Senate rejects Paul's 'Trust but Verify' immigration amendment

The Senate rejected an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would have required Congress to vote on whether border security measures were being enforced before immigrants were granted legal status. [WATCH VIDEO]

The Senate voted 61-37 on Wednesday to table an amendment from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.).

GOP members of the Gang of Eight — Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (Ariz), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (Ariz.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (Fla.) — voted against Paul's amendment, along with Republican Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE (Tenn.).

Paul’s “Trust but Verify” amendment would have made immigration reform conditional on Congress voting on whether the border is secure, required completion of a border fence in five years and included a protection against the federal government establishing a national identification card system for citizens.

Paul said his amendment was necessary because the Gang of Eight bill allowed for legalization of immigrants before border security measures were in place.

“Legalization or documentation of workers absolutely must depend on border security first,” Paul said ahead of the vote. “I believe the American people should not rely on bureaucrats or a commission to implement border security. … I want Congress to institute border security, not the administration.”

Currently the Gang of Eight bill sets the goals of 100 percent border-monitoring capabilities and a 90 percent apprehension rate of illegal entrants along the Southern border, but does not require them before granting permanent legal residency.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be required to submit a report on how it would accomplish that goal shortly after the bill becomes law. If the DHS failed to meet those standards after five years, a commission would be formed to give suggestions on how to reach those border security goals.

Paul suggested that the bill gives the DHS too much say over whether the border is secure, leaving Congress powerless to stop the bill’s amnesty program if security measures aren’t met.

Republicans have argued that the bill repeats the mistakes of the last major immigration reform in 1986 by legalizing first and promising border enforcement later. They’ve said in order for Republicans senators to support the bill, it must contain border security triggers.

Paul said his amendment would have forced the DHS to “follow through on the broken promise” of a secure border and an effective visa tracking system. But members of the Gang of Eight said it would delay legal status for millions of immigrants.

“I am disappointed that the Senate rejected my amendment to fix one of the fundamental flaws of the bill," Paul said in a statement following the vote.

 "My amendment would have added real, verified border security, and made the promises of the bill's authors credible to the American people. I hope Congress can produce immigration reform that actually solves the problems in our current system. Unfortunately, now, the Senate bill does not. ... I hope I am able to support a good bill, but it is now clear the House will have to lead the way."

Last week, the Senate tabled another border security measure that was offered by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa.).

The Senate is considering the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Amendment work on the bill is expected throughout the week.

The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake MORE (D-Nev.) has said he wants work completed on the bill by the July 4th recess and has threatened weekend work to accomplish that goal.

--This report was updated at 5:34 p.m.