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 CornynThis week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health 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 RubioWeek ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's Labor pick Senators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers MORE (R-Fla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: 'I'm glad' Ivanka will be working in the White House Trump tweets promotion for Fox News show GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeWeek ahead in tech: FCC privacy rules on the ropes Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs MORE (R- Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSpeculation grows over Trump FCC pick A Justice Gorsuch will defend religious Americans from persecution Dem to Trump: 'You truly are an evil man' MORE (D-N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings Gorsuch: I'm 'sorry' for ruling against autistic student MORE (D-Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezCorruption trial could roil NJ Senate race Steve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (D-N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetUnder pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senators introduce new Iran sanctions MORE (D-Colo.) make up the Gang of Eight.