WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate will likely pass the immigration reform bill by a comfortable margin this week, a Republican senator said Sunday.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said on "Fox News Sunday" there were nearly 70 of the 100 votes in the Senate committed to passing the legislation, which faces stiff opposition from his party in the House of Representatives.
"I've been dealing with it since 2005 and 2006, and this is a great solution for our economy and our national security," said Graham. "I'm very proud of this bill."
Graham said the balancing act between border security and doing something about the army of immigrants who have settled in the country illegally was addressed in the measure as well as possible. He said whatever imperfections there might be, they were a better alternative than allowing the issue to fester.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said he and other critics of the bill did not believe it put border security and the so-called pathway to citizenship on equal footing. "It's not tough on those who broke the law and it's not fair to those patiently who've been patiently waiting in line to come to this country legally," he said.
Lee also predicted the bill would not prevent a new surge of illegal immigration; however Graham said the measure would head off such an influx.