LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Both Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate Thursday said they were nearing an agreement on immigration reform.
Specifically, the agreement concerns how to fortify the US-Mexican border.
If that deal is reached, it could open the door, literally, to citizenship for 11 million people.
KCAL9’s Political Reporter Dave Bryan said the compromise on border security was crafted by two Republican Senators — and then the plan was quickly attacked by fellow Republicans in both houses.
Still, the border agreement started to gain momentum in the Senate.
The goal of the deal is to make our border less porous and stop upwards of 90 percent of illegal immigration.
The Border Patrol would double with an additional 20,000 new agents. The plan also calls for 700 miles of fences to be constructed, maintained and monitored — with mobile cameras and infra-red ground censors. Drones would also monitor from the sky.
“I don’t know how anybody could argue that the reason they aren’t supporting this legislation is because we haven’t addressed securing the border. We have addressed that,” said Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
The plan — an estimated $30 billion venture — would also put in place a system at airports and seaports to identify visitors who overstay their visas, reports Bryan.
All of the procedures would have to be installed and working before any of the 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally, could become citizens.
The bill would allow for temporary legal status while the border security improvements are implemented. That might be a deal-breaker for some conservative Republicans.
“This is an immediate amnesty, an immediate legalization and then this attempt at enforcement, after that. We need to fundamentally reverse that order,” argued David Vitter (R-Louisiana.)
Bryan spoke to Jon Fleischman who publishes “The Flash Report,” a conservative website, via Skype.
“It’s an important issue because nobody wants to provide a legal status to 14 million people who came here illegally if the result is going to be 20 million more people coming in,” says Fleischman.
House Speaker John Boehner insists “Immigration reform must, I mean must, be grounded in real border security.”
“I think that this proposal [for more border security] would make the package slightly more attractive to the Republicans, but frankly it’s the amnesty provisions that are the poison pill for Republicans,” added Fleischman.