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 PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 MORE (R-Ky.).

GOP members of the Gang of Eight — Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (Ariz), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Overnight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary' MORE (S.C.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (Ariz.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? Venezuela puts spotlight on Rubio MORE (Fla.) — voted against Paul's amendment, along with Republican Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP Sen. Collins says she'll back resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTexas GOP rep opposes Trump’s use of national emergency to get border wall GOP Sen. Collins says she'll back resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration Talk grows that Trump will fire Dan Coats MORE (Maine) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 Sen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy 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 GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin On The Money: Smaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive | Dems question IRS on new tax forms | Warren rolls out universal child care proposal | Illinois governor signs bill for minimum wage 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 ReidSanders hires veteran progressive operative to manage 2020 bid Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment 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.