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Senate passes 'border surge' amendment, 69-29, 15 in GOP vote in favor

June 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Comprehensive immigration reform advanced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday when 15 Republicans joined Democrats in approving an amendment on border security.

A "border security surge," which includes $38 billion in security spending added to $8 billion already included in the bill to achieve full surveillance of U.S. borders, passed by 69-29.

Sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., the plan authorizes 20,000 additional border patrol agents and the construction of 700 miles of fencing. Those measures would have to be met within 10 years for immigrants to apply for green cards, the Washington newspaper The Hill reported.

Republicans who voted against the amendment were harshly critical of the bill, saying it repeats mistakes of a 1986 immigration reform bill by offering border enforcement as a promise and offering legalization first, the newspaper noted.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said "it continues false promises of a secured border. It ought to be enforcement now and legalization later."

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