The Senate immigration reform bill aims to apprehend 90 percent of potential border-crossers in high-risk areas within five years after passage, but Republicans question the plan.
Senate conservatives in a hearing Tuesday took aim at a key border security element of the immigration reform bill, peppering the leaders of federal agencies charged with securing the nation’s borders to try to firm up what, exactly, counts as a secure border.
As a Senate committee begins amending the bill this week, the concern among senators such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma will likely become an even greater part of the immigration reform debate – and perhaps the shape of the final legislation – in the weeks to come.
The reform bill’s bipartisan sponsors have vowed to pursue more Republican support for the measure. As they offer amendments, outspoken Republicans like Senator Coburn are outlining exactly what it would take to get them on board.
To pass an immigration reform measure in the GOP-lead House, Coburn pointed out at Tuesday's hearing, “we're going to have to do a whole lot more on what is the definition of a ‘controlled border’ than what is in this bill.”
“If, in fact, we really want this to happen, we have to start addressing this now,” the iconoclastic Sooner and the committee’s top GOP member said. “And you can't have any false observations on this. The political reality is the American people want to know the border's controlled.”
To address such concerns, the bipartisan Senate bill sets a target: The US will, with the help of $4.5 billion in new border security funding, turn back or apprehend 90 percent of potential border-crossers in high-risk areas within five years after passage.
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