McConnell said the Gang of Eight bill failed to learn from mistakes made in the 1986 immigration reform. He said the legislation doesn’t do enough to secure the border before granting legal status to the 11 million illegal immigrants.

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“If you can’t be reasonably certain that the border is secure as a condition of legalization, there’s just no way to be sure that millions more won’t follow the illegal immigrants who are already here,” McConnell said.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 69-29 to adopt a “border security surge” amendment to address some Republican concerns on border security.

Crafted by Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (R-Tenn.) and John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenMcConnell works to salvage tax bill GOP to reduce tax relief by 0B to win over deficit hawks  The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill MORE (R-N.D.), the border security plan authorizes increasing the number of border patrol agents by 20,000 and constructing 700 miles of fencing. Those border security measures would have to be met within 10 years in order for immigrants to apply for green cards.

Critics have said that those are still just “promises” since people would be granted provisional legal status. But Corker argues his additions would create five border security triggers.

Later Thursday, the Senate will vote to end debate on the immigration reform bill, S. 744. Unless a deal is reached to hold a vote on final passage sooner, the vote will be Friday afternoon.