There can be no doubt that the immigration reform bill’s success turns on the border security measure. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been sounding the alarm over and over again: Without enhanced border security the bill won’t pass.
Yesterday, Rubio explained in a radio interview that an attempt to bolster border security will be unveiled next week:
I don’t think without it it’ll have the 60 votes to pass the Senate, much less the House. I’ve said that repeatedly now for weeks. I think you’ll see something, God willing, early next week so people can start to look at it. A bunch of senators have been working on it. A lot of Republicans want to be supportive of something, but need to be able to go back home and tell people that they have taken serious steps to make sure this never happens again. Like I said, it is going to have to happen. It is going to have to be in there or this is not going to pass … We’ve heard … from the border patrol agents. The people on the front lines on the border. Not only have I met with them, but other senators have met with them. We’ve gotten a lot of input from them. That’s some of the stuff that’s going to be in the specific plan.
If Rubio can craft an amendment with a number of Republican senators, the issue will be joined. Then Democrats will have to decide whether they will sink immigration reform and reject it. Then the White House will have to decide whether to lean on Democrats to make the deal. Then GOP senators will have to decide whether than can say “yes” or still insist it’s not good enough.
It will be a telling moment. If Dems nix the deal, it will be another a good argument for GOP control of the Senate. If they had the majority, certainly a Rubio-type immigration bill could pass (with some significant Democratic support). In essence, this raises the question as to whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to have a single accomplishment since he jammed through the grossly unpopular Obamacare bill on a party line vote.