said. "Frankly, Mexico is doing much better economically, and that has helped the issue a lot. We can’t build a fence of 3,000 miles because no matter how high we build it, they can build a ladder taller than that fence. So I think we have about expended our energy on border security."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), considered a party leader on immigration reform and a top contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, outlined a blueprint for an immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. Rep. Paul Ryan, who ran as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, quickly threw his support behind the outline.