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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, tells WND the new amendment to the Senate immigration bill is not sufficient to win his vote – but may be enough to get the bill passed.
However, he said it won't stand a chance in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
"I do suspect that the Gang of Eight bill will probably be passed in the Senate, but I also am certain that it will be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives," Lee said.
But for all of the reports of sudden momentum for the bill, Lee said if the plan does clear the Senate, it will be despite the opposition of many Republicans.
"I think there is more resistance to it than support among Republican senators. It's hard to say because the bill is still a moving target. We're still in the middle of the amendment process. The Corker-Hoeven amendment, which was written up as a substitute bill, was just released within the last hour or so," Lee said late Friday.
"That is about 1,000 pages long, so we're still poring through that, trying to see what it means," he said.
On Thursday, Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., sponsored an amendment that they say should alleviate any concerns senators may have about a commitment to secure the border. It includes funding for 20,000 additional border agents, full implementation of E-Verify, greater use of drones in border surveillance and other tools. They say all of these resources must be in place before any green cards are issued to current illegal aliens.
Lee and other critics of the bill say this won't sway their vote. For Lee, it's a matter of doing the right things in the right order.
"I fundamentally disagree with the approach taken by the Gang of Eight, which says we have to make all of those decisions all at once in a thousand-page bill. This is a bill that while well-intentioned in many respects, does a lot of harm by trying to tackle all these problems at once and not in the right sequence," Lee said. "It still suffers from the same fatal flaws as it originally did, so I'm not going to support it."
Lee also responded to criticism of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who says this border security amendment ends any concerns on that front and the only reason for lingering opposition is fundamental opposition to a pathway to citizenship.
"What he's really saying is he wants citizenship and he wants citizenship at the front end. He wants it virtually guaranteed at the front end, and if he doesn't get that he's not going to support and will oppose anything else," he said. "I think it's fairly apparent that what he's really saying is it's his way or no way at all."