The U.S. Senate cleared a hurdle in the immigration debate Thursday, unveiling a compromise on border security.
The "border surge" amendment is an alternative to harsher GOP measures, including one that requires a 90 percent apprehension rate at the border before the legalization process begins.
The deal is designed to score GOP votes for a comprehensive immigration bill. But the Senate deal might not fly in the House.
The amendment by a pair of Republican senators, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Bob Corker of Tennessee, with the blessing of the "Gang of Eight," would grant permanent residency to the estimated 11 million undocumented U.S. residents after doubling the number of border patrol agents and completing 700 miles of fencing along the U.S./Mexico border.
But Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, says what you do on the border is important, "but it doesn't solve the problem by any means by itself." Goodlatte says a third of those "not lawfully present" in the U.S. overstayed their visas. Interior enforcement, he says, is also vital.
Senator Hoeven's website says the amendment will deter overstays by initiating removal proceedings for at least 90 percent of visa overstays.
House Democrats aren't entirely sold either.
L.A. Democrat Xavier Becerra is one of the House "Gang of Seven" crafting a bipartisan bill that has yet to be unveiled. He says, "anything done to excess is not good." Becerra adds it would be impressive if the Senate measure both secures the border and helps get what he calls a "rational, sensible" bipartisan solution.