Senators Announce Pending Border Security Deal
On Wednesday, senators and aides reported that the so-called Gang of Eight behind the immigration reform bill had cut a deal with Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) to add some border security measures to the bill in an attempt to woo Republicans. The measures would not be nearly as strict as anything proposed by Senators John Cornyn (R-AZ) or Ted Cruz (R-TX) or Rand Paul (R-KY). Instead, it would add some border patrol agents, and create a “guarantee” on finishing the border fence at some unspecified point in the future.
Corker explained, “I think we’ve overcome the issues that have separated the group that has been involved in the negotiations. I think we’re together now.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seconded Corker’s motion, explaining in mysterious terms, “I don’t know what the hell is going to happen, but we’re on the verge of doing something dramatic on the border. And if it happens it will be due to Hoeven and Corker and a lot of our colleagues… What we’re trying to do is put in place measures that to any reasonable person would be an overwhelming effort to secure our border short of shooting everybody that comes across the border.”
The Corker-Hoeven proposal would reportedly require a 90 percent apprehension rate at the border, and would use certain metrics to determine whether that number had been hit in order to trigger the vaunted path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country. “How do you have assurance that you’ve secured the border before you get to the Green Card?” said Hoeven. “We’ll put the plan in there specifically, and then based on the number of folks you identify, you’ve got to stop at least 90 percent, arrest them or turn them back.”
Democrats implied they were less than thrilled with the deal, with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) stating that Democrats had caved to “virtually everything” Republicans wanted. “I’ve reached one bipartisan agreement,” Durbin said. “When I look at the road from here to becoming a law, I see a lot of right turns. No left turns.”
It remains unexplained how the government would identify the illegal immigrants crossing the border so as to reach that 90 percent determination; it also remains unclear who would make that determination, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Congress, or some other administrative agency.