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Utah Sen. Mike Lee: Border patrols a key to immigration reform

April 14, 2013 at 3:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Sunday he is unsure whether a bipartisan deal on immigration reform can pass the Senate.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Lee was asked whether compromise legislation being developed on Capitol Hill contains any so-called poison pills that would prevent passage.

"I don't know," he said. "It's something that might well survive the Senate with a few Republican votes that appear to be on it. It could get through, especially if a few others join it. What we don't yet know is the details, the fine print of the bill. Some have suggested it could be ... as long as 1,500 pages. We have yet to see it. I look forward to seeing it."

Lee's comments came after an appearance by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate "gang of eight" -- four Republicans and four Democrats -- working together to craft a deal to address the nation's illegal immigration problem.

Lee, a freshman conservative with Tea Party support, expressed a common sentiment among Republicans, that immigration reform offering a pathway to citizenship without first effectively policing the Mexican border would create a greater incentive for people to enter the country illegally.

"The pathway to citizenship, right now, before those other [border security] elements are in place, is the deal breaker for me," Lee said. "It's not necessarily something that would be a deal breaker down the road. I just think we need to get the other things in place first. It's a matter of sequencing."

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