A majority of U.S. Senators backed the border surge amendment added to the immigration bill in a vote late Monday. Approving the surge was essential to the immigration bill’s fate.
The procedural vote received nearly two-thirds of support from the Senators. It’s a small step but it means the
border surge amendment now only has to clear a simple majority vote in the Senate.
Over the next ten years the plan will add about 20,000 new U.S. Border Patrol agents to the existing 21,000. It will also add new radar and surveillance systems.
A small group of protesters gathered in Tucson on Monday to criticize the amendment.
Norma Price volunteers with the Tucson Samaritans, a humanitarian group that helps immigrants who crossed the border illegally and ran into trouble in the desert.
“Wanting to get this bill through people have sacrificed increasing border security to get Republican votes. But I don’t think those people really know what they did here," she said.
Up next, a vote on the surge, and the full bill in the Senate. Then the immigration debate moves to the House this summer.