The Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform bill passed the Senate after a series of votes in June 2013. Democrats, who controlled the Senate at the time, unanimously supported the bill, while most Republicans opposed it. The four Republicans on the gang — Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Flake — of course voted for it, and also agreed with Democrats on a plan to kill almost all GOP amendments.
Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed just a handful of amendments to reach the Senate floor. One, from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, would have prohibited the legalization of illegal immigrants in the United States until after the administration could prove it had maintained “effective control” of the borders for six months.
Rubio voted against the Grassley amendment. Sen. Ted Cruz voted for it.
Another Republican amendment, from Sen. John Thune, would have required the completion of 350 miles of fencing along the U.S. border that Congress had ordered in 1996 but had never been completed. Thune specified that the fencing had to be in place before legalization could commence. Thune also would have required the completion of 700 miles of such fencing before illegal immigrants’ legal status could be made permanent.
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