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Senate shoots down Mike Lee's border security amendment

Published June 19, 2013 6:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • The Senate rejected Sen. Mike Lee's amendment Wednesday that would require Congress to vote on a border security plan and its implementation before undocumented immigrants could proceed on a path to citizenship.

Lee, R-Utah, pitched his amendment to the Senate immigration bill as a way for Congress to ensure that the border is secured to its satisfaction, while Democrats said it was a way for reform opponents to end the legalization program before it begins.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also rejected Lee's idea when it debated the legislation in May, a move made "because we did not want to make the legalization program inappropriately subject to partisan disputes," said committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Lee argued that without his amendment, the Obama administration could deem the border security requirement met with little additional effort.

"If we cut out Congress, we are cutting out the right of the American people to be heard on this issue," he said. "And the right of the American people to decide when and under what circumstances it is OK to continue the pathway to citizenship."

His amendment, one of 10 voted on Wednesday, would have needed 60 votes to pass. It received only 39.